TABOI AWI YOTO
DARU – You may be aware of a Papua New Guinea government policy that every province and district should expect to receive K10 million a year to spend on local projects.
This scheme is known as PSIP/DSIP or ‘MP’s funds’ and is meant to disburse K10 million to each province and district, the funds being administered by committees chaired by district or provincial politicians.
However the K10 million a year is a figure only in theory; in practice it is not really the case that this amount is received to spend on local projects.
This depends on variables like who is in power and which side of parliament (government or opposition) you are on.
It also depends on the general health of the economy and the national government's revenue.
In a situation where you have a genuine government and a healthy economy, there will be fair distribution of PSIP but an unfair government can deny opposition MPs of PSIP and DSIP, a typical scenario of PNG politics.
That was the sad case for me in 2017 and 2018 when I was in opposition.
Thus far for Western Province, I have received the following amounts in the four years I have been in Office: 2017 – K2 million; 2018 – K4 million; 2019 – K7 million; 2020 – K8 million; 2021 (so far) K1 million.
The total of K22 million I have received has been spent according to national government guidelines and in line with the Provincial Government Development Plan (2018-22).
I have decided to fund projects that will leave a lasting footprint that goes beyond my time in office, rather than spending the money just to impress anyone or voters.
Unfortunately because of the vastness of our province, K22 million is like a drop in the ocean.
It has been a daunting challenge for me to reach every community to spread K22 million worth of smiles.