K60m outstanding: Juffa

Northern Governor Gary Juffa says just over K60 million in development funding has yet to be paid to the Oro Provincial Government.

Speaking at the handover of the province’s acquittals to the Department of Implementation and Rural Development (DIRD), Juffa said they have only received K39.1 million during his first term as Governor.

The Acquittals reports are for the years 2013 to 2016.

Juffa said his province has not received its full share of the Provincial Support Improvement Programme (PSIP) funds as well as the Special Support Infrastructure Grants (SSIG).

He said between 2013 and 2016, they only received K29.1 million in PSIP and K10 million in SSIG’s paid once in 2013.

Juffa said whilst he is a vocal member of the Opposition the funds are not for him but for the people of Oro.

“There should not be any punishment of Opposition members. I’ll say this because since 2012 we have not received a single PIP project. We have submitted proposals through Planning, we’ve asked for assistance for rural electrification, for road maintenance, for national highways, etc…

“Our current Provincial Administration Building is a 1960’s colonial building. It’s actually condemned.

“We’ve asked for funding to help us build a new administrative building, so the public servants can work in safety and comfort, and be able to work in a positive environment where they can deliver to our people. That’s gone unheard and rejected.”

Juffa said much of the funding received has gone towards many of the recurrent costs of the province.

“The funds that we have used are development funds but I can tell you that a lot of it did not go to development because we had to prop up our responsibilities to health, education to law and order, other recurrent costs, basically because these funds were not forthcoming in a timely manner.

“The functional grants for instance is hardly ever coming in a timely manner and that’s another issue that Government really has to seriously address.  And that is the fact that functional grants should be arriving in a timely manner.”

The Governor also highlighted the outstanding issue on the oil palm shares with K130 million in dividends that have not been paid yet.

He said attempts to get the Government’s attention have failed and the only option left was a legal recourse.

Meanwhile, the Governor thanked Acting Provincial Administrator, Trevor Magei, and his team for putting the documents in order.

“I’ve got a new team under the current Acting (Provincial) Administrator.

“I’m very happy to say that there is significant progress that we have seen a lot of effort to try and review on reviewing and monitoring the management of public funds and reports.

“My Administrator has been giving quarterly reports on his performance, detailing what they have done, what they haven’t achieved, the challenges, etc…. This is what we expect,” said Juffa.

The acquittals were presented to DIRD Acting Secretary, Aihi Vaki.

Cedric Patjole