Southern Governors Unite for Growth

By LUKE KAMA The National

GOVERNORS from the Southern region have agreed to work together and forge new partnerships to grow provincial economies and improve basic services to their people and the region.

Five governors from the region – Gulf’s Chris Haiveta, Northern’s Gary Juffa, Central’s Robert Agarobe, Western’s Toboi Awi Yoto, and acting Milne Bay Governor Tom Cameron and chairman of Motu-Koitabu Assembly Opao Udia met in Milne Bay this week and discussed issues and challenges affecting their provinces and the region.

Chairman of the Southern Regional Governors Conference and Gulf Governor Chris Haiveta told a media conference in Port Moresby yesterday that they were pleased to have such a meeting for the first and had fruitful discussions relating to growing provincial economies and improvement of services to the people.

“Our specific areas of concerns included provincial involvement in licensing and registration powers, public service management and provincial and local level government boundaries.

“We desire to have greater involvement in the process of licensing and registration of companies and activities which includes review of Tax Credit Schemes, Goods and Service Tax, dividends and other tax powers, including gaming and booking taxes,” Haiveta said.

He said the governors wanted to improve compliance by extending Tax Identification Numbers to other major transactions such as licensing.

“We all have agreed to increase provincial revenues because they are key to enhance delivery of basic services.

“We don’t want to depend on the national government because lack of internal revenue is the main reason why many of our people are unable to have good access to basic services because the provincial government needs money to do so,” Haiveta said.

Agarobe expressed satisfaction and reiterated that the Southern governors conference was “a very fruitful discussion” which the governor could collectively work on together to address shortfall in provincial revenues and enhance service delivery and developments.

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