By The SUN of Papua New Guinea

East Sepik Provincial Government today passed a record balanced budget of K287.2 million in Port Moresby with close to additional K50 million from the European Union.

This will increase the total expenditure to K337 million in 2020.

“I am pleased to announce our record budget of K287m passed by the ESPG today. This budget is a 23% increase from 2019 and the increase is mostly from savings and internal revenue,” Governor Allan Bird wrote on his Facebook timeline.

He said his province would enjoy public spending in excess of K300 million a year with plans to increase it by K100 million.

“ESPG, through prudent management, has carried over K49 million in cash from 2019. While some people may believe savings relate to lack of service delivery, it can also mean savings as a result of preventing corruption.

Most of the expenditure was about to take place in December when it is known that false claims flooded the Administration and all funds are cleaned out. I gave a directive to stop all false claims being processed in December last year.

Only legitimate claims where goods and services have been rendered were paid. All advance payments were stopped,” he said.

He said he was proud to see for the first time ESPG will begin a new year with cash in the bank, adding these revenues are mostly driven by agriculture and not the extractive sector.

“All the initiatives mentioned in an earlier post will be funded. Our main challenge remains that of reducing corruption and getting effective and result-oriented delivery of outcomes. If corruption is not stopped at LLG level, we could lose millions of Kina with little results.

“The onus is now on the public service to implement and hopefully, we get strong oversight from the elected representatives and the people,” he continued.

According to Governor Bird, an investigative audit will be carried out later this year of all expenditures beginning with the Governor’s Office and cascading down to all the LLGs going back three years.

“We will also investigate expenditures by all the schools which have been receiving significant provincial funding. A team of investigators, including forensic accountants, will be engaged for this work.

“The administration has been instructed to provide quarterly expenditure and performance reports to the Assembly which will then be debated and published for public scrutiny,” he said.

Sepik is on the cusp of significant growth, he said, adding: “I want to thank our leaders and people for the tremendous progress from where we were in 2017.”


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