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Poverty rises as plans gather dust

By Grace Tiden PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 12, 2011) - Papua New Guinea (PNG) is very good in "planning for development" but has completely failed to actually implement development," said New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan.

Mr. Chan was speaking during the opening of the Consultative Implementation Monitoring Council NGI Regional Forum in Kavieng last week Thursday.

"We have an alphabet soup of agencies and committees and councils all devoted to either planning for development or monitoring how we are planning for development or to changing how we do development because the way we have been doing development has not been working," he said.

He said "but when it came to implementing development, PNG has completely failed".

The Governor made mention of the Medium Term Development Strategy (MTDS) for 1997 – 2002, the MTDS for 2005 – 2010 and the MTDS 2011- 2015, which he said were all the same. He quoted some of the goals including using the revenues from mining, petroleum and gas to improve the social and economic conditions of the people as well as reducing the level of poverty in Papua New Guinea and ensure that no Papua New Guineans are being left behind.

"We are saying the same things in 2011 that we said in 1997? Why is this? Very simply, it is because we have not done what we promised we would do," he said. "The MTDS have been farces and they have failed. They have more than failed. In many respects we are going backwards."

He said today poverty levels in PNG were higher than they were in 2005. In 2005, poverty levels were higher than they were in 2000. In 2000, they were higher than in 1995.

Sir Julius said millions of kina has been spent on Vision 2050. "They allocated 15 million kina [US$6.5 million] under a PIP program to "align" Vision 2050 with provincial and other development plans. What does this mean? It means they spend huge sums to travel around the country. They hire cars, spend time in hotels, and monopolize the time and resources of public servants, hold huge meetings in all parts of the country, all to ‘harmonize’ provincial plans with Vision 2050.

"This Government is spending obscene amounts of money on programmes that make no difference to the people of this country. I am not joking," he said.

The Governor said it was time to declare the Rights of all Papua New Guineans. "We in New Ireland have done so under the Malagan Declaration, and we will continue to do so," he said.

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