ABG, PNG Govt to work together

The PNG Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government have acknowledged the autonomy arrangements and its challenges.

This was done through signing of a joint Memorandum of Agreement (MoA), between Prime Minister, James Marape and ABG President, Ishmael Toroama.

The MoU covered the Dispensation of Constitutional Requirements relating to the Transfer or Functions and Powers pursuant to Section 295 of the Constitution.

Both leaders expect challenges to be faced along the way as this is a new journey for both governments.

One of these challenges is the drawdown of powers process. Since the formation of the first Bougainville Government in 2005, two autonomy reviews have been done to analyze how the drawdown process has been implemented.

A key finding in both reviews was the process itself has been happening at a slow pace.  

Under this new agreement the requirements under Section 295(a) & (b) of the National Constitution, are now dispensed with, effective as of the day of the MoA signing.

The MoA removes certain steps that hinder the implementation of the drawdown process. This includes the dispensation of the ABG’s need to assess its capability to operate the function or power.

Furthermore, a 12 months’ notice to the Government will no longer be required, and funding will not be an obstacle to the Government, this allows the transfer of power to the ABG.

The agreement ensures that the Government and the ABG keep consulting to implement ongoing transition plans.  

The agreement provides the separation and repeals the existing Memorandum of Understanding on the Overarching Framework for the Transfer of Functions and Powers from the National Government to the Autonomous Bougainville Government Pursuant to the Bougainville Peace Agreement 2017.

The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment and focus on the forthcoming consultations over the result of the Bougainville Referendum.

Marysilla Kellerton