DOUBTS ABOUT NEW "FREE LAND" SCHEME IN PNG

Editorial

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Aug. 19) - The Papua New Guinea government needs to spell out clearly how much "free land" is available for public servants and private sector employees to build their own homes.

How much government land is available in the National Capital District, Madang, Lae, Wewak, Goroka, Mount Hagen, Kokopo, Kimbe, Kavieng, Lorengau, Alotau, Mendi, Wabag, Vanimo, Kundiawa, Popondetta, Buka, Kerema, Daru, Kiunga and all district headquarters that the Government has identified for workers in both the public and the private sector to build their own homes?

Workers would want to know that and the process that they need to go through to secure their own portions. That process must be transparent and free from nepotism, favoritism, "wantokism" and all other signs of corruption.

Added to that is the issue of access to funding which needs to be clearly spelled out to the workers.

There is no question about the seriousness of the housing problem facing workers in all cities and towns around Papua New Guinea and the initiative announced by the Government through the Minister for Public Service Peter O’Neill is a positive step in addressing this acute problem.

But the Government will have to prove to the workers that it means business and that this announcement is not just another grand plan to please workers and will not have any tangible results.

It will be a shame if workers do not see the true results of this new initiative. The problems highlighted by O’Neill are real problems which can only be alleviated if workers and their families have better standards of housing to live.

While on this matter, O’Neill should give public servants an update on what has become of the much-publicized home ownership scheme for public servants funded through the Public Officers Superannuation Fund over the past years.

How many public servants have actually benefited from the scheme and is it still in existence?

August 19, 2003

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

 

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