Community advocacy organization ACT NOW! is today launching a new website, www.ddawatch.org to promote transparency and accountability in how government funds are used across all 94 Districts in Papua New Guinea.
The DDA Watch website will provide the general public, officials and academics with impartial and non-partisan information on the work of each District Development Authority, with the ultimate aim of helping to improve the quality of local infrastructure and service delivery.
District Development Authorities - or DDAs - were created in 2014 and this year will be responsible for spending almost K2 billion in government grants, but ACT NOW! says there is very little information available to the public on how those taxpayer monies are used.
“Since the DDAs were created they have become a bit of a financial black hole” says ACT NOW Campaign Manager Eddie Tanago.
“Every year the government has poured more and more money into the Authorities but the information on how the money is spent is almost impossible to find”.
ACT NOW! says that institutions like the Department of Implementation and Rural Development (DIRD) and the Auditor General struggle to track and verify the spending because of the sheer number of Districts involved and the lack of easy access.
The districts also struggle to maintain effective communication and provide access to information.
These ACT NOW! says are areas where the new website will help them.
“DDA Watch will help the Districts to inform their constituents about their projects, plans and spending and will allow officials to see who is doing a good job and where support might need to be targeted”, says Mr Tanago.
The website will provide contact details for each DDA and allow the Authority’s to make available copies of their development plans, annual budgets and acquittal and inspection reports.
There will also be links to news stories concerning each DDA and its funded projects.
The website will also encourage public participation in the democratic process through social auditing.
The website will allow the public to score the performance of their DDA and to submit comments and photographs on local District projects.
Each DDA will be scored and ranked according to the amount of publicly available information about its work and the views of its constituents.
Each DDA will score a maximum of 70 points if its contact information is up to date and it provides copies of its current development plan, annual budget, acquittal report, a DIRD inspection report and audit report.
Up to 30 points will be awarded to each DDA according to the satisfaction scores submitted by the public, but users will not be able to submit a rating for more than one DDA and will not be able to vote multiple times. Users identities will be kept confidential and their contact information will not be used for any other purpose.
ACT NOW! is emphasizing the website will be completely politically neutral and the information about each District Authority will be presented without any bias, favor or discrimination.
The DDA Watch website is completely free to access and has been being funded through public donations - which can be made here www.ddawatch.org/donate.
For interview purposes relating to this statement, please feel free to contact ACT NOW!’s Campaign Manager, Eddie Tanago on (675) 76296570 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org