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Papua New Guinea's National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Buka has approved a K1 billion (US$295.4 million) facility for the next 10 years to be apportioned K100 million (US$29 million) every financial year for key economic enablers of the region, Prime Minister James Marape announced.
Marape, who addressed the Bougainville House of representatives after the NEC meeting at Kubu, said his Cabinet has historically approved the referendum dates for the issue of writs which will be on 27 September with polling set for 23 November.
He said economic independence must precede every other conversation, lest we forget rest of PNG and Pacific neighbors around us who gain political independence but are still struggling economically.
“My new generation of national leaders, those who helped me change government want to transfer resources to our people in provinces and you’re here in the special region of Bougainville,” he said.
“In the case of Bougainville, our national government will transfer full revenue raising powers to the regional government and we will assist monitor your collections in fisheries, forestry, agriculture and other industries that you Bougainvilleans may choose to undertake,” Marape said.
“Today is but a punctuation mark in a long story of Bougainville. We look forward in continuing interphase more in the future and our JSB meeting should address all relevant issues outstanding as we prepare for the final leg of our 2001 peace agreement.
“In the course of our referendum activities and vote, I encourage for us to rally the Melanesian consensus spirit of conversations that give us forever peace and prosperity here in Bougainville and PNG.”
“Sometimes our tribal differences take precedence over our nation’s interests and I fear that too for you here in Bougainville. He urged Bougainvilleans to show the world that Melanesian consensus can provide answers to internal problems and I look forward to working with you all.
“Let’s make peace, I am willing to give what belongs to you back to you in the context of national unity.”
Meanwhile, the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) meeting will be held in Buka today (Thursday) and not in Buin as earlier planned.
The last minute decision was announced during Prime Minister James Marape’s address of the Bougainville House of Representatives in Buka
The decision was announced by Autonomous Bougainville Government President John Momis after a brief discussion with Marape.
The two leaders agreed for the last JSB meeting before the vote for referendum to be held in Buka so that the full National Executive Council cabinet will also be part of the JSB discussions along with their ABG colleagues.
However, the planned trip to Wakunai, Sirovai and Buin will still eventuate but after the JSB meeting. After the JSB meeting, Marape accompanied by Momis will travel to Buin with a stop-over at Wakunai to officiate at the launch of the Central Bougainville 5-Year Development Plan, and then proceed to Sirovai to officially open the Border Post facility before proceeding to Buin to overnight.
On Friday, Marape and Momis, along with other leaders including Member for South Bougainville Timothy Masiu, will officiate at the commissioning of the Kangu Border Post facility and the new Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited complex in Buin.
Marape will proceed to Paghui village for his Sabbath fellowship with the Seventh Day Adventists community of Wisai before returning to Port Moresby on Sunday out of Aropa airport.
Meanwhile, Marape said his national ministers with deputy Prime Minister Davis Stevens have shown commitment to Bougainville issues on many cabinet meetings and their first NEC meeting in Buka was no exception because they approved a 10-year infrastructure plan for Bougainville.
He said this infrastructure plan goes inline with the new vision to make the country and Bougainville economically independent.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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