Tuesday, July 05, 2011

K125m glitch will be fixed, say ministers



TWO senior government ministers have assured Nasfund contributors that the government will correct any anomalies in the K125 million saga in the next appropriation bill, The National reports.

National Planning Minister Paul Tiensten and Communication Minister Patrick Tammur gave the assurance yesterday.

Tammur was the initiator of the controversial sovereign community infrastructure bill.

Neither men would comment on a Central Bank report that the entire saga was conducted outside the normal financial approval processes and in contravention of the Public Finances Management Act.

Tiensten said the government would accommodate the arrangement in the next appropriation bill whether it was a supplementary budget or the budget proper for next year.

"The maturity period for the loan is 2014 for the government to start repaying as guarantor of that funding," he said.

Tiensten said the timing was within the period when the government was expected to get proceeds from the liquefied natural gas project.

He said the Nasfund loan was unlike conditional loans or multi-lateral loans that would cost the state more and  exposed to external risks.

Tammur denied claims that the K125 million had been released to the Kokopo district.

He said the Kokopo joint district planning and budget priorities committee, in prioritising projects, identified water supply and roads as a major development agenda.

He said the committee came up with a project submission and knocked on the doors of donor funding agencies including Nasfund.

"The people of Kokopo are only the recipients, the procedures and procurements are the responsibility of the funding agency," Tammur said.

"The treasury minister authorised or signed off the documents to guarantee Nasfund that the money will be repaid by the government.

"The K125 million is still with Nasfund," he said.

He said a similar arrangement was made to build the Poreporena Freeway.

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