Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP says the appointment of the Regional Member for Bougainville Peter Tsiamalili Jnr as Vice Minister for Bougainville Affairs is to continue the National Government's priority to ensure lasting peace and political settlement is reached on the Island.

PM Marape said this when witnessing the swearing in of Mr Tsiamalili as Vice Minister Assisting the PM on Bougainville Affairs by Governor General, Sir Bob Dadae at Government House on Tuesday (11/05/21).

Peter Tsiamalili Jnr was recently elected as the Regional Member for Bougainville.

PM Marape said Mr Tsiamalili Jnr is not new to the Public Service and political structure in Waigani.

“He has been head of the PNG Sports Foundation for a few terms but as he comes into Parliament as Regional Member for Bougainville he will be Vice Minister assisting me over overseeing Bougainville matters.

“As Prime Minister I have the portfolio of the Ministry of Bougainville Affairs, but I will be delegating all functions and care to him so we remain focused on what we need to do for Bougainville.

“We now are in an important stage of our consultation process with the people of Bougainville and the Autonomous Government of Bougainville and his exposure and his experience on both sides gives him the edge as Vice Minister for Bougainville going forward,” said the Prime Minister.

The appointment also comes at the back of the upcoming Post-Referendum consultations this month prior to the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) Meeting next month.

The ABG and PNG Technical Team comprising leaders and technical experts will meet in Kokopo, East New Britain province later this month for the Governmental Consultation process on agenda issues concerning the Post-Referendum consultations to be tabled before the JSB Meeting.

The JSB is scheduled to be held in Wabag, Enga Province next month where both Prime Minister Marape and ABG President, Ishmael Toroama including other senior leaders are expected to attend.

PM Marape has reiterated that the National Government has heard the voices of the Bougainvilleans, when the referendum results were presented to the Governor-General last year and that the two governments must now develop a roadmap that leads to lasting political settlement.

The Prime Minister’s commitment to ensuring the Bougainville Peace Agreement is implemented and the appointment of Peter Tsiamalili comes as the National Government and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have co-signed a Post-Referendum consultation project agreement to support the consultation process on the outcomes of the referendum.

The results of the referendum are non-binding, meaning the two governments will further consult and discuss and come up with a view that will be endorsed by the National Parliament.

Meanwhile, PM Marape told Media that there will be no Cabinet reshuffle in the meantime.

“There is no need for it but again it is performance based going forward and if a natural vacancy is created then of course there are many capable leaders in our Government stock today to fill any vacancies as a result of any reshuffle,” he said.

He said there have been 11 funded Parliamentary Secretaries or Vice Ministers positions and all have now been filled. The six newly appointed Vice Ministers are:

Bougainville Regional MP, Peter Tsiamalili Jnr as Minister Assisting PM on Bougainville Matters; Kairuku-Hiri MP, Peter Isoaimo as Vice Minister for Treasurer; Ijivitari MP, Richard Masere as Vice Minister assisting the PM on foreign investments to PNG; Angoram MP, Sailo Wapo as Vice Minister for Public Service; Kokopo MP, Emil Tammur Jnr comes in as Vice Minister for National Planning; and Rai Coast MP, Peter Sapia is Vice Minister for Mining.

PM Marape said some critics will argue on the appointments when the elections are around the corner, but eleven vice-ministerial portfolios have been always there and are funded positions.

He said two years ago his Pangu party lead team took over the former O’Neill regime, which was riddled with corruption, recklessness and was a careless government and his government is trying to fix all that in preparation for the major upcoming events like the Election 2022 and other key foreign economic investment programs despite the COVID-19 pandemic.