3 Feb 2005

PNG opposition urges government to fund districts

4:19 pm on 3 February 2005

The Opposition leader in Papua New Guinea, Peter O'Neill, says the government must back up new district treasuries with adequate funding.

Mr O'Neill says the move shouldn't end up as another instance of the government paying lip-service to an issue, with nothing tangible happening at the ground level.

The government hopes district treasury offices in the 19 provinces will give communities a steady supply of government goods and services.

Officials hope district treasuries will hand out government funds more promptly, and district treasurers will be more able to check special benefit entitlements.

The opposition leader is proposing a bill at the next session of parliament to establish district authorities throughout PNG.

Mr O'Neill wants district authorities to be the bottom tier in PNG's system of national-provincial-local government.