Sunday, 12 March 2017

DSIP funds denial for Opposition MPs a great concern - MP told his people, "I am handicap, Government failed me!"

THE O'Neill-Dion Government has deprived of DSIP funds for Opposition MPs and thus his Lagaip-Porgera district has suffered, MP Nixon Mangape told a roaring crowd in his district at Sirunki Station on Friday (March 10). 

“Despite the challenges, I have delivered services which I can equivalent to little DSIP funds provided. 
“You people became a meat in the sandwich in the prolonged election petition I endured until last year when the case was thrown out in my favour,” he added. 

He also told the people his plan to split his district into two electorates shattered when the government failed to implement it. Currently the district has a population of over 250,000.

"But I am confident of comfortably retaining my seat to serve my second term in Parliament.

“Our Triumph Heritage Empowerment party was a second largest coalition party with 15 MPs. We helped form the O'Neill Government in 2012.

“The government promised splitting the Lagaip-Porgera district but failed. I will still push for it in the next government which we are confident of forming,” he said.

Mangape said the Opposition in which he being a member of was the best team ever since independence. 

He added that he was proud to serve the country from the left-hand side of Parliament to ensure PNG was run within the vicinity of laws, processes and procedures. 

“Our country has been run down by Prime Minister O’Neill and Cabinet. On behalf of you (people), I have done my part in the recent Vote of No-confidence to save it from sinking. Our other four Engan leaders were singing praises to someone who has obviously run this country down. 

“Were you concerned when our own Engan students became victim of the police shooting? 

Yes, we were. It is now time for us to change this rogue government. O’Neill had the number so he survived the Vote of No-confidence. Now is the time for us to remove him. Your future has been tied down to the heavy loans that O'Neill has incurred during his term. This nation’s future has been traded,” he warned a cheering crowd.

Meanwhile, the Lagaip-Porgera MP has committed K100, 000 to Sirunki orchid farmers association.
Lagaip-Porgera MP Nixon Mangape addressing the crowd in Surinki Station about the O'Neill-Government's denial of DSIP funds for the district. Image: PNG Opposition Media Unit. 
Seeking legal opinion about DSIP denial 
Another example of such is Bulolo MP and Deputy Opposition leader Sam Basil in January 2014 who decided to sue the Government and Finance Minister Honorable James Marape of a reformatory remarks in Parliament about the DSIP funds. 

His Lawyers filed the case at the supreme court and later mentioned for hearing. The result is unknown to date.

"As a direct result of the discriminatory and politically motivated delay tactics of the Government in delaying the release of DSIP funds for the District, my people had suffered set- backs in the delivery of basic Government services," Basil said. 

The people of Bulolo District had suffered at the hands of the Prime Minister and his Financial Ambassador,Mr. James Marape who had come down very low and had leveled personal attacks on me for being vocal and speaking against the Government, Mr Basil said.

DSG and the DSIP funds are required under Section 95A of the Organic Law on Provincial and Local-Level Governments to be paid directly to the District Treasuries.
Bulolo MP Sam Basil on DSIP funds. Image: Google.
DSIP funds a catch to retain numbers in Government
DSIP monies being paid on the eve of Vote of No-confidence. Radio NZ reported in July 2016 that each MPs were paid K3-million to remain in the Government.
In previous years, there used to be sizable numbers on both sides of the Parliament and debates were usually heated.

But now that money matters for MPs, where less than ten MPs are in the Opposition while the rest are packed into the Government.

At one stage, only one MP was in the Opposition — former Opposition Leader Belden Namah.

A previous government made amendments to laws governing the DSIP/PSIP funds and one of its impact is the reduction in numbers of members on the Opposition’s bench. Even if the Government is corrupt, MPs still wanted to remain in league just for the sake of their district and provincial funds,

The DSIP funds of K15 million per year is the catch. In one term of Parliament, the total is K50m for one MP. The Government should not use the DSIP/PSIP funds for political number games.

MPs are jumping into the ruling party or Government because if they do not deliver any services to the electorate, their chances of returning for a second term hangs in the air.

DSIP/PSIP funds are becoming the MPs’ lifeline in PNG politics.

Government should unleash the chain around MPs necks by making regular payments of DSIP/PSIP funds into district and provincial treasuries regardless of which side of Parliament MPs sit in.

Instead, the Government is directly manipulating what rightfully belongs to the people to keep itself in power and control.

If the DSIP/PSIP funds are kept away from the floor of the Parliament, the former glory days of the Opposition will re-emerge.
Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and his government minsters. Image: PNG Loop. 

Meanwhile, a political scientist says the District Services Improvement Programme (DSIP) has been politicized – with the large number of MPs joining Government to access public resources such as its funding.
National Research Institute’s political scientist Dr Ray Anere said DSIP funds were at the disposal of Open MPs “to use according to their district development plans and priorities”.

“The DSIP funds have earned themselves a characterization in the sense that they’ve been used as a political tool to lure and attract members of the coalition who were part of it at the start of the Government after the 2012 general election to continue to stay,” he said.

He said it was used as tool to attract and to lure Opposition MPs “who saw the compelling need to provide services to their electorates and the immense significance of having access to DSIP funds”.

However, he said the DSIP had become a tool of service delivery on the part of MPs.

It applies to governors in terms of Public Services Improvement Programme funds. Anere said the impact of politicizing DSIP applied to the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates.

“Every time an MP moves from the opposition or a party and joins Government or a coalition party, there are implications of whether there is compliance with the OLIPPAC.”

Anere said apart from accessing DSIP funding, other opportunities could arise if they joined Government, including the possibility of becoming a vice-minister or even a minister.
Don Polye, Nixon Mangape and other Engan Leaders in Surinki, Enga Province. Image: Opposition Leader Media Unit.


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