ABG and NFA signs MoU

K15 million was officially handed over to the Autonomous Bougainville Government by the National Fisheries Authority today.

This is part of the drawing down of powers and functions by the National Government to the ABG in preparation for referendum 2019.

A Memorandum of Understanding to effect the drawing down of powers was also signed. The event took place at the Bel Isi Park, Buka in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Fisheries Minister, Patrick Basa, was on hand to officially hand over the amount.

"The Initial process began 7 years ago in 2011, under the drawdown and transfer of powers and functions process, when the ABG through the division of Primary Industry and Commerce requested the drawdown of National Fisheries Functions," said Minister Basa.

The national government understood that the Fisheries and Marine resources being a highly technical field required a lot of consultations and hard work from tje Joint Technical officials of both governments.

ABG President, Chief John Momis, said the occasion was a symbolic one because it honoured one of the outcomes of the recently held Joint Supervisory Body Meeting.

"The funds provided today will be invaluable to the ABG. We have had to manage with meagre resources in the full knowledge that a significant proportion of the total fisheries catchment in PNG comes from Bougainville waters, "said President Momis.

Meantime ABG's Minister for Economic Development services, Fidelis Semoso, said the MOU will assist Bougainville, especially through the directorate of Fisheries, to establish the Bougainville Marine Fisheries Authority.

"This authority will be responsible for the management and regulation of the Marine resources and fisheries sector in Bougainville," said Minister Semoso.

Semoso gave assurance that the ABG will use the K15 million for its intended purpose.

"Significant portion of this fund will be used to establish BMRA,"

In the long term he says there are plans of opening a Tuna cannery in 2020.

“Downstream processing will attract investment from which Bougainville can benefit from corporate and income tax."

Meredith Kuusa