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PNG Opposition calls for spending report

THE Opposition is calling on the Government to make public an expenditure report from the Office of Disaster Management.

Opposition Leader Patrick Pruaitch said yesterday the Opposition acknowledges the tremendous effort of private sector and international donors to dig deep and fund relief efforts in areas affected by the February 26 earthquakes.

“As many of the donors to the relief effort have been State owned enterprises, of which the people of Papua New Guinea are shareholders, we request that expenditure is immediately made available by the Office of Disaster Management,” Mr Pruaitch said in a statement.

“The Opposition firmly believes that before we can discuss any restoration expenditure, donated funds must be acquitted publicly, to ensure that they are being evenly distributed to those affected by the disaster.

‘‘This expenditure report can be published online for the peace of mind of all concerned citizens and aid donors.”

The Opposition acknowledged the ongoing assistance of the people of Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, the United States of America and the European Union.

“We especially acknowledge the arrival of food aid in country from the people of France via the French Navy and we thank them for their support.

“Accountability is essential at a time when we are working against the clock to save lives. The biggest threat to those affected by the disaster includes the onset of hunger and disease and these can only be starved off by donations being appropriated correctly. Many Papua New Guineans have lost faith in the Government’s ability to manage anything, and such a move to publicly account for funds would galvanise ordinary people to assist where they can,” he said.

Mr Pruaitch said the people looked to Prime Minister for leadership and transparency on this issue.

The Opposition had also called on the Government to make available a portion of the K50 million donated by Ok Tedi Mining Limited for the people of Western Province to show its commitment to their welfare.

“Where Oil Search is working hard in its project area to assist local communities and coordinating the relief effort with foreign donors, OTML must also be coiled on to do the same, with an allocation from the K50 million paid to Government immediately transferred back for this purpose.

“Prime Minister cannot continue plodding along at snail pace when days can mean the difference between life and death to those affected by the disaster,”
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