The National –Thursday, January 6, 2011
By ELLEN TIAMU
and JEROME IKUAVI
The Morobe provincial assembly (Tutumang) is expected to remunerate its presidents when it passes its largest ever budget of K177 million last Friday.
In 2008 local level government (LLG) presidents were relegated to the districts and barred from taking part in provincial assembly meetings but that was overturned when the Supreme Court decided that it went against the law necessitating a three-tier government.
The provincial cabinet, Sam Sewe, convened its first meeting for the year, especially to discuss this year’s draft budget at Buakap village in Salamaua LLG on Tuesday and the backdating of presidents remuneration from 2008 when they were elected to May last year was definitely on the cards.
Morobe Governor Luther Wenge indicated that about K2 million would be used for the purpose which he described as the president’s entitlements.
Unconditional grants for the 34 district presidents this year should increase from K50,000 to K200,000 to allow for more projects at district and ward levels.
These grants are allocated to presidents for projects at their discretion although they are required to make acquittals.
Wenge said the principal expenditure component in the budget was for the province’s 89 rural wards that had been neglected for so long to receive K17 million and start small projects that would enhance their lives.
Another major component of the budget will go towards educating Morobeans at tertiary levels under the Gerson Solulu scholarship with K6 million earmarked for this year.
About 2,000 Morobeans will be benefiting or have benefited under this award.
The Lae roads are set to receive K4 million while beautification of the city set the budget back by K1.9 million and a Morobean museum would open this year at a cost of K1 million.
The internal revenue focus for this year is over K86 million while national government revenue stands at more than K90 million.
Meanwhile, Wenge said his provincial cabinet was set on bringing more of their meetings to rural villagers.
He said the government was for the people, by the people and it only fair that constituents saw how the government works and arrives at decisions at the next rural meeting scheduled to be held in Wau.
Wenge apologised for the assembly not passing the budget earlier, saying there were too many other pressing issues that needed attention and also because there were revenue matters that needed further clarification.
He is confident that the cabinet-endorsed draft will be passed by Tutumang tomorrow.