By WATSON GABANA
MOST political powers will soon be transferred from Waigani to Buka as the Autonomous Region of Bougainville prepares for the 2015 referendum.
Acting Director of the National Coordination office for Bougainville Affairs, Ellison Towallom revealed this when addressing members of media organizations at the March Girls Resort outside Port Moresby last Friday.
"As we prepare for the referendum in 2015, the National Government and Autonomous Government of Bougainville are collaborating for immediate transfer of identified functions under the Bougainville Peace Agreement. This is well underway," Mr. Towallom said.
He said that eight government departments including Fisheries, Agriculture, Forestry, Education, Transport, Works and Mining/Petroleum & Gas and other inherited powers like Local Level Government and Provincial Affairs are slowly moving into the hands of the Bougainvillians.
The acting director said most of the departments are collaborating with the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) to establish their presence on Bougainville.
He however highlighted lack of human resources and financial capacity as the immediate impediments.
"We don't have enough human resources and money right now. The National Government is responsible for this," Mr. Towallom said.
He also confirmed that after March 2010, the national government would implement some of the major impact projects throughout the region. This include construction of K100 million worth of bridges under the JICA program, sealing portions of road between Kokopau and Arawa, establishment of an Oil Palm estate in Torokina and building of border surveillance posts in Sirowai, Kangu and Tasman.
"Border posts are planned to be erected in Kangu, Tasman and Sirowai to monitor illegal fishing activities and movement of people between Solomon Islands and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. This is one of the impact projects identified," the acting director said.
"There hasn't been any control at the south/west corridor. People have been moving here and there willingly. We need to control illegal fishing activities by our Northern neighbors and movement of people between Solomon Islands and Bougainville," he said.
The Joint Information Strategy was also launched to promote better understanding of the Bougainville Peace Agreement between the National Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government. The JIS spells out the processes and protocals in the disemination of information on the implemention of the peace process.
The JIS was formulated to maintain the Bougainville Peace Agreement, keep the National Government and AGB within the Bougainville and the National Constitutions, aid the Bougainville election to achieve democratic outcomes and to ensure that referendum is achieve equitably and fairly in 2015.
Director of Law and Justice Sector and chairman of the PNG Media Council, Joe Kanekane launched the strategy on behalf of the acting chief secretary, Manasupe Zurenuoc.
"It is critical for the media to understand the Peace process so we can report clearly," he said.
He urged the Journalists to put the people's interest before theirs and report responsively.
"The referendum and even the election in Bougainville next month is very critical. Special treatment and care should be taken by the Jounalists," Mr. Kanekane said.
The implementation of the JIS will be jointly funded by the people and governments of New Zealand and Australia to the value of K8 million.