I refer to an article in the Post Courier of 4 May 2016 concerning the water supply situation in Goroka.
As Member for Goroka, I share concerns expressed by the public concerning the state of water supply in Goroka. I have previously allocated DSIP funds to undertake basic maintenance of the water supply system.
The system however predates independence and is in need of major upgrade to support the growing population of Goroka. I consequently sought to transfer management of the water supply to Water PNG under an MOU arrangement (after consultation with the town mayor). Water PNG was to manage the water supply and scope the necessary upgrade of the system. To this end an amount of K500,000 was approved under the 2013 Public Investment Program (PIP) controlled by the Department of National Planning and Monitoring (DNPM) .
The MOU was prepared but could not be signed as the K500,000 was withdrawn by DNPM as part of a Government cost cutting exercise. The K500,000 is included in the 2016 PIP program but to date no funds have been released.
Finally, I would point out that the water supply system is an asset of the Goroka Town Council not the Goroka District Development Authority. The town council is appointed under the Organic Law not the DDA Act and as such the DDA cannot direct the local authorities to hand over the asset to Water PNG to manage. The local authorities are loathe to hand over the asset as they derive income from the water rates levied.
I consider that the DDA Act should be amended to provide for the transfer of all District staff and assets to a DDA. At present the DDA has responsibility for effective management of the district but does not have the necessary powers to enable it to act