Politics

East Sepik budget highlights | Allan Bird

ESP 2021 Budget HighlightsThe ESP team handed over our budget to the Treasurer on Tuesday the 16th of February after completing all the online input. The Budget had been passed by the Assembly three weeks prior.This is the largest budget ESPG has ever delivered. I presided over our first budget in 2018 which was K234.5m.

In 2021 our budget is K368.5m. This represents a net increase of K134m from 2018. I wish to place on record our gratitude to the Marape/Basil government for recognizing the improved performance of the ESP in the last 3 years and funding the necessary investments to see further growth in future years.For a province our size, we need a minimum K800m annual budget to effectively support services and development and that is the target we are working towards.

Our Recurrent Grant is K171,631,000 for 2021.When we include the 2020 rollover and Internal Revenue the total recurrent Budget is K230,544, 764.

The main increases are in teachers salaries and teachers leave fares (19%, K14.6m increase) and Agriculture production grant (79% K2.6m).

ESP Recurrent Budget Breakup is:

1. Education 50%, K115.2m

2. Infrastructure 23%, K52.2m

3. Administration 22% K50.3m

4. Agriculture Production 2.6% K5.9m

5. The balance is spent on Law and Order K1m, labor mobility K1m, former members K800,000, Women and Youth K600,000, Sports K550,000, Cultural activities K200,000, GBV/GESI K200,000.

Our PIP Budget sees the biggest increase as follows:

1. Provincial and District roads K54m

2. PSIP and DSIP K70m

3. New Administration Building K5m

4. PIP Rollover 2020 K9m Other PIP commitments by PM totaling K32m were not included in the budget ceiling but will be sorted out between ESPA and Treasury over the next few months.

Our budget revenue comes from the following sources:

National Government Grants K171,631,000

PIP K138,000,000

Rollover 2020, K34,090,764

Internal Revenue K24,823,000

Due to COVID19 our Internal Revenue has been reduced by K5m from last year. Our budget reform also includes a restructure of the Infrastructure Maintenance Grant with each LLG receiving K600,000 for Transport Infrastructure and Building Maintenance.

Each LLG in consultation with the DDA will nominate a maximum of 4 projects to maintain and complete by the end of the year. Some DDAs have decided to provide counterpart funding to the LLGs in the spirit of working together to improve outcomes. Amounts ranging from K200,000 to K500,000 have been allocated by some DDAs to their respective LLGs.

We commend Wewak DDA for allocating K500,000 to each LLG which is the largest amount. This is the first time ESPG has received such a significant PIP Budget particularly for feeder roads, bridges and culverts. As a result we will have significant implementation challenges. We will be seeking the services of a reputable engineering firm to help us with implementing these projects this year.

Our main challenge is to ensure that roads are built better so that they don’t collapse after 6 months.

So we will be paying attention to the construction materials and methods and the use of stabilizer materials in our roads.We will also be holding quarterly monitoring meetings to track implementation across all 28 LLGs and respective projects.

Once again, after 3 years of arguing on the floor and in caucus to change intergovernmental financing arrangements, I wish to go on record to commend our PM Hon James Marape for this very significant reform since independence to empower the Provincial Governments.

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