Deadline for acquittals submission given

Provincial and district governments around the country have been given until March 31st to hand in acquittals of Provincial and District Support Improvement Programme funds.

Finance Minister James Marape announced this during a meeting with the Department of Implementation and Rural Development (DIRD).

Marape said he will push in cabinet to ensure sub-national governments are compliant by providing their acquittals of funds disbursed to them.

Marape, along with his vice and Ambunti-Dreikikir MP, Johnson Wapunai, met DIRD management and staff this week to reinforce the Government’s objectives.

He also sounded a warning to provinces and districts to be compliant in furnishing their acquittals.

“Myself and the Vice Minister bring to you our commitment to ensure that your role is not just paper pushers here in Waigani but more importantly, as an active department in as far as ensuring the huge sum of money that gets transacted from Waigani to our sub-national governments right up to the country actually is put to good use and to good work.

“The nation and the tax payers and citizens of our country have every right to know what has happened to the K4.7 billion that has been passed across to them,” stated Marape.

Marape said K4.7 billion has been disbursed in the last five years under the Provincial and District Support Improvement Programme funds.

He said in a move to supervise the disbursement, audit and compliance of PSIPs and DSIPs and grants, he will push in Cabinet for certain powers to be transferred to the DIRD.

Marape said this is part of efforts to entrench the DIRD into a fully-fledged working Department.

“I want to transfer the function from finance to us for us to be managers of the DSIP and the PSIP.

“But you must show to me and show to government that you have the capacity, you have the drive, you have the patience to be custodians of this money, because the rationale is this, I will come and go, but we want to have one agency of state that has a database of what one member starts.”

Meanwhile, DIRD acting Secretary, Aihi Vaki, has called on staff to carry out their duties diligently and to ensure provinces and districts implement the services required of them.

“The message is loud and clear, you need to perform and come back and provide true reports so we can furnish them to the Minister so he can take up to Cabinet.

“Cabinet wants to know their performance. And we have to make sure the reports are correct,” said Vaki.

(Finance Minister James Marape)

Cedric Patjole