Services should reach all districts

Editorial

THE Government paid out K10 million for the service improvement programme (SIP) to all 89 districts last year.
This means the Government’s aims of bringing goods and services directly to the people in the districts should be achievable.
Road must be built, electricity must be connected to villages and communities so economic activities can take place to transform people’s livelihood.
We should see the number of people leaving the districts in search of goods and services reduced.
Now the next biggest challenge will be accountability.
Accountability has a clear link to higher work performance, but experts indicate that it also results in improved competency and commitment to work, increased employee morale, and work satisfaction.
Since funds are being distributed right down to the district level, the accountability process must be strident so auditing must also be done at the district level.
There must be compliance and monitoring of where these huge sums of money were spent and take stock of State properties such as machinery purchased under the SIP.
We believe this task falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Implementation and Rural Development (DIRD), as one of its key roles is inspection and monitoring projects in districts.
This department has a very important role to play in supporting the Government deliver improved services to every province, district and local level government throughout the country.
It administers the SIP, which includes monitoring and inspection of projects, evaluating of acquittals and reports.
Provincial and district administrators are taking charge of schools, district and provincial roads, health facilities and economic activities in the provinces and districts.
Acquittals must be always be submitted on time.
For instance, a school inspector has the responsibility of monitoring a teacher’s performance.
The inspector visits the school, checks out the teacher’s programme, observes and rates them accordingly.
This then goes on the teacher’s performance report for a promotion and appraisal at the end of the year.
The same principle applies for DIRD.
They monitor projects that are initiated by MPs and funded through the SIP.
District MPs received K10 million for the SIP funding last year and that is a lot of money.
Provincial and district administrators are taking charge of schools, district and provincial roads, health facilities and economic activities in the provinces and districts.
Acquittals must always be submitted on time.
DIRD officers, together with fellow officers from National Planning and Monitoring Department, should actually visit the district to tick off on the report.
Just receiving annual reports in Waigani will not tell you the real story. The Government has disbursed a huge amount of money to the districts and it must be acquitted.
Unfortunately, it is no secret that there is inadequate capacity at the district level to manage these large amounts of public funds allocated to the districts.
That is one area that needs to be worked on – building the capacity of the districts to implement the public funds allocated to them successfully.
It is important to tell the Government how the money is spent.
A lot of our people need to get into the habit of auditing of funds particularly public funds.
Public servants need to take ownership and lead in service delivery.
The district development authority is the best possible opportunity to build our villages and deliver services.

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