EC highlights ‘steady progress’ with payments

The PNG Electoral Commission is making steady progress with the payment of polling officials around the country.

Commissioner Patilias Gamato said the human resource team has processed payments for 65 of the 89 districts so far and has established an agreement with Bank South Pacific to give priority to these payments.

He said in a statement that as districts complete their counts and verify their counting officials, these payments are also being made.

“The BSP bank checks each batch of payments as they are received to check that bank account details are correct and that accounts are active.

“I commend the returning officers and assistant returning officers who have been quick to verify the details of their polling officials as this has resulted in accurate and timely payments. 

“We set out to improve our payment processes for this election,” Gamato said.

He stated that the commission has asked field staff to confirm their lists of polling officials before payments and they want to pay directly to people’s bank accounts.

“The onus is on managers to supply up-to-date and correct information, so payments can be accurate.

“We will make some exceptions to pay in cash where necessary, and we are working through these on a case by case basis.

“The HR team continues to make adjustments as more polling officials send in bank account details,” Gamato added.

Meanwhile, counting officials for Moresby North-East stopped counting yesterday in protest over the nonpayment of their allowances by the Electoral Commission.

The counting contingent took to the main Waigani freeway during lunch time to demand for their allowances to be paid before the end of counting.

They presented a petition saying counting for the North-East electorate will not resume nor finish unless they are paid their full allowances.

Sally Pokiton