The National- Friday, February 4, 2011
By JAMES GUMUNO
THE Western Highlands provincial assembly has passed a K125.3 million budget.
This was a first provincial budget handed down by Governor Tom Olga since he took office in August 2007.
The budget which Olga described it a “people’s budget”, was supported and passed by the provincial assembly members at Hotel Kimininga yesterday.
Olga told the assembly members that this year’s budget was increased by 42% compared to last year’s K87 million.
More than half of the budget of K68.8 million (55%) was allocated to corporate sector followed by social sector with K45.9 million (35%) and economic sector with K10.5 million (10%).
The teacher’s salaries has taken up the biggest share of the budget allocation of K39,316,300, followed by Mt Hagen city development with K22 million and staffing grant with K13,507,300.
For the very first time, agriculture sector received a boost with K8,553,700 while education received K11,502,300, infrastructure K4,797,000, rural health services K3,914,700 and law and order was allocated with K2,374,600.
Mt Hagen Technical College was allocated K4 million to improve its infrastructure to accommodate more students to cater for the technical skills required by the LNG project in Southern Highlands.
The provincial assembly also allocated K22 million for the reconstruction of Kapal Haus, the provincial headquarters building, which was burnt down in 2008.
Olga said the budget was in line with the national government’s Vision 2050.
He was confident that they could make more progress this year, the year of implementation.
He said that he was happy they have reached the milestone in raising more than 40% of the revenue which is more than what was raised by any government in the past.
Law and order chairman David Maip urged provincial administrator Malcolm Culligan and his four deputies to make sure that public servants down the line implemented the budget.
Maip told senior public servants present during the budget sitting that the bulk of the people in the rural areas must benefit.