A total of K40 million in election funds was released by the Finance Department last week to PNGEC’s account but only K20 million was uploaded while the other K20 million was removed.
He said the K20 million removed was money earmarked for the purchase of big ticket items such as ballot boxes, security plastic seals, indelible ink, voting compartments, stationary and t-shirt’s for polling and counting officials.
“If the Government is serious about appropriately funding PNGEC to deliver a good election that is free, fair, safe and inclusive then it must release and upload election funds in a timely manner,” Gamato said.
He raised the concerned in the light of the fact the a number of provinces have yet to pay allowances for their enrolment agents and wages for data processing officers at the provincial data processing centres nationwide.
“PNGEC has yet to settle the allowances for enrolment agents and wages for data processing officers entering elector data in the provincial data centres totalling over K7 million.”
“Outstanding allowances for enrolment agents yet to be paid by the Commission stand at K7 million while wages for data processing offices stand at K70, 000.”
“Non-payment of allowances and wages dating back to 2016 has resulted in Electoral Roll update work being affected or stopped,” Gamato said.
He said provinces affected include Morobe, East Sepik, Chimbu, Eastern Highlands, Enga, West Sepik, Madang, Southern Highlands, Bougainville, Gulf and Western.
“I call on the Government to release and upload Electoral Commission funds quickly so that we can pay our service providers.”
(Picture source PNGEC website)