The 2019 kiap reunion
The view from down here

PNG must change its spending systems

Allan Bird
Governor Allan Bird - "Right now the only real check and balance is the individual"

| Governor, East Sepik Province

WEWAK - Our country is overrun with corruption because we do not have effective checks on power.

There is a complete lack of checks and balances in the system. In fact I would say that there aren’t any checks and balances at all.

We negotiate for an opportunity to spend money. Everyone spends public money, from the prime minister all the way to the local level government presidents, ward members and public servants.

Who checks on the provincial governments? No one.

Who checks on the district development authority? No one.

Who checks on the local level governments? No one.

Who checks on the national government? No one.

The only check and balance is the goodwill of those who are in those positions. We work on consensus.

We have consensus in parliament to spend money, we have consensus in the assembly to spend money, we have consensus in the development authority to spend money and we have consensus in the local level government to spend public money on projects we desire.

Right now the only real check and balance is the individual.

And if the individual feels he is doing the right thing, the nation is at the mercy of the individual in a position of power to negotiate his opportunity to spend public money.

We need strong mechanisms of checks and balances that will say ‘no’ to those spending money and jail them if they don’t comply.

Such a system does not exist in Papua New Guinea right now.


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