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Talks are ongoing between Papua New Guinea National Fisheries Authority (NFA) and Finance Department to give the authority flexibility in rolling out its projects.
Fisheries Minister Patrick Basa made the announcement when he was asked to provide an update on the Public Money Management Regularisation Act (PMMRA) and its impacts on the authority.
Speaking in Kokopo, Basa said the implementation of the Act had hurt NFA’s operations nationwide.
He said the NFA office in Lae was shut down and many of their workers around the country were affected.
Basa said some projects budgeted for by the NFA board could not be implemented.
“The whole idea of it was surplus money, where 90 per cent went into consolidated revenue and 10 percent goes to National Fisheries Authority,” he said. “This has really much affected us when Finance withdrew all our money.” Basa said the Act in itself was good, but there was a need to control and monitor planning of finance.
NFA managing director John Kasu agreed that the Act had affected its operations over the past few months.
“We (NFA) have difficulties with enforcement, but those are things we are working with the Government,” he said.
“At the same time it is our duty, with the limited resource we have, to manage the resource for our people.”
Earlier in the year, the Papua New Guinea Fishing Industry Association (FIA) raised concern about statutory authority’s needing to have adequate funds to carry out its mandated roles.
The association said NFA’s monitoring compliance and surveillance programmes were critical functions.
It said NFA protected and ensured the commercial viability of the fishing and fisheries industry, especially the export sector.
Meanwhile, East New Britain Deputy Governor Cosmas Bauk says regulations should be tightened to monitor foreigners’ involvement in the beche-de-mer industry.
He said this in the presence of Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Patrick Basa during the opening of a K560,000 (US$172,000) fisheries complex at Woolnough Vocational Centre in Kokopo.
“I am saddened to see that foreigners are venturing into marine activities that are supposed to be owned exclusively by indigenous people,” Bauk said.
“For example, the beche-de-mer industry, where there have been reports that foreigners were using locals to get licences.
“This is a rip-off and a major concern.”
Bauk said this practice was prevalent in the New Guinea Islands and the appropriate regulation should be enforced.
“Development should be orchestrated in a manner so that it fully benefits our people,” he said.
“We in Est New Britain are, at a fast rate, losing out in the fisheries industry, maybe through ignorance or lack of knowledge.”
Similar concerns were also raised by Morobe Provincial Fisheries Corporative Association chairman Mangom Wape.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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