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Review Autonomous Bougainville Government powers to be drawn: Committee

The National Parliamentary Bipartisan Committee on Bougainville matters has recommended that an extensive review be undertaken on the powers and functions yet to be drawn down by the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG)under the current autonomy arrangements.

This is according to a statement to the National Parliament on the status of the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the Referendum, which was delivered by bipartisan committee chairman and Bougainville Regional MP, Joe Lera.

According to the statement, the bipartisan committee has recommended that a timeline be developed for the drawdown of the powers yet to be handed over to Bougainville.

It called for the establishment of a joint inter-government body to monitor the drawdown of the remaining powers as per the timeline that would be developed.

The report also recommended that the national government and the ABG should develop a comprehensive post referendum plan on the future political status scenarios that Bougainville would be faced with.

It called on both governments to develop plans for political status scenarios such as higher autonomy, independence and the federal statehood concept.

According to the report, the national government and the ABG should also prioritise and address serious human resource capacity issues affecting the ABG administration to ensure the ABG has the capacity to effect the drawdown of remaining powers.

Another recommendation contained in the report, called on both governments to strengthen the inter-government relationship between the two with the restructuring of the National Coordination Office on Bougainville Affairs.

The report also recommended for both governments to establish the Bougainville Fiscal Commission, which will be manned by independent experts to review the fiscal regime of the ABG.

Meanwhile, a Parliamentary Partnership Agreement has been formalised between the National Parliament and the Bougainville House of Representatives.

The agreement was signed by National Parliament Speaker, Job Pomat and his counterpart, Speaker of the Bougainville House of Representatives, Simon Pentanu at Parliament House last week.

Both speakers acknowledged the importance of the Parliamentary Partnership Agreement which promotes collaboration, cooperation and mutual understanding between the National Parliament and the Bougainville House of Representatives.

They said in a joint statement that the agreement comes about at a crucial time especially as the upcoming referendum would require both parliaments to make decisions on the future political status of Bougainville.

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