Budget Reports Reports by BARNABAS ORERE PONDROS
TRANSPARENCY International (PNG) has raised concerns that the Government has allocated K2 million to each district for the district service improvement programme (DSIP) when a proper evaluation on the programme have not been finalsied.
Similarly, the anti-corruption watchdog is concerned about K20 million allocated for the newly-created provincial services investment programme (PSIP), where each governor will get K1 million each.
“We need to be very careful here while our politicians claim they need direct access to funds because of the inefficiencies within the public service to deliver services to their constituents, I urge caution and issue a warning here,” TIPNG chairman Peter Aitsi said.
His concern was that the Government has not evaluated the effectiveness of the DSIP programme in terms of significant change in the delivery of services to rural population.
“We are beginning to see corruption in the form of outright theft and misuse of these funds so why put more money in to the programme?” he asked.
Mr Aitsi said if PNG was to have long-term change, then the highest priorities of the Government should be to completely overhaul and reform the public service, including the police.
“As we start to generate increased wealth from our resources, the only way to equitably spread this wealth is through a functioning and efficient public service that is held accountable for the provision of services to our communities,” he said.
The concern was, if funds were handed to individual politicians via a dubious process of provincial committees, then it would not reach envisaged results as a result of mismanagement and abuse.
“We stand the real and dangerous risk of becoming another failed resource-rich economy where our elected leaders end up siphoning off the nation’s wealth totrasfer to off-shore accounts and investing in properties for their many wives and children,” he said.
Mr Aitsi also said the drawdown of trust accounts, within the Treasury’s report for the implementation of the 2009 budget must be made public.
“I would be interested to see how these funds were used, in particular how much of these funds found their way in to funding unplanned and ill-conceived landowner negotiations,” he said.
Mr Aitsi said the other area of interest was “how much of the trust funds were used to respond to political demands particularly in the form of projects in order to prop up the Governments numeric numbers”.
On the outset, TIPNG said it was pleased to see a prudent approach by Government in putting forward a balance budget.
“The test, however, will be the Government’s ability to stay within the budget,” he said.