MAFest to avoid FOPA sham

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BY SAMIE WAIKORI

THE 6th Melanesian Arts Festival National Organising Committee vows not to repeat what happened after the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts, which was hosted by Solomon Islands in 2012.

The response was made when local media asked on outstanding claims still uttered by local contractors on their contributions to the development of infrastructure for the event.

Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Mr Andrew Nihopara, who is also the Chairman of MAFNOC, said this is one of the positive lessons they learnt from hosting FOPA in 2012.

Adding that to ensure the upcoming Melanesian festival is free from such issues, they are carefully working on necessary areas to avoid the issue.

Nihopara said the organising committee will look after the execution of plans for the festival.

“We want to streamline the level of bureaucracy of the committee, so that to avoid unnecessary decisions and ensure only responsible people within the committee to make decisions.

“We will execute all the capital expenditure projects will happen in preparation for the festival under the current government’s procurement.

“So, basically as the accountable officer, as PS for MCT and also chair to the committee, the whole process will follow what the procurement of Ministry of Finance and Treasury required.

“So things will go out in tender as the preparation for the festival looms,” he said.

Nihopara said that the 2012 FOPA happened before the Public Financial Management Act enacted.

“So it makes the procurement system at that time not subjected to the act, now we have the act in place which we will execute plan according to the requirement of the act.

“We are hoping that it will be a normal process of procurement that will help a lot.

“Again this is public money that we will be using so we will ensure all the use of the money to fall within the requirement of the Public Financial Management Act,” he said.

Nihopara pointed out that the importance of the forward plan is to properly plan the execution of the projects in appliance to the requirement.

“So we think we will manage it under the current requirement and of course to avoid any of the issues faced after FOPA in 2012 where lot of constructors remain unpaid.

“Because there were system put in place where approval to some of the things made down there without the consent of the PS.

“But for now the Public Financial Management Act is in place and will help us a lot in execution of the plans for the festive next year,” he said.

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