PNG Fails To Turn Resource Wealth Into Improved Living Standards

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Despite high growth rates, human development lagging: Minister

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 5, 2016) – Papua New Guinea has a serious problem of translating its mineral and hydro-carbon wealth to improving living standards, Rural Industries Council chairman Sir Brown Bai says.

Speaking at the 19th graduation of the University of Natural Resources and Environment last Thursday, Sir Brown said PNG’s social development performance had fallen short of expectations.

"Despite the unprecedented positive economic growth of more than 10 per cent in the last 10 years, and the resultant positive economic growth during the period of great mineral, petroleum and gas booms, the revenues have not translated to improvement in the country’s human development index."

Sir Brown said while PNG posted a growing economy of 9.2 per cent last year, which was regarded as one of the highest growth rates globally with a current GDP pricing of more than K4000 per annum, the country still lacked translating the wealth into improving living standards.

He said PNG’s index ranking by the United Nations had dropped from 128th from 175 countries in 1994 to 145th out of 179 in more recent times.

"The country’s low indexes reflect badly on its efforts to date and concerted effort is needed to uplift these poor development indexes; compare these with other Asia Pacific countries and this record is cause for concern and worry," Sir Brown told 172 graduating students, their teachers, parents and guests, including people from the surrounding communities.

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