Decentralise PNGEC functions

If some of the functions of the PNG Electoral Commission are to be decentralised then the Special Parliamentary Committee on 2022 General Elections will oversee that.

The Committee was in Lae early this month to look into the conduct of the general election and how best to improve the processes for the next elections.

The predominant issue outlined by all participants were the electoral roll update – or lack of it – and the lack of transparency with election funding that was received by the PNG Electoral Commission.

Presenters at the Momase consultation recommended the decentralisation of the powers of the Electoral Commission, saying provinces should be in charge of the update of their electoral roll and funding from the national government should go straight into the accounts of the provincial electoral offices.

Chairman of the committee and East Sepik Governor, Allan Bird, said their focus will be on the recommendations in their report, which he will take to Parliament in the next sitting in June.

“Once Parliament adopts it, this committee will oversee the implementation of the recommendations,” he stated.

“So if there are laws that need to be changed then it’s our job to get those laws drafted, bring them into Parliament, table them and have them passed.

“If, for example, we need to restructure the Electoral Commission, then we will make the recommendations and oversee the restructure of the Electoral Commission.

“If we need to oversee the restructure of the financing arrangements so that we lock it in and when funding is allocated, provinces will receive it directly. If we need to make sure that we decentralise the powers of updating the electoral roll so that it is ready two years before the elections, like it becomes a public document where all of us can see. Right now it’s a highly secretive document that nobody knows what’s happening with it.”

Bird said one of the functions of a Parliament is to bring greater transparency and accountability around processes, making reference to the three branches of government; legislative, executive and judicial.

Present at the consultations were the PNG National Research Institute, Institute of National Affairs and Transparency International PNG, who will be helping to finalise the final report for submission.

Loop Author