April 1, 2019

Bougainville referendum gets first K10m

Minister assisting the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister on Bougainville Affairs, William Samb, has confirmed that the government has released the first K10 million (US$2.9 million) out of K30m (US$8.8 million) for the referendum on Bougainville.

He said critics’ claims that there was reluctance by the national government to support Bougainville were not true.

“The national government is doing everything within the spirit of the Bougainville Peace Agreement,” Samb said.

“Some international observers have commented that the Bougainville Peace Agreement is one of the best in the world.”

He said the Coordinating Office on Bougainville affairs had made a submission for K20 million (US$5.9 million) but the deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Charles Abel gave an additional K10 million in the budget for a total of K30 million.”

“We have got K30 million from the national government but yet we have been hammered that there is no funding for the referendum,” he said.

Samb said the K10m has been paid to the Bougainville Referendum Commission account.

He said K10m has been split, with K8m (US$2.3 million) for electoral and K2m (US$593,000) for non-electoral activities,

“The deputy prime minister has assured us that the next K10m will go out by the end of this month.

“And the remainder by next month,” he said. “The national government is committed to the referendum and I am committed to delivering it to the people of Bougainville.”

Samb said some people misunderstood dates set in the peace agreement for referendum.

“We have deferred the referendum from June 15 to October 12,” he said.

“The peace agreement states that the dates for referendum on Bougainville must be between June 15 of 2019 and no later than June 15, 2022.

“So, we are still within the prescribed time-frame,” he said.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

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