PNG Government commits to Bougainville issues

BUKA, 26 OCTOBER 2018 (POST COURIER) — Papua New Guinea Minister assisting the Prime Minister on Bougainville Affairs, Wiilliam Samb says the government will concentrate on sorting out all issues relating to Bougainville as soon as the APEC summit is over next month.

Addressing participants at the Central Bougainville Development Forum currently underway in Wakunai, Samb reaffirmed the national government’s commitment to the peace process and the upcoming referendum.

“The prime minister also reaffirmed this commitment to Bougainville to ABG President, John Momis at the special Joint Supervisory Body meeting recently in Port Moresby and clarified that due attention would be accorded to Bougainville issues after the end of the APEC meetings,” he said.

“The national government is fully committed to supporting restoration efforts and developing Bougainville despite criticisms and challenges faced in recent times between the ABG and PNG government. I am pleased to say we are making progress with the support of the ABG and all the Bougainville national MPs.

“We are also committed to ensuring the referendum time frame is met and all processes are fully followed according to the Bougainville Peace Agreement and other enabling laws,” Samb clarified.

He said with the issue of the questions to be put on the ballot paper now formalised as per the recent JSB meeting, the onus was now on the Bougainville Referendum Commission to create awareness and ensure people fully understand the questions to be put.

Samb also explained that outstanding projects like the Rigu to Toimanapu and Toimanapu to Kangu road upgrading projects would also be addressed by the national government.

“I also met with the management of the Buka General Hospital this week and have given an undertaking that the government will deal with their issues in its entirety,” he said.

Samb commended Central Bougainville MP, Sam Akoitai for facilitating the three-day development forum saying this encouraged the bottom-up planning approach and would ensure the people had a real say in the development of their electorate.

“It is vital that you have a people-driven plan and this forum is the best place as you have come to the level of the ordinary people to listen to their views and they can tell us their needs so we can plan accordingly,” he said.

Samb also spoke of the importance of aligning the development plan to the Vision 2050 plan to ensure uniformity.

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