Bougainville weeks away from having its own public service
Bougainville administrator outlines plans for when the province can set up its own bureaucracy.
The government in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville is next month due to pass its ABG Public Service Management and Administration bill.
It will allow the establishment of a public service bureaucracy that reports to the Bougainville government rather than Waigani in Port Moresby.
The Bougainville chief administrator, Chris Siriosi, says it is the key development in moving the province forward on its autonomy arrangements.
Mr Siriosi told Don Wiseman the change will require senior personnel to step up and accept more responsibility.
CHRIS SIRIOSI: There will be this need for heads of government here to not only be worried about implementation now when the law is passed but increased responsibility will mean exercising authority to pass policy, policies of government. That is an increased responsibility from what they currently have.
DON WISEMAN: Do you expect the public service to get a lot bigger?
CS: There will be a significant growth in the size of the public service in Bougainville.
DW: Just how big do you think it will become, the bureaucracy in Bougainville?
CS: From what we have now, a number of about 600, I am looking at about between 800 and 1000 public servants.
DW: Do you think that of that 600 you have at the moment that with the re-organisation people will return to, or move to other parts of PNG and there will be more jobs for local people?
CS: We will be selecting people on merit, regardless of where they come from. We want to attract the best candidates to take positions in the public service and the location or where they come from is not a factor.
DW: And wages will be higher than they are now?
CS: I think in terms of the layer, the executive management level it will need to be higher because that is where the effect of autonomy will be felt.
DW: How important is this re-organisation or establishment of the bureaucracy for Bougainville? It is a critical move in your view?
CS: As far as I am concerned it is the key element that we have to undertake in order to really move forward with implementation of the autonomy arrangements. The government here will have the autonomy to establish offices, or branches or departments, as and when new functions are drawn down. So it is a very significant step. It is a very important step in the implementation of autonomy in Bougainville.
DW: And the legislation you expect to go through the ABG next month so will be start to see changes byy April - how soon will you be able to start implementing the changes?
CS: I want to start implementing the changes as soon as the law is passed. On the day the law is passed I will issue instructions to public servants in Bougainville to decide whether they wish to remain with the national public service or if they wish to become members of the new Bougainville public service. That will signal a cut off date when Bougainville will roll out its own salaries from within Bougainville. We have already set up the payroll system here. As and when the law is passed the first payroll will be rolled out here instead at Waigani. I want to put in place a message to enable that to take place.
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