Call in PNG for strict controls on discretionary funds

7:51 pm on 28 July 2016
Papua New Guinea deputy opposition leader Sam Basil, the MP for Bulolo

Papua New Guinea deputy opposition leader Sam Basil, the MP for Bulolo. Photo: Supplied

Papua New Guinea's deputy opposition leader, Sam Basil, says the bulk of the district service improvement program funds should be a constitutional grant to stop abuse.

Mr Basil said the funds, totalling more than $US247 million dollars annually, are not all spent on development priorities in the districts as intended, but are open to abuse and misuse.

Under the current funds system the Government decides when and who gets their share of the funds, a process which the Opposition claims disadvantages them.

Mr Basil said if the funds were "constitutionalised" they would be strictly for development purposes and could not be politicised by the Government.

He argued that a small percentage of the funds, perhaps $US150,000 could be left to the discretion of each MP.

Mr Basi's comments follow the latest allocation of discretionary funds by the Government just ahead of last week's no confidence vote.

But the Post Courier reports Finance Minister James Marape saying the Government was not playing politics but had disbursed the funds equally to all the 89 districts and the 22 provinces, including Mr Basil's Bulolo district.