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Next year, 2019 will be a very crucial year for Papua New Guinea as the country oversees the referendum on Bougainville.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said Tuesday it would also be a time to review the current structure of government in view of granting autonomy or greater autonomy to provinces.
“We are going for the referendum in Bougainville and that leads us to the question of the structure of government we have in our country and what levels of autonomy and greater autonomy that we need to give to the provinces right across the country.
“I think the time has come for us to review that as well because since the introduction of the provincial government system, with premiers style of leadership in the province to now governors who are also Members of Parliament.
“Has that really worked, whether Governors are focused on the management of the province or not, and I think where there are provinces that are calling for greater autonomy, this is where our government wants to go.
“What we have failed to do over the past 40 years of independence is that we have not resourced the provinces and the lower levels of government well, we have set up this huge structure and provided the level of leadership in those structures but without the resources that is needed to function .
“I think when we reduce the size of the national government and pass on more responsibilities to the provinces and districts, we have to do it with the resources as well, and resources must be done without political interference.
“I can say on record that we are very proud as a government that even in the last term, despite having different political groupings, we were able to fund every district and every province in the country, given them equal share regardless of where you sit in parliament, whether you are in opposition or government.
“This has to be done with a constitutional law so that no government can intimidate you in the delivery of services, our people deserve those services, their basic right whether its health or education whether its maintenance, law and order, infrastructure, it is their basic right to have those services.
“As government and as leaders we have to provide that despite our political allegiance and political position, that is why we are very determined to make sure that these reforms are relevant to our changing society in this country and by working together we can be able to achieve that,” O’Neill said.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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