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Government official sees little progress in 35 years

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 8, 2009) – Thirty five years after independence and Papua New Guineans are far worse off than ever before because all plans and programs designed by governments over the years have failed to deliver the goods and services.

This is the blunt admission from none other than the Acting Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc yesterday at a press conference to announce the formulation of the National Strategic Plan – the new approach that is being taken to rectify the sad situation in PNG to ensure that the bulk of the rural people receive the services they deserve from the Government.

"We have been independent for over 35 years as a country and we have not fared well in terms of delivering services to our people. We have tried different models and plans to deliver services to our people and experiences have shown that we have not delivered."

Mr. Zurenuoc said people in the rural areas were still crying for the most basic of services and the situation had gone to a point where they were now saying "I can do without you."

"In fact there is total decline of services to our people but we just can’t go on trying forever. We have to do something," Zurenuoc said.

Last December, the National Strategic Plan was launched and this plan is aimed at bringing back the basic services to the people.

He said a National Planning Committee was established and this is headed by the Deputy Prime Minister Sir Puka Temu.

He said a National Task Force, headed by Professor David Kavanamur and membership comprised of some of PNG’s top and experienced professionals, was told to put together the plans and programs as to how PNG would address issues related to service delivery."For the first time in PNG, we are involving our very own people as consultants, these are experienced people who understand the problems and we know that this time, we will achieve the desired results," he said.

The task force has identified six major issues to be addressed and they are administrative and governance reforms, wealth creation, climate change and environment sustainability, human development, strategic planning and institutional development.

Zurenuoc said the PNG leaders summit next week in Lae would look at administrative and governance reforms and would involve senior public servants.

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