20 Nov 2015

Bougainville cuts stir secession fears

3:33 pm on 20 November 2015
The President of Bougainville, John Momis

The President of Bougainville, John Momis Photo: RNZI

The president of Bougainville says the Papua New Guinea government's decision to reduce funding to the autonomous region's government could compel its people to push for secession from PNG.

John Momis says the government's 2016 budget makes savage cuts to almost every aspect of funding for Bougainville.

He told the Post Courier that the autonomous Bougainville government's budget has been reduced by 10 million US dollars, and several other grants for development and the Bougainville Peace Agreement have also been cut.

Bougainville is due to hold a referendum on possible independence from PNG within the next five years, and Mr Momis says the cuts could push Bougainvilleans to vote for independence.

But the prime minister Peter O'Neill's office says the autonomous government received more funding than any other province.