Southern Highlands Province (SHP) is well- known for social and political related issues that are really affecting the livelihood of government workers, general public and gerund public properties at risk.
Due to ineffective law & order and judiciary systems in the province, organized criminal activities has been an ongoing issue, despite provincial leaders made several attempts to superscribe.
This was highlighted by the SHP Governor William Powi while presenting his 2018 and 2019 outstanding Provincial Services Improvement Program (PSIP) financial reports to the Department of Implementation and Rural Development (DIRD) last week.
Mr. Powi stressed that recently organized criminals illegally entered and ransacked the Provincial Administration building – Agiru Centre targeting the Provincial Finance Office, destroyed computers, documents, Papua New Guinea Accounting System (PGAS) machine, computer servers and looted other relevant office stationeries, which are now subject to police investigations.
He said as a result it has drastically affected effective basic service delivery in many parts of the province coupled with escalating law and order.
Despite all those issues and stiff challenges being encountered in the areas of governance, administration and policy directive in the province, the provincial administration has successfully delivered the following impact projects and programs captured in the province’s rolling five year development plan 2012- 2020;
- Subsidizing school fees for SHP Students attending universities and colleges
- Rolling out of Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) – potato farming projects
- Rural Electrification Program
- Governance funding allocation of K100,000 each were appropriated for Local Level Government (LLG) Presidents who are Assembly members
- Infrastructure and road projects include:
- Pimaga Township Public Servants Housing x 5
- Mendi Town Police Housing
- Wara Yalo to Mendo road rehabilitation
- Kagua Police Station
- Mendi Court House Re-construction
- Sumia- Kagua road construction
- Kware – Upper Nipa road construction
- Maintenance of access road to Aron Health Centre
- Bush Karinz road construction & maintenance
- Agriculture Project Seed Capital
- Construction of Correctional Service (CIS) facility
- Building double classroom for Kumin Primary School
- Lepra Rural Housing Project
- Construction of Kagua Market & PMV Stop
- Major rehabilitation Wasu Cattle Ranch on existing farm
The provincial government is partnering with Mendi-Menhiu, Imbonggu and Kagua- Erave District administrations or the District Development Authorities in delivering some of those impact projects highlighted above.
Mr. Powi also announced that due to the COVID-19 that had recently affected the country’s economy, the provincial administration opted to subsidize parental component of the tuition fees to students attending elementary to high schools in Southern Highlands including vocational training in 2021 while the National Government is meeting its 60 per cent component.
Under Powi’s leadership, the provincial government had budgeted K10 million which will be remitted to all elementary, primary, secondary and high school’s account forthwith to relief struggling parents and guidance.
“I prioritised education as one of the key human resources development in the province going forward which would like to see educated elites and thus investing more so that they can be part of our development process, as such we have been subsidizing fees for students since 2018 – 2019 and will continue to 2021”, he said.
DIRD Deputy Secretary of the Project Implementation Wing Gordon Wafimbi thanked Governor Powi who accompanied by his provincial administrator Joseph Cajetan and Treasurer Kevin Puruno for furnishing their outstanding 2018 and 2019 PSIP reports that will form the basis for monitoring and evaluation.
Mr. Wafimbi said department will appraise, cross examine with those financial information and report to the government accordingly. The DIRD continuously provides technical advice and policy advice on a daily basis and maintains close dialogue with the Administrators, Finance Managers and political leaders so they are fully aware of Administrative Guidelines and Financial Instructions to avoid legal implication.