Friday, March 06, 2009

Where has all the money gone?

THE Opposition has questioned the whereabouts of K32.5 billion from Government budgets since 2003, The National reports.

Opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta, his deputy and Lae MP Bart Philemon and other Opposition MPs told reporters yesterday that vital services like health and education were not reaching the rural people.

“We have the resources.

“If it is not the lack of money, then what is the problem?

“We need to ask these questions,” Sir Mekere said.

He said between 2005 and last year, K28 billion was passed through as national budgets and a further K4.1 billion as supplementary budgets, totalling K32.5 billion.

“Where is all the money?

“Where are all the schools?

“Where are all the hospitals?

“Can someone tell us?

Sir Mekere also supported Enga Governor Peter Ipatas, urging Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to show leadership to the nation by his readiness to accept alternative views and criticisms of his Government’s policies and actions.

“The Prime Minister should welcome comments from the public on the performance of his government.

“He should stop acting as though he alone has a monopoly over wisdom and knowledge,” Sir Mekere added.

He said the Prime Minister’s early and unexpected departure from Wabag last week, rudely missing a feast hosted for him by the people of Enga, was an example of his unwillingness to entertain different views and criticism of his actions and decisions.

“Most Papua New Guineans would find this behaviour arrogant, unacceptable and unbecoming of a national leader.”

Sir Michael and his officials left early last Friday (Feb 27) because he was upset by the remarks made by Enga Governor Peter Ipatas.

Mr Ipatas commented that the K142 million offered by the Prime Minister to the people of Enga should have been channelled through the provincial government.

Mr Ipatas was not happy that the Prime Minister had allocated a large amount of money directly to the districts and by-passing the provincial government.

Sir Mekere said he fully understood and supported the views of Mr Ipatas.

He said the Prime Minister’s decision to by-pass the provincial government would undermine the integrity and the legitimacy of provincial governments.

He said that if the Prime Minister wants to channel money directly to the districts, he should get rid of provincial governments.

“It is pointless having provincial governments in place and not using them to provide services to the people.

This incident once again demonstrates clearly this government’s habit of making important policy decisions on the run, without proper analysis,” Sir Mekere said.

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