Australia to provide $50m to PNG churches
The end of OLIPPAC; back to musical chairs

Incompetent govt is cause of a failing PNG


WITHOUT AN effective public service, we will increasingly see PNG’s growing mineral boom frittered away with benefits unequally shared. This will mean minimal service delivery, especially outside Port Moresby.

It is clear the PNG government sector has lived well beyond its means for a decade or more. It is costly, grossly inefficient and largely ineffective. Many sections have been corrupted and deskilled.

To quote the Public Accounts Committee [PAC]:

“Systems of accounting and reporting in all government departments have collapsed under the gaze of the departments of Finance and Treasury, law enforcement agencies and Parliament with no attempt to stop the endless illegalities and incompetence.”

The recent exposé in the media of the PAC findings is simply breathtaking. It reveals incompetence and lack of accountability right throughout the machinery of government. In the latest round of PAC reports, covering 900 state agencies, only five made the grade. As the Chairman of the PAC stated:

“Of the hundreds of agencies we have examined, we can only find five that maintained proper, lawful, auditable and reliable financial information."

How are we going to provide education, aid posts, roads and other services, when the very machinery is incapable of basic delivery?

How are we going to progress the Nation if the Lands Department is assessed by the Committee in the following less than complimentary terms:

“Corruption and criminal collusion by senior managers is an accepted incident of the department's functioning”.

Sadly, these facts have been well known for over a decade. Currently the expenditure on salaries and wages within the public sector takes up approximately 45% of recurrent expenditure.

Many people look to the LNG project's tax receipts, believing the answer is to throw more money at problems. How wrong is that line of thinking?

Money has never been the root cause of the effectiveness or lack of effectiveness of the public service. Money has always been there, it has just been washed away through incompetence, corruption and lack of discipline.

The real solution to the public service is leadership and responsibility. Two key words sadly in short supply.


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Reginald Renagi

Carlos, you are so right. When people mention politicians in any form of discussion this can also encapsulate to mean the whole government system and likewise, it would also mean the involvement of the public service which includes public servants as well.

Let's hope the next transformational and progressive government totally overhauls the PNG public service by starting right from its roots up to its pinacles. Public Service means public trust, but alas we have lost that special trust and bond with our people. It is time a strong leader and an experienced labour force to be developed to achieved this ideal end-state in future.

Carlos Baraka

It'[s a paradox; no new government or people elected into the parliament will change the problem of corruption and the social evil in PNG.

I think the core of PNG problem lies with the functions and role of the public service. If the public service is well owned, managed, accountable and effective in its role, the issue of corruption and other social evils will be controlled, minimised and even eradicated.

Remember a politician will only get access to corrupt deals or practices when a public servant gives access. The public servants have no ethic of saying no to stand against the act of politicians because the public servants are corrupt.

Affairs in the political arena are administered by public servants, thus public servants can stop corruption or other social evils if our attention is on reforming and building a responsible public.

If we keep on blaming politicians and give no attention to public servants we will continue on facing the same problem.

Millions of kina have been misused by public servants but nothing has been said or and none of the public servants found to have committed crimes has been jailed.

So, for me, if we are to progress in a positive way, any new government elected should give ultimate attention to rebuilding the public service.

Reginald Renagi

The problem is so well known that even the man in the street is taking bets on who should or will be the next Prime Minister. The public clearly wants someone new to lead a very honest and transparent government in PNG.

The problem is many-faceted, but clearly it is bad leadership not to take responsibility and be accountable for every decision or action that affects the country.

To save PNG between now and the next elections, we need a change of leadership and some key reshuffles within the coalition.

Some major portfolios must be changed and departments overhauled to get some efficiency and effectiveness going. The whole political and bureaucratic machinery needs to be 'jump started' to move forward like a well-oiled machine.

The question is who is going to take charge and get the ball rolling? A good chance for Deputy PM Sir Puka Temu to do a Julia Gillard stunt. Is there a political saviour out there to throw down the gauntlet in parliament or better still as a direct challenge in a party caucus?

We just have to wait and see, as we only have six months to make some credible moves or suffer for two more years getting the same GIGO results in running the affairs of PNG.

What a life for the poor suffering people of PNG.

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