PNG Post-Courier PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (May 20, 2010) – The Government is mightily pleased it has mustered the numbers of ram through vital changes it had sought.

Principally, these are to increase the size of the National Executive Council by five to 32, and to keep provincial electorates instead of dropping them at the elections.

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare praised members for supporting the two measures, saying about the ministry enlargement: "PNG has grown considerably since independence. And the responsibilities of cabinet ministers have also greatly increased. Apart from National Government duties, such as attending parliament and presiding over their ministries, ministers also have to carry out their electoral duties."

He says the new ministerial appointments will be announced as soon as the current Parliament sitting rises. That’s a wise move, politically, because there will be many who miss out on the plum new jobs. Announcing the new appointments at that time will give the Government a breather.

We have big reservations about this amendment to the law. Each minister has a vast bureaucracy at his/her disposal to have all the ground work done for plans and proposals. Many of the ministries also have a vice minister to delegate work to.

How many politicians do we need for six million people with nearly half holding the title of minister or vice minister?

Don’t forget, all of them have substantial salaries and feed from the public trough for their accommodation and travel expenses.

Perhaps we will need an extra executive jet or a bigger one to keep all of the chiefs and their entourages happy soon?

Are we trying to spend our government’s share of the LNG oceans of money before the pipeline is even started or a smell of gas compressed for shipping overseas?

While hundreds of ex-soldiers are left waiting for their payments, should we continue to spend our national funds so freely on ‘more ministers’? While tens of thousands of citizens wait vainly for the National Housing Corporation to help them with their accommodation woes in our cities, while the millions in the rural areas wait for their formerly useful roads and bridges to be fixed, can we afford to let more politicians step up to the trough for more slops at our expense?

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