The Department of Implementation and Rural Development (DIRD) is quite perturb that Service Improvement Program grants are being used to fund municipal operational activities and not funding intended development projects at the district level.
DIRD Secretary Aihi Vaki said that there must be a distinct demarcation of roles and responsibilities of District Development Authorities and City Authority which the Department of Provincial and Local Government Affairs needs to review its enabling Acts and legislations.
Mr. Vaki stressed this after Hagen District Administration raised its flagged last Friday pertaining to Mt. Hagen City Authority claiming some of its activities intended for electorate were funded within the municipal area with its District Services Improvement Program (DSIP) grants.
DIRD challenges District Development Authorities and the City Authorities to revisit its Acts and Legislation when executing their roles and responsibilities at the sub-national administrations.
“These entities must be structured and fully resourced, self-sustaining to ensure generate its own revenue to avoid shifting of SIP funds for administration and recurrent activities.
“It is important that Government take note of this policy issues raised before creating more City Authorities around the country,” Mr. Vaki said.
Hagen District is part of municipal city in Western Highlands Province, the gateway to the PNG Highlands Region.
As per the City Authority Act 2015, the Authority is primarily responsible for providing municipal services in accordance with a memorandum of understanding entered into by the Authority with the Urban Local – Level Government.
The Municipal services include, but are not limited to;
– the collection of rubbish
– the management of the municipal dump,
– the cleaning and lighting of roads, streets and paths,
– the maintenance of public parks and recreation areas, and
– the control of cats, dogs, and other domesticated animals
This law applies to Lae, Kokopo and NCDC including Mt Hagen, however the issue is two entities, DDA and City Authorities are created under different Acts now that caused muddle in roles and responsibilities.
Whereas, the roles of DDA is to ensure the proper, efficient and economical performance of the Authority’s operations for the benefit of the people of the district.
It also give directions to the Chief Executive Officer under Section 22(3) (a), and (c) such other functions as are oversee, coordinate and make recommendations as to the DDA, including budget priorities, for consideration by the Provincial Government and the National Government, draw up rolling Five Year District Development Plan and annual estimates for the district, approve the disbursement of District Services Improvement Program and District Support Grants, and carry out such other functions as are prescribed by the regulations.
The Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape earlier had said that the Members for Lae and Kokopo Open Electorates do not sit on the respective City Authority Boards, and as a result there is perceived inconsistency in leadership direction, vision, planning and budgeting existing in the city authorities.
“Respective City Authority Boards cannot meet to discuss and provide direction, plan and approve budgets because if they do, the decisions can be subject to legal challenge. Occurrences of administrative and governance issues and challenges are prevalent in Kokopo and Lae City Authorities,” he said.
“Section 12 (4) of the City Authority Act 2015 for Lae and Kokopo outright denies the elected members to make decisions for their constituents in the electorates and their Authorities do not get their mandates and objectives implemented after four years of establishing the city authorities, while their sister city, Mt Hagen, is in full swing.”
A precedent was set in Mt Hagen City Authority when similar amendments were made that saw Member for Mt Hagen Open continue his membership as Chairman of the Board, even though he occupied a Ministerial portfolio in the National Government.
“Therefore, the Lae and Kokopo City Authority Amendment Bills as amended must be tabled in Parliament for passage to enable the respective Members of Parliament to continue their membership on the City Authority Boards,” Prime Minister Marape had said.