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Development not yet as we want, says Charles Abel

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

Hon Charles AbelPAPUA NEW GUINEA is seeking more strategic and responsible planning and budgeting for a future sustainable economy.

This was the message from PNG’s planning minister, Charles Abel, as he welcomed a team of Pacific planning, budgeting and aid delivery experts in Port Moresby to review development coordination.

Mr Abel highlighted political stability as extremely important in building a sustainable economy, noting the recently concluded PNG election.

“We are trying to improve our development efforts through the translation of our planning processes and policies into more effective budgets and delivery of development to our people, particularly in the rural areas,” he said.

“The 2013 budget, currently being developed, is expected to reflect that sort of consciousness.”

Mr Abel added that the development challenges faced by PNG relate to delivery mechanisms.

“Development is just not translating the way we would like,” he said. “One of the approaches we’re supporting is pushing the funding to lower levels of government – local and provincial - to move the funding back to the people.

“We want to meaningfully support this decentralisation theme that we’ve been talking about for some time.

“This will involve the national government’s role shifting to support that process through monitoring and evaluation and capacity building rather than trying to manage funds up here in Port Moresby.

“We’re trying very hard through various means, such as anticorruption measures, to stop the leakages from the system. How we improve that mechanism and how we improve the financial guidelines and procurement processes will be very important as we empower the districts and provinces.”


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Mrs Barbara Short

Yes, I agree, the "delivery mechanism" seems to have been at fault.

Money is allocated to some project but the project doesn't get completed. Why? Tenders were not called or the contract did not go to the company with the best tender.

Or the company did not know how to do the job they were required to do. The government officials etc all asked for 10%.

Very little of the original grant eventually was used to do the job. There was no follow up inspection by people trained and qualified to inspect.

The country needs some experts to explain, expose, whatever, all the things that are now taking place which are really forms of corruption.

They seem to be so commonplace that people no longer think of them as corruption. They accept them as "local custom" or the "done thing".

AusAID has to be more careful with its aid money to see that the money does get used for its original purpose.

I guess money can disappear just as easily at the "local provincial level" as in Port Moresby.

The financial guidelines need to be foolproof. There need to be inspectors, checks and double checks, to ensure that the money is used wisely.

The country needs some form of ICAC where "corruption criminals" can be tried and, if found guilty, punished by being sent to prison. White collar crime has to be prosecuted.

If the country is going to borrow K6 billion from the Chinese, what a huge amount of money could "disappear into thin air" if protective measures are not put in place first.

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