The National - Friday, February 18, 2011
BOUGAINVILLE has re-ceived a massive K500 million from the national government to use in key infrastructure projects over the next five years.
The government’s assistance was aimed at reviving the economy of the strife-torn region.
An agreement was signed in Port Moresby yesterday between the Autonomous Bougainville Government and PNG government to seal the deal.
Also included in the agreement were resolutions to transfer several national government powers, including education, health, lands, forest, agriculture and teaching service (see story Page 2).
Earlier, the ABG had demanded that the national government pay the K30 million (K15 million each) for the 2009 and last year’s budget allocations before they could agree to sign the agreement.
However, an agreement was reached and the K500 million financial package would be paid to Bougainville starting next year in K100 million per year installments. The arrangement was outside of the national government budget.
Projects to be covered under the restoration and development financial package included the reopening of the Aropa airport, Arawa hospital, Buka airport and the relocation of the administration headquarters from Buka to Arawa.
Co-chair and Deputy Prime Minister Sam Abal, when announcing the K500 million package, said the agreement signalled a new chapter for PNG and the ABG to develop the region.
He said the Bougainville people had suffered a lot during the 15-year crisis and the PNG government was doing what it could to restore peace and harmony through this infrastructure financial package.
Abal also invited international donors and investors to provide counterpart funding to also assist Bougainville through it restoration period.
President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville John Momis, as co-chair, said the meeting was a success which had dealt with situations confronting Bougainville.
“Today can be described as a cultural paradigm to mutual understanding and, if we can manage the cultural momentum, then we can address the challenges faced by Bougainville and the K500 million financial package is welcome news in Bougainville.”