Friday 25 November 2022

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has supported a call for the establishment of a council for all provincial governors.

Mr Marape supported the call after Governor for Morobe Hon. Luther Wenge asked if the Prime Minister could introduce a bill for the enactment of legislation to allow for the National Governors Council and a secretariat as its working arm. 

Prime Minister Marape said: “Let me assure the Morobe Governor and his colleague governors that the Government that I lead is a strong advocate of the provincial government system.

“If it pleases our governors, that they feel that there needs to be such a body then this needs to be clearly specified in law.

“If it is an operational law as an Act of Parliament, we can bring at that level. I suggest we look at the present Organic Law on Provincial & Local Level Governments to see where we can appropriately insert that provision, which can make us at the national level and provincial level engage more on real time and on lively basis.

“We all know that it was at 1975, 1976 and 1977 through a Pangu-led government that gave the Provincial Government System (PGS) as a response to autonomy and functionality of the different parts of the country under the embrace of the provincial government structure.

“So we looking into every possible way to ensure that the is strengthened and let me encourage all Open Members of Parliament to be conscious of the fact that provinces embrace functions of government at the sub-national level that has the different parts of the country and interest captured.

“The PGS is not bad. It must be supported, strengthened and entrenched, and functions that you can handle at your level can be handled.

“There are key areas where Waigani cannot be out there running the responsibilities of the different parts of the country. Provincial governments must be properly empowered and properly functional, and can do these.

“The last three years, we have tried to restore what I felt was a loss of support to the Provincial Government System in the years before I took over as head of government,” said the Prime Minister.

PM Marape also took the opportunity to clarify that the District Development Authority (DDA) is “not a government but an implementing agency” to assist provincial governments deliver services directly to the people, which at some point in the future will be “augmented” to reflect these interests better.

“We will augment and clearly entrench all provincial governments going forward, and if the governors feels that a specific provision of law needs to entrench the relevance of a governors’ council, we are open to that suggestion. We will not stand in the way.”

“I also inform this House, from next year onwards, we will resuscitate what used to be PLLSMA, or earlier it was called the National Monitoring Authority. We will resuscitate this and keep it at arm’s length from Government-proper.

“It will become a body that will have presence of civil bodies and agencies of our society to sit in and have oversight of what we are doing at government level, the different layers of government, so we get to deliver what we commit to our people,” said PM Marape.