Increase of 3 new ministries to cost more than K3m annually, do you support?March 6 2010 at 6:54 AM
Move to increase ministries ill-conceived: Sir Mekere
PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare’s proposed constitutional amendment to increase the number of ministers from the current 28 to 33 is an attempt to garner support to ensure his scandal-plagued Government remains in power, Opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta said yesterday.
Sir Mekere urged concerned citizens to challenge Sir Michael to explain how the nation would benefit from extra ministries that would cost the nation’s taxpayers millions of kina.
He said five additional ministers would cost PNG taxpayers a minimum of K3 million in salaries, allowances and staff costs.
“This excludes office rent and office support costs, and the support that departments and agencies inevitably end up providing to ministers,” Sir Mekere said.
“Sir Michael is looking for numbers, not ministers.
“He knows that when the constitutional reference on the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates is handed down, his chance of survival will be reduced.
“This is a move by a desperate man to cling onto power through an ill-conceived constitutional change,” the Opposition leader said.
He said the timing of the announcement was revealing because “it confirms the point that this is a move purely to anchor Sir Michael in power”.
“The people of Papua New Guinea do not need more ministers. The people need more and better quality schools, health centres, affordable and reliable transport and improved telecommunication services. That is what Sir Michael should be providing, not burdening the public with the cost of more ministers.
“Is the Prime Minister blind?
“Is he so insensitive and intoxicated with power that he cannot see what the nation and people need?” Sir Mekere asked.
“PNG does not need a K130 million executive Falcon jet for exclusive use by the Prime Minister.
“We need that K130 million to repair classrooms, teachers’ houses, health centres and staff housing, training for teachers and health officers, repair and buy new life-saving medical equipment as well as repairing fast-deteriorating inter and intra provincial roads.
“The Falcon jet is already being used as a mini bus.
“How many millions will the Government spend to operate and maintain the mini bus?” Sir Mekere asked.
Cabinet to be reshuffled, resized
|March 6 2010, 7:08 AM |
By ISAAC NICHOLAS
PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare intends to increase the size of his Cabinet, and has promised to reshuffle his Cabinet after the March sitting of Parliament which starts today.
But Planning Minister Paul Tiensten, the man who sets the Government’s agenda on the floor of Parliament, brushed aside suggestions the increase in Cabinet’s size and the reshuffle has anything to do with the threat of a vote of no-confidence.
Mr Tiensten, who is Leader of Government Business, said the Government was intact and was not distracted by the Opposition’s mooted vote of no-confidence motion.
Parliament sits at 2 o’clock this afternoon and high on the agenda is the Bill to increase the number of ministries from 28 to 31, the motion to have nominated women in Parliament and amendments to the Organic Law Governments to retain the provincial seats after 2012.
“We have the executive arm and we will go into Parliament to run the business of the day of putting through legislative amendments and policy statements,” Mr Tiensten said after a special National Executive Council meeting last night.
He said if the motion (of no-confidence) was introduced, the Private Members Committee would sit down and determine the merits and demerits of the motion.
He said the committee would determine whether it (motion) was of national importance or if it was parochial.
“There is a process before it can be entertained by Parliament but we are ready to defeat any motion as the Government’s strength is intact,” Mr Tiensten said.
Mr Tiensten himself has been the subject of a push by some governors from his New Guinea Islands region to have him removed as minister, but the Prime Minister has kept his faith in him.
In a statement released earlier yesterday, the Prime Minister said he was holding back the announcement of a reshuffle until the re-introduction of the Bill to increase the number of ministries from 28 to 31.
This is not catered for in the 2010 Budget, and the Government will blow a hole in the budget to fund the expansion of Cabinet.
But the Prime Minister said the expansion had to happen after 35 years.
“We have had 28 ministers since 1975 when our population was less than half of what it is today. A total of 35 years have lapsed and responsibilities have greatly increased.
“Due to the political stability our growth since 2002 is almost five times more. We have to better manage governance with the level of growth taking place in the country today.
“Currently, many ministers are taking care of more than one portfolio and there is a need to share some of these responsibilities.
“In the proposed changes I will also be giving vice ministers more responsibilities and functions so that they can complement the work of the ministers.
“Experience has shown that ministers also have not been able to properly utilise vice-ministers.”
Simbu Mps may support the bill to get Ministries.
|March 6 2010, 7:15 AM |
‘Allocate ministry to Simbu’
By ZACHERY PER
NATIONAL Alliance party’s Simbu branch has called on Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to allocate a ministry to Simbu in the impending Cabinet reshuffle.
Branch president Garry Eremuge made the statement last Tuesday, saying Sir Michael must not consider giving the Speaker’s position to Simbu as “enough”.
He said Speaker Jeffery Nape, who is serving his second term as an NA MP, was concentrating on serving the interest of Parliament and the Government, including Sir Michael, and not the NA branch and the people of Simbu province.
“I strongly call on Sir Michael to allocate a ministry to Gumine MP Lucas Dawa who is one of the two NA MPs in the Government,” Mr Eremuge said.
He said a ministry should be allocated to Mr Dawa in the reshuffle to further strengthen the solidarity of the party in the province and the Highlands region.
The call was supported by NA party branches in other Highlands region as they regard the allocation of additional ministries to the Highlands would further solidify the party base in the region.
They considered Sir Michael to be wise enough to make this happen for them to prepare for the 2012 national polls.
Current NA MPs from the Highlands region given ministerial portfolios are Kandep MP Don Polye (Works, Transport and Civil Aviation), Wabag MP Sam Abal (Foreign Affairs and Immigration), Tari-Pori MP James Marape (Education) and Mul-Baiyer MP Sani Rambi (Internal Security).
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