The Bulolo district services improvement programme (DSIP) saga has taken on a new twist with Bulolo MP Sam Basil now saying that Finance Minister James Marape wants certain conditions to be met before the money is released.
Basil, who last Friday led a peaceful protest to Vulupindi Haus demanding the immediate release of K7 million in outstanding DSIP funds, said Marape had stooped so low in trying to find ways to frustrate the DSIP funds for Bulolo.
“This is uncalled for and brings the reputation of Mr Marape to an all-time low,” he said.
Basil said on Monday, a finance staffer from Vulupindi Haus, upon instructions from Marape, called the district treasury office in Bulolo asking for a five-year development plan and a joint district planning and budget priorities committee plan before the funds were released.
“Why does it have to be Bulolo only and what about other MPs that picked up their district’s DSIP cheques in Parliament House last week?” he said.
“Were the other MPs asked to provide their five-year development plans last week before delivering the cheques to them?
“Just for their information, our five-year plan will be finalised after Morobe Plan is confirmed by Tutumang (Morobe provincial assembly) in order to avoid duplication of projects as seen in the past.
Basil claimed Marape was still fuming over allegations he made that a company owned by the minister had blocked his staff from entering Vulupindi Haus last week.
“ If Mr Marape has taken over the responsibilities of the Office of Rural Development, Planning Department , and Provincial and Local Government Affairs, then I challenge him to publish the
names of all districts and provinces that have already submitted their five-year plans and have since received their K10 million DSIP and K5 million public services improvement programme (PSIP) per district,” he said.
“Marape should also announce the audit of all of this year’s DSIP funds of K10 million and PSIP funds of K5 million per district, with acquittals to be made available to all relevant departments to check, before having access to the 2014 DSIP of all districts and provinces in the first quarter of 2014.
“The same should be applied to the local level government services improvement programme (LLGSIP) of K500, 000 for the 3,000-plus LLGs in PNG.
“The people are watching and are judging the O’Neil-Dion Government and the kind of attitude that the Finance Minister has displayed so far only contradicts the government of the day.
“That is to silence and diminish the Opposition.”