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Planning Minister Basil to trial Ward Bank Accounts Opening in Bulolo in New Year

PNG Minister for National Planning Hon Samuel H Basil MP announced today that all wards nationwide will need to have bank accounts to benefit from the K65 million set aside by the Marape-Steven Government.

And Minister Basil who is Member for Bulolo said that he has invited Bank South Pacific Retail Banking to help roll-out the opening of the first 20 wards as a pilot project in his district from 6th to 13th January 2020.

“I have also invited relevant government agencies to observe this and take advantage of the opportunity to study the wards with a view to work out what’s on the ground in terms of government services and how to collaborate to ensure sustained and least-cost ward services delivery including vital statistics/data collections,” he said.

“As Minister for National Planning, I have asked the NSO National Census 2020 Team led by acting National Statistician Mr John Igitoi, together with the PNG Civil Identity Registry/National Identification (NID) Project Team led by acting Registrar General Mr Noel Mobiha and the Department of National Planning and Monitoring (DNPM) led by Deputy Secretary (Policy) Mr Michael Kumung to partner with my Bulolo District Development Authority to trial LLG Wards Bank Accounts Opening in 20 wards in Buang LLG from 6th – 13th January 2020,” he said.

This initiative is vital to assist in working through practical issues on how to:
• Mobilise Ward Development Committees to meet so they can formalize and resolve matters on opening and managing bank accounts including guidelines for use of this funds and challenges of own revenue raising measures. This pilot project will help provide important documentation to assist in other wards in other LLGs in districts, provinces and nationwide.
• Expedite NID Project roll-out making use of Ward Development Committee members like the village recorder and the ward councilor.
• Inform preparations, and how to involve and engage with ward development committee officials, for the upcoming 2020 National Census reference night given the limited funding allocation.
• Appreciate what’s on the ground in wards and how government agencies can collaborate to initiate and/or ensure sustained ward services delivery through resource-sharing in a least-cost way.

The initiative is in line with Minimum Service Standards required under the National Planning and Monitoring Responsibility Act and also complements the Department of Provincial and Local Government Act Minimum Services Delivery Programs in Districts.

Mr Basil said that the ward development committee (WDC), led by the ward councillor, is the “government that lives, eats, sleeps and wakes up with the people. It is therefore important that the WDC must be financially empowered at this sub-national level to deliver basic services in a sustainable way.”

The Planning Minister said that the Marape-Steven Government has already taken the first step with the allocation of K65 million to be shared K10,000 each to every ward once their bank accounts are opened and necessary documentations are in order.

“The various government agencies whose reach extends to the wards must also not only engage with the wards now; But they must also collaborate with each other to ensure least-cost and sustainable service delivery,” he added.

“Given the urgent need to roll-out the PNG Civil Identity Registry / National Identification (NID) Project, and the fast-coming reference night for the 2020 National Census, with limited funding available, all government agencies need to ascertain how they can collaborate on vital statistics/data collection as a first step and also towards effective and sustained services in wards.

Minister Basil initially called a preliminary meeting of potential government agencies that need to collaborate in ward service delivery on 6th December 2019. The January meeting will be a follow-up on that.

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