The National, Friday 10th May 2013
By SHIRLYN BELDEN
THE local level government elections budget shortfall of K30 million must be rectified for the exercise to be completed properly, Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen says.
He told The National that the five new LLGs recently approved by the National Executive Council were not catered for in the K50 million budget by the government.
The PNGEC had asked for K80 million but was allocated only K50 million.
Trawen said this could result in the non-payment of poll allowances and services provided as experienced in the 2012 general election.
“The Electoral Commission is ready to conduct the 2013 LLG elections but funding is a problem,” the commissioner said.
“We fear there will be some problems with payment of service providers and allowances for poll workers as in the 2012 national election.
“It would be a budget blow-out if the commission is to conduct LLG elections in the additional five LLGs recently approved by the NEC as they have not been budgeted for.”
He said the commission had requested Deputy Prime Minsiter Leo Dion for the additional K30 million but was still awaiting funds from the finance and treasury ministries.
Attempts to get comments from Dion and the finance and treasury departments were unsuccessful.
The five new LLGs were not disclosed but Trawen said they now made up the total of 318.
There are 6,138 wards in PNG where voters, including people living with disabilities, will use the limited preferential voting system to elect the LLG presidents.
Trawen said the LLG election could proceed before any by-election as by-elections were not restricted by time under the Constitution or the organic lLaw like the LLG election which has to be completed by August.