Monday, November 21, 2011

Make sure money goes to right places

Source: yutok, Post Coyurier,November 21, 2011
Minister for Finance and Treasurer Don Polye will hand down a record K10 billion national budget for 2012.
It is a budget he tagged as “Building the Foundation for Economic Growth and Prosperity.”
Mr Polye says it will be a “balanced” budget.
While we welcome the budget for the election year, we must emphasise the importance of the Government ensuring that monies from the budget reach the priority development priorities that will benefit the people of Papua New Guinea.
This year’s budget – especially the Development Budget was a total disaster with millions stolen denying the people of much needed development.
Millions of kina allocated to improve education services for the future generations never reached the schools, millions of kina allocated for other areas have never reached the people who needed the money most and the story goes on.
The administration of the national budget under the previous Government – many of the members are in the current Government – was a disgrace, a total national disgrace and shame.
How on earth could a Government possibly allow millions of kina of development funds approved by the National Parliament simply disappear under corrupt circumstances?
Treasurer Don Polye and National Planning and Monitoring Minister Sam basil have a huge task on their hands to ensure that every toea under the 2012 budget goes directly to areas earmarked and approved by the Government.
There will be a lot of catching up to do as funds under the 2012 budget may not be enough to complete all the unfinished work left undone this year due to the theft of the funds from the Department of National Planning.
But if the Government ensures funds are spent in areas they are supposed to be spent then progress will be seen in education, health, infrastructure and other key development priority areas.
It is election year and the temptation to use the budget as a weapon to get votes must be resisted at all costs. This is not the time for playing politics with the people’s money. The ordinary people of PNG have suffered long enough.
All they need now is for schools, health facilities, roads and bridges and law and order to be fixed. These are the minimum priority areas of development and must be adequately funded for the sake of the children of PNG.
PNG is entering into an exciting era with huge revenues from the gas project about to flow into the Waigani coffers. How those funds are handled and spent will determine the future of this country.
Used wisely and with care, funds from the LNG projects can potentially propel PNG into a bright, prosperous future.
The onus is on the Government of the day to ensure that there is no corruption in the Government system that will siphon off the billions of kina intended for development. The experience of this year and previous years gives us little comfort about the safe keeping of the people’s money.
All any Papua New Guinean will want is for the present Government to keep a very tight control on the budget and ensure funds are directed strictly to the priority development areas and not into the pockets of corrupt politicians and civil servants.
Papua New Guinea has been repeatedly described as a land of milk and honey but a poor population. Where have all the people’s money gone?

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