Restoring fairness & social well-being in PNG
Is this a Papuan Pandora's box being opened?

It’s time our government planned for the future


WE HEAR and read in PNG’s newspapers, websites, radio and other media about our leaders being positive on our economic growth and political stability.

They claim “PNG is rich enough”, “PNG has a bright future”, “PNG’s economy is booming”, “PNG can withstand global economic crisis”, “PNG is better off with LNG” and “PNG has kina stability”.

But where’s the proof? Can PNG really withstand what is the continuing global economic crisis?

We know PNG has a big problem with its economy due to mismanagement and corrupt practices by greedy, arrogant and self-centered government leaders, MPs and bureaucrats in Waigani.

They may be called the “fat rat” burrowing in a Waigani café.

The leaders want the people of PNG to be optimistic, even though they actually know they have made the wrong economic decisions and while the most powerful economies in the world are facing financial problems.

PNG is no exception to this - and before too long we are going to feel the pinch of mismanaging those surplus funds in the government's trust accounts.

At the moment, what the government needs to do is invest more of its budget into creating capital goods, so PNG has the capacity to produce its own products and serve its six million plus population.

The export earnings from gold, copper, coffee, oil and gas may one day come to a stop or seriously reduce.

This will occur sooner rather than later if countries like America, Japan, China and Australia cut down their imports of raw materials from PNG because they face a further financial crisis and are forced to reduce spending.

When this happens, PNG will have regret but no hope.

The money will be gone and the economy will be unable to meet the ever increasing demands of the people.

This is the right time - when we have a boom in mining, oil and gas, timber and so on - for the government and the leaders to sit down and look for options to sustain this economy before it’s too late.


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Benjangopmin Kongop

Yes, we do have good policies and strategies but fail to implement them. Our leaders come good with words but fall short of actions.

We need to change this kind of attitude if we are to see changes come about. Share the resources equally and stop politicking please.

Reginald Renagi

PNG government planners must critically examine how well state institutional structures matches the desired capabilities of a professional credible minimum workforce.

Additionally, if we look at our present situation now, two clear conclusions are drawn. PNG's workforce is not reasonably well-matched to its overall strategic development situation, and to the range of future growth outcome milestones we must accomplish within any given future timeframe.

The plan must further look at the best ways of planning and funding a professional public sector to deliver goods and services right down to local levels of governments. It should argue for a completely workable political system complimented by an effective service delivery mechanism.

The Vision 2050 is PNG's key strategic planning document. It represents a stock-taking of our national strategic planning policy. To add value over time, it must have a dynamic start process that sets timely target guidelines for future sustainable development outcomes.

After years of haphazard planning by thirteen governments since independence, it is encouraging to see that the process for developing PNG's sustainable development 'white paper' is now well underway.

Reginald Renagi

PNG must look at core permanent features of its geography and domestic situation. In future, this will always shape our workforce and the tasks they carry out. Some key considerations are:

· Distances from major international markets;

· Strategic environment - our homeland is girthed by sea to the east with Solomon Islands and south with Australia, and a common western land border with Indonesia. Hence, our main strategic interests are held in common;

· Demography. We have a low but growing population, and proportionally small fiscal base. We can not afford a large public service nor incur any large public-cost factors. Therefore, our plan needs flexibility and professionalism will be needed if our workforce is to be properly trained, and adequately resourced to support future development goals; and

· National interests. The wide spread of our national interests, most of which are shared with other countries, and can only be pursued in a collective endeavour. Thus, collective security has been our basic national development posture for 33 years.

Following a "back to basics" philosophy, the Vision 2050 should look at possible achievable strategies and include a number of alternative approaches proposed in recent times.

Reginald Renagi

PNG's strategic environment poses many development challenges. The country is also facing varying levels of transnational issues with serious security implications which must be critically addressed.

Thus, priorities for our sustainable development of national capabilities must be driven principally by our future vision, mission and core values and guiding principles derived from our national constitution.

Careful planning of future development must ensure we have the right level and mix of state management capabilities necessary for national self-sufficiency and reliance over time.

PNG's development efforts must be at an appropriate level and can be economically sustained within national resources. This approach provides a rigorous, enduring basis for disciplined planning as our future strategic circumstances become more demanding.

PNG's Vision 2050 is a long term plan with a trajectory of 40 years. In that timeframe, PNG planners must also factor in forecasted future risks with appropriate hedging strategies included to minimize risks that may affect final outcomes.

The task for government planners is 'not easy' but to make certain that our strategic framework is comprehensive enough to cope with future contingencies, not yet discerned by the most far sighted analyst.

This puts a premium on our long term plan being fairly broad in concept and format, but flexible enough to periodically adapt to changing strategic circumstances over time. Hard policy choices must be made, as a matter of fiscal prudence and common sense.

