BY ALFRED PAGEPITU & BARNABAS MANEBONA
THE Western province government has come under strong attack over lack of transparency in the progress of the province’s investment corporation (WPIC).
Premier Wayne Maepioh has however downplayed this, saying that financial statements for the WPIC are ready for audit.
Non-executive member Ramrakha Talasasa, MPA for Nusatupe ward, accuses Maepioh’s government of taking control of the WPIC. In doing so, Mr Talasasa alleges that the body has been allowed to become impotent.
Speaking in last week’s first assembly on the 2017-18 supplementary budget, Talasasa said WPIC is an entity that is owned by the province and has a board which includes members of the assembly.
“This composition provides the assembly the right to know where in terms of investment we are, or what the liquidity rations of the WPIC are.” But, he said, this is not the case.
“No report has been tabled in the assembly in the last four years, and no one seems to know how or where all the investment funds paid to WPIC have gone to.
“Is there enough cash flow to pay for the expected liabilities of WPIC? What is the return on investment in the last eight years?” he asks.
He questions whether the body has any investment opportunities at all, challenging the assembly to come up with options with which WPIC can be helped to realise its potential.
“How can the assembly assist in ensuring a public corporation such as WPIC realises its potential to diversify and expand and at the same time, be accountable for and transparent in its dealings?”
Premier Maepioh, speaking to Island Sun yesterday, says the province is waiting for the legal ordinance regarding WPIC, which is still with the Attorney General.
He said they are currently on the final touches of the WPIC ordinance to make it be governed properly.
They are also looking at the financial statements under preparation as they are looking forward to conduct the audit as soon as possible for the Assembly to look into.
“All the revised areas governing the body of WPIC are captured on the ordinance as we have already passed it. But there was a finding that the AG’s Chamber said needs good vetting through proper linking with other relevant acts to not breach with other acts in which it should be ready around May,” said Maepioh
“Currently it is on the process and is almost complete. When the ordinance is complete then we will give it back to the Assembly for blessing so that it becomes a legal entity governed by ordinance.”
Maepioh elaborated that in the absence of the ordinance, the authority is only mandated by policy with no ordinance governing as a backup of legal power.
Meanwhile, Maepioh also clarified that there is only one investment for WPIC and no other. And that is the investment at Noro for the rental of housings rented by Solomon Tuna.
“When they rent for these houses, they also ask for their repairs as well over which most of the money collected from the houses are only used back for maintenance.
“In terms of efficiency, we are trying to get to our new development plans but all our rentals seem to be only rotating for maintenance and so only little is saved to support our contribution to the province every month.
“Though we only have a short time now before elections, WPIC is one of the priorities that we want to put to a standard being approved by the people.”