Improving public fund acquittals

The Department of Implementation and Rural Development (DIRD) is now trying to resolve issues of reporting and acquittal of public funds.

This is happening after 16 years of allocating funds to districts in the country, under the government’s policy on Services Improvement Program (SIP).

The responsible department, DIRD, is conducting the last leg of its nationwide consultations on the recently introduced Bilum Digital Platform, which is part of the government’s reform in digitalising reporting systems in the country.

The Bilum Platform focuses on real-time and evidence-based reporting, and is funded by the Government of PNG and the Australian government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

The platform has already been successfully piloted in the two districts of Wabag, in Enga Province, and Nuku, in West Sepik Province.

It is being gradually rolled out into other pilot districts in the country, which includes Pomio District in East New Britain Province.

Deputy DIRD Secretary, Gordon Wafimbi, said unlike the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), this platform has online and offline data entry solutions, has a template-based reporting to ensure consistency, tracks the usage and reporting status of the SIP funds, and has online training resources and support.

It is understood that currently, over K1 billion is allocated to the districts and provinces on an annual basis, and the funding allocation under the SIP continues to increase, among successive governments.

After its initial introduction in 2007 under the Somare-led government, the national government under then Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, further included SIP funding for provinces and local level governments (LLG) around the country.

Speaking this week at the opening of a four-day workshop, ENB Governor Michael Marum applauded the digitalisation of data, saying it is the way forward for the province and PNG.

He said the Bilum project is a very important platform, and therefore he appreciates the visiting team that are in Kokopo to run this workshop and training.

“A challenge to the local officers in ENB, if national departments want to work with us, let’s attend to them to get vital information that we need to improve our work. We fully support this concept, as we recently launched our ICT Action Plan for the province,” said Marum.

“The Bilum platform, as I understand, is a digital transformation compliance to improve data collection and efficiency of reporting from the provinces and districts to the national level.”

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