The Minister for National Planning, Richard Maru, was responding to calls made by the Chairman of Transparency International, Lawrence Stephens, for the government to cease all funding to the NID rollout project, until such a time that the management of the project provides full acquittals of the K230 million that has been expanded on the project since its inception in 2015.
Minister Maru said there was no time for any disruption to the process of NID registration as the O’Neill-Abel government is embarking on using NID database in all its processes of electronic Governance (e-Governance).
In relation to the audit issues raised by TIPNG, a major review process of the National Planning & Monitoring Department including line agencies – National Statistics Office (NSO) and Civil and Identity Registry (PNGCIR) – will commence by February 2018.
“I am finalising the names for the audit, fraud and compliance committee for the Department of National Planning and Monitoring to undertake all audit and investigate into all allegations made against staff in my Department and all statutory agencies under the Ministry of National Planning,” stated Maru.
“The audit committee will be chaired by an external independent chairman supported by an independent legal expert.
“My Ministry and Department has nothing to hide,” Minister Maru added.
He further said since the reorganisation of PNGCIR, with the appointment of acting Registrar General Michael Kumung on 18th October 2017 to January 26th 2018, total registrations have jumped to 357,000. In comparison, since the start of the NID rollout in 2015, total registration was only 120,000.
Minister Maru said the target is to register 1.5 million citizens in 2018 alone.
“Basically, time is not a luxury in this project of national interest and we cannot agree to a call to cease the rollout of NID cards as planned. We support good governance and we must allow due process to run its course,” Minister Maru said.