KUNDIAWA – A hasty and imprudent decision by political leaders to pay members of the APEC joint security task forces an additional unbudgeted allowance of K300 will cost Papua New Guinean taxpayers nearly K31.5 million.
The recent demand by joint members of the armed forces for payment of outstanding APEC security operations allowance is in relation to an additional K300 allowances which they, members of the armed forces, claimed the government has not paid them.
This additional allowance was a commitment made by “political leaders” (names not released) to members of the security forces following their 30 November storming of national parliament.
In a Loop PNG report, APEC minister Justin Tkatchenko distanced himself from the issue saying it was up to the police commissioner Gary Baki to make sure members of the security forces were paid their allowances.
Following the Tkatchenko’s statement, Baki stated that, as far as he was concerned, “all allowances for members of the security forces engaged for APEC 2018 security operations have been paid”.
Baki explained he had requested K21 million for members of the security forces at a K200 daily allowance for each member for 18 days.
He claimed K10.8 million of this was paid on 21 November 2018 which was one day after the armed forces stormed the national parliament. He said the second and final payment was made a week later.
Baki further stated that what the members of the disciplinary forces were now claiming was the additional K300 which the “political leaders” had promised them after they stormed the national parliament.
The attack on parliament house was in relation to the non-payment of the K200 allowance. Those officers who had flown from outside Port Moresby had to travel back to their work locations and they wanted their payments before departing.
So, out of frustration, they invaded parliament house to force the government to pay them their K200 allowances immediately.
But to agree to pay rogue elements of the armed forces K300 extra after they had caused extensive damage worth millions of kina to the people’s house is totally absurdity. It is costing taxpayers an unbudgeted APEC expense of K31.5 million.
Was the additional K300 commitment done in the best interests of the country? Or was it more in the interests of the political leaders in question?
In my mind, the additional K300 allowance was a hasty, reckless and politically motivated appeasement freebee committed by prime minster Peter O’Neill to win favour from the armed forces.
But, in doing so, he has foolishly rendered the nation to ransom setting a very bad precedent for the future.
Now he has to find the money and fulfil his promise immediately or else another attack against parliament house or another government office by the armed forces might be in the offing.