Concluding the provincial budget debate on Friday, Milne Bay Governor Titus Philemon said 2016 had been a difficult and challenging year for the government, administration and the people of Milne Bay.
“This is bad news for us as leaders, for our people and for our province,” he said.
“The recession has caused a serious cash flow problem for the National Government. This has resulted in long delays in disbursement and remittances of our much-needed development grants and other funds from Waigani.
“The result is we did not have the money that we had budgeted for in 2016 to fund and effectively implement our projects, programs and activities for our wards, local level governments and districts,” the governor said.
Speaking outside the chamber, Philemon said untimely delays in disbursement of development monies from Waigani had resulted in the rollover of K27,259,900 in unspent grants for 2016 to 2017.
“This rollover of almost K28 million is the largest amount that I can remember in any of our previous budgets. It’s not a reflection on our ability to implement, which is more than 80 percent on an annual basis.
“The simple reason is that we received these funds very late and just didn’t have the time to use it,” he said.
“In other words, if you discount the unspent 2016 grants of K27,259,900, our 2017 appropriation would be K173,033,600 and not more than K200 million,” Governor Philemon said.
(Loop file picture)