Soldiers assured Apec payment on the way

Main Stories

THE Defence Force has assured soldiers involved in Apec 2018 that they will be paid their allowances.
The commitment was made in a National Executive Council decision on Dec 20 to release K32.4 million to pay the Apec Joint Security Task Force members who provided security for Apec. The decision followed storming of Parliament by some police and wardens of the Task Force over non-payment of allowances. They caused damage worth more than K8 million.
Acting Defence Secretary Trevor Meauri and Defence Force chief of staff Captain Philip Polewara yesterday addressed about 100 soldiers outside Manasupe Haus at Waigani in Port Moresby to seek assurance from the chief secretary on the payment of K300 per day outstanding allowances for Task Force members. The first payment of K200 per day for 18 days was made at the end of last year.
Meauri and Polewara appealed to the soldiers to be patient as the Department of Finance needed about two weeks to pay out. They have also asked the soldiers to channel any future queries regarding outstanding Apec allowances through the Office of the Secretary for Defence.
Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel said the three disciplined forces would receive their outstanding allowances in two weeks’ time.
He explained that the Apec security allowance of K200 per day which was budgeted for was already paid.
“However, the Government agreed to the joint security’s request to increase the allowance to K500 per day,” Abel said.
“The extra K300 was not budgeted for so we are trying to identify within cash flow to allocate the funds to cater for the extra K300 allowance,” he said.
Abel said he had already directed staff at the Treasury Department to raise some payments this week.
“The payments will have to be paid over time because of the amount and the fact that it was not budgeted for,” he said.
“So we will pay them over time starting in two weeks’ time.”
Polewara said they had met with Abel who had given his assurance that the outstanding allowances would be paid in two weeks.
A soldier who did not want to be named said that Apec was a success because “people on the ground worked tirelessly to see it happen”.
“We provided security, all three disciplined forces, and they must pay what is rightfully ours,” the soldier said. Another soldier said they were owed too many outstanding allowances.
“This is not the only one, the Apec allowance is just one outstanding on top of other outstanding allowances, so we came here today to raise the issue as we have been working too long on credit basis,” the officer said.
He said they were also owed for their work in the 2017 general election
However, Polewara told the soldiers that it was their duty to protect the country.
“This is our country, and I urge you all to understand the Government. I have gone with the Defence secretary to meet with the chief secretary and the deputy prime minister on your behalf and they have asked that we give them two weeks.
Meanwhile, Defence Force commander Major General Gilbert Toropo condemned the protest, saying that he was disappointed with the soldiers’ actions and they would be dealt with.

Leave a Reply