THE Autonomous Bougainville Government continues to make headway in the lead up to the referendum on independence with the creation of the Bougainville Referendum Commission.
The signing of the agreement between the ABG and the PNG government took place in Port Moresby on Tuesday.
In this photo, you can see (left to right) ABG electoral commissioner George Manu and PNG electoral commissioner Patilias Gamato signing the agreement while ABG chief secretary Joseph Nobetau and PNG chief secretary Isaac Lupari look on.
The ABG delegation was led by Bouganville vice president and referendum minister Patrick Nisira and chief secretary Joseph Nobetau and all Bougainville’s national MPs were present except Louta Atoi.
Mr Nisira said the signing of the agreement between the two governments was an important step forward.
He gave his assurance of the ABG’s full support and respect of the independence of the commission.
However he reminded the parties at the signing that the independence of the Bougainville Referendum Commission does not mean it works separately from both governments.
“The two governments will continue to play a crucial role on agreeing the framework on important matters like the options available in the referendum, security and funding issues,” he said.
The Bougainville Referendum Commission needs about K20 million to begin operations.
National government chief secretary Isaac Lupari said that the Commission is a priority for the PNG government so funding will be sourced to cater for it to begin its operations.
The formation of the Bougainville Referendum Commission as an independent and impartial entity was agreed upon by the National Executive Council, the Bougainville Executive Council and the Attorney General.
The Charter enabling the Commission to operate as an independent inter-government agency will be signed by the Governor-General at a later date at which time the Commission will become operational.