Chief Secretary to the Autonomous Bougainville Government, Joseph Nobetau today released the latest quarterly update report on the public service.
The report notes a number of areas where the public service has made progress. These include:
- Referendum preparations, including the question, the voting criteria, awareness and establishment of the BRC;
- Continued efforts to address peace and stability, including work on weapons disposal, reconciliation and dialogue with national and international partners;
- Public sector reform, including work to align priorities to the Strategic Development Plan, establishment of the Policy and Planning Unit, and proposals to restructure current departmental arrangements;
- Work to promote good governance, including progressing the finalisation of experts reports for the Second Joint Review of Autonomy Arrangements, reform of the SMC and the promotion of best practice;
- Initiatives to enhance economic development, investment, taxation reform and management of government owned businesses;
- Work to address corruption, including audits, investigations, referrals to the Ombudsman Commission, the BSAC and the police;
- Strengthened engagement with our key partners; and
- Enhanced support to District offices.
Nevertheless, the Chief Secretary noted that a number of challenges remain. These include the need to strengthen institutional linkages, ongoing funding constraints and the need for more effective evidenced based policy development and planning.
“The ABG Public Service has made some good progress, and I am pleased to see this. However, the fact is that the public service needs to be more responsive to government, more strategically focused on service delivery and more accountable to the people of Bougainville”, the Chief Secretary said.
A key focus over the coming six months will be supporting the referendum on Bougainville’s long-term political future which is scheduled to take place in June of next year.
“We must ensure that both the National Government and the ABG are engaged in the referendum process and supporting the Bougainville Referendum Commission to do its job”, Mr Nobetau said.
Mr Nobetau also noted the need for continued engagement with the National Government on constitutionally guaranteed grants and other aspects associated with the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
“Without funding it is not possible to deliver on the key priorities of the Government. It is essential that the issue of arrears owed under the Restoration and Development Grant be resolved as soon as possible”, the Chief Secretary said.
These issues, and others, will be considered when the Joint Supervisory Body next meets in January of next year.
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