PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Oct. 30) – The Julian Moti saga has brought to the surface a more fundamental issue about the way Papua New Guinea is being managed by our political leaders and top public servants.

That fundamental issue is what is called "Good Governance". It is the language of all international organisations and governments which are called "Friends of Papua New Guinea" and who pour millions of kina into this country each year to help raise the standard of living and quality of life of Papua New Guineans.

Australia pours in millions of kina annually to help Papua New Guinea and has now publicly stated that its aid is not tied to the issue of good governance. The World Bank has been urging PNG and other countries for many years to deal decisively with the issue of good governance if they are to reduce poverty and raise the standard of living of their citizens. The European Union and all other donor funding agencies and nations are saying similar things about their aid and support for PNG.

The stand off between PNG and the Solomon Islands and the Australian Government is about good governance, or the lack of it in the two Melanesian countries. It is a stand that has angered Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare of the Solomon Islands.

Put the Moti case aside and just look at the issue of good governance as it affects PNG. When the Somare Government came into office in 2002, it made good governance one of the pillars of its national development policy. Good governance in the area of financial management is one of the most important factors of ensuring the scarce resources of the nation are properly spent to benefit the largest number of Papua New Guineans. It is the key to the way the PNG Government conducts its affairs.

But it extends beyond that. It is about following the correct procedures and laws in implementing the policies of the Government. It is about ensuring that at all levels of government and public service, there is no abuse, misuse, misappropriation or outright theft of funds, resources, assets of the nation.

Let’s not keep saying we have no problems with good governance; let’s turn the mirror on ourselves and take a hard look at ourselves and our own performance to date.

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