The O’Neill /Namah government has been thanked for allocating a total of K97.4 million under the 2012 budget appropriations covering both the re-current and development components of budget to the Correctional Services Department, K9.6m for the 2012 election component and K5m for jail maintenance in the second 2011 Supplementary budget.
First secretary to the Minister for Correctional Services (CS) Smith Sagao expressed this recently on behalf of Minister Sailon Beseo in Goroka during a ceremony to mark the completion of five renovated CIS houses at the Bihute Jail.
Sagao said the department would be using the K9.6m election component of the budget to participate in the 2012 national elections in which 400 servicemen and women were required to be engaged in election duties.
The department will also utilise the 2012 budget effectively to implement the recommendations of the three independent reports by Price Water House Coopers, the National Security Advisory Council and the International Red Cross and Crescent Movement, respectively highlighting CIS reform, security and humanitarian issues.
The recommendations from these will be implemented through the newly-established Transitional Management Committee to reform CS and make the budget work.
“Effective service delivery is the focus of the O’Neill/Namah Government, and like all organisations, CIS has its own success and failures, however the new Minister is looking at improving service delivery within the department’s rank and file,” Sagao said.
He said Beseo’s first move to bring reform into CS was the endorsement and appointment by the National Executive Council of the new CIS acting Commissioner Martin Balthazar.
“Balthazar and his team were tasked apart from implementing the recommendations of the three independent reports, to work on amending the existing CIS Act to include payment of pensions to retired CIS officers, setting up of the Prison Industries Authority as a business arm of CS and rebuild/re-construct physical facilities of the jails,” Sagao said.
He further thanked the O’Neill/ Namah government for making available K4.6 million to cater for the CS officers' 7.6% salary increment late last year.
The occasion was witnessed by the CIS acting Commissioner Balthazar, contractor Kavare and jail commanders from the highlands region and Lae's Buimo jail.