Reginald Renagi

In order to develop a professional public service in future, the beauracracy must undergo a fundamental management structural and cultural change.

Government planners, therefore face a period of growing complexity and uncertainty. Some key factors of change are:

· Government modernization programs within the region;
· The future impact of economic interdependence and changing trade alignments on international relationships, and whether this will produce stability or new tensions;

· The economic dynamism of the Asian countries, while increasing the stability of the region, but also if sustained over the longer term, will bring changes in our relative national strength; and

· Continuing economic and social problems in the south-west pacific, and

· National aspirations for a better future quality of life and wellbeing.

In addition, through a process of economic reform and restructuring, PNG will become a more open and competitive market economy. To better achieve this, the private sector is expected to support future developmental efforts by governments.

Reginald Renagi

PNG now has a new long term future vision 2050 recently approved by the government. The long term plan framework charts PNG's future course for the next 40 years.

While several provincial governors raised relevant criticisms towards the whole government development approach in recent years, nevertheless, they also collectively gave their full support to the NSP framework for further adjustments before 2010.

This the governors also see how critical and important that we now properly plan PNG's future sustainable development in a more structured cost-efficient manner than before.

The key to formulating a sound national development policy lie with good strategic planning for the future. PNG must first and foremost, develop sound strategic planning mechanisms built into its overall strategic political and government planning systems. This discussion looks generally at how we need to approach this.

PNG's political and government strategy must be derived from a combination of factors, including the development of a highly professional and competent well equipped national workforce (both public and private sector). This future workforce must be shaped by a rigorous application of sound planning principals.

The lead-times for governments are either short (5 years) or long (beyond two term governments). Thus, strategic planning needs to look to both medium and long term, as well as our ongoing needs, to ensure that adjustments are made to cover uncertain ties, and risks that may emerge in future.

The government's first step is to promulgate a white paper for PNG's sustainable development. Here, the general direction of government's strategic plan must set out a national strategic policy and long term strategy plan for the next 20 years and beyond.

The present improved economic conditions must be maximized for PNG's long term growth and prosperity. This directly impinges upon future financial assumptions on which a "whole of government" approach taken including related forward planning considerations will be based.

Today there are significant challenges with our present political and government systems that must be critically addressed.

Reginald Renagi

The government has finally began to value the importance of long term planning as it just recently launched the 2050 Vision (40 year plan) and a 2030 national development plan (20 year plan).

How effectively it gets implemented is another thing.

Paul Oates

In the PNG newspaper 'The National' there is a report that there has been an initial triumph by local landowners in obtaining an injunction to try and prevent the dumping of five million tonnes of slurry waste from the Chinese Nickel mine (MCC) behind Madang into the pristine Basamuk Bay. This is only a temporary injunction however.

One would think that the PNG government, who clearly approves of this project, might start to take the issue seriously and have another look at the whole set up.

Not so! In the same article it reports: 'No Government or mineral resources authority officials were available for comments last night, but they are expected to join MCC in fighting the injunction.'

Yep! You can be rest assured that the ol' PNG 'gavaman' is backing the 'right side'. Pity the right side doesn't appear to the PNG people's side isn't it?

Hello! That's the PNG people, who with their families and descendants, have to live with their government's mistakes, ineptitude and worse.

Eh ya! Sori tumas. Telepon blong bus ibagarap pinis ya! Na husat igat sampela liklik samting blong mi a?

Paul Oates

Whatever happened to that wonderfully descriptive Tok Pisin expression of yesteryear, 'mumutim'?

The mumut in Tok Pisin, is a bush rat that, instead of attacking the visible top of the food plant in the garden, burrows into the side of the earthen mound and steals the kaukau unseen.

So has PNG's wealth been 'mumuted' away? It would seem so, if the analogy of the Waigani 'fat rat' holds true.

So who are these 'mumuts' anyway, and is there any way of stopping the process? While ever the current regime continues to protect them, the answer seems to be a resounding no.

Alas, the old and proven methodology of keeping a trained dog to protect the 'goodies' in the food garden seems to have fallen by the wayside.

Dok blong mipla ino istap na kain olsem bai mipla lus pinis nau a? Ol mumut bilong Waigani ibin kaikai ol samting bilong mipla na bai mipla hangre na bel hevi olsem.

Tasol sapos bihain bai yumi painin sampla dok, olsem dok bilong polis, na lainim em long painim ol displa nupla mumut bilong Waigani, emi bai yumi hamamas gen ya.

Translation: If we don't have a watchdog, we'll lose for sure. The Waigani mumuts will eat everything and leave us hungry and sad.

But if we can find some kind of dog, like a police dog, and set him on to the new Waigaini mumuts, we'll be happy again - KJ

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