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Where is the K600m spent in East Sepik Province in 2007?

April 18 2010 at 3:16 PM

K600m Gift

With the elections around the corner the East Sepik Province has received a gift of K600 million from the National Executive Council (NEC). The "gift" was to thank the people of East Sepik for contributing immensely to the development of PNG. The "gift" will be used to fund a K102 million upgrade of the Boram airport to international status; re-gravel and seal the Coastal Highway from Hawain in East Sepik to Vanimo, West Sepik for K300 million; upgrade the Brandi-Kaup-Angoram road; upgrade the Hayfield airstrip in Maprik, East Sepik and the Tadji airstrip in Aitape, West Sepik province to cater for Dash 8 aircraft; and upgrade the Wewak wharf.

Critics have said the airport upgrade project would be uneconomical as many of the Air Niugini planes leaving from Boram airport are returning to Port Moresby virtually empty.

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K600m for PM's electorate

April 18 2010, 3:17 PM 

PNG PM's electorate gets funding boost
Email Print Normal font Large font March 19, 2007 - 3:34PM

AdvertisementPrime Minister Michael Somare's East Sepik electorate has received a huge funding boost just months before Papua New Guinea's general election.

The PNG Cabinet has approved 600 million kina ($A265 million) in "gift" projects for the people of East Sepik for their support of Somare.

The 70-year-old political veteran, now in his third term as prime minister, is the long-standing member for the province in the north of PNG's mainland.

Following a Cabinet meeting in the provincial capital Wewak last week, Deputy Prime Minister Don Polye announced major airport, road and wharf upgrades for the province.

"To thank the East Sepik people, the Cabinet has decided to give five projects as a sign of appreciation to the people for providing this great leader to PNG," he said.

But in an editorial on Monday, PNG's Post-Courier newspaper questioned the gifts, saying the projects were "too little, too late".

"The people of East Sepik have been crying out for better road access for years and have received little support," the paper said.

The editorial said Somare did not deserve to be thanked in that manner for services to the country and the gifts set a bad precedent for the future.

"These funds are nothing more than an attempt to shore up support for the prime minister at the elections," the Post-Courier said.

The government should not pour money into one province for the prime minister's political gain, the editorial said.

"What about other provinces which need better roads, improvements in hospitals, health centres and medicines, schools and so forth?"

The PNG government recently gained freed-up funds of 700 million kina ($A310 million) it had earmarked for investment in the now-collapsed PNG-Queensland gas pipeline.

Somare recently announced 100 million kina ($A44 million) of those funds would go to subsidise school fees across PNG.

The Post-Courier editorial said the government needed to evenly distribute surplus funds to all provinces and not spend the bulk in Somare's own electorate.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Mekere Morauta and sacked PNG treasurer Bart Philemon have teamed up to take on Somare's National Alliance Party in the June election.

Somare sacked Philemon last year after he challenged him for the leadership of the party.

Philemon, who was widely praised for improving the government's financial management and PNG's economic performance, went on to form the New Generation Party.

On Saturday he announced a partnership with Mekere's PNG Party.

"Today we present to you and to the people of Papua New Guinea the alternative to the Somare-led National Alliance government," Philemon said.

Morauta said both parties aimed to form a good government to replace one that was "lurching from crisis to crisis, breaking laws, wasting public resources and controlled by a clique of people whose interest is to increase personal wealth and power".

© 2007 AAP

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