Monday, December 01, 2008

University of Vudal VC attacks bureaucratic red tape

University of Vudal Vice Chancellor Professor Philip Siaguru launched a savage attack on bureaucratic red tape at the university graduation last Friday.

In a no-holds barred speech, he said that while universities in the country were focused on the production of manpower to develop Papua New Guinea, they continued to fight an uphill battle against bureaucrats in Waigani.

Vudal is a case in point, as earlier this year, the Chinese government spent K23 million to build seven dormitories (pictured above) and 20 houses, however, have not been occupied because the PNG government has not reciprocated by releasing K1.2m for beds and wardrobes for the dormitories.

“The problem lies in the corridors of Vulupindi Haus,” Prof Siaguru said.

“Our country is seriously suffering from what I call ‘governance deficiency syndrome’.

“There are many unnoticed symptoms, however, the eight common ones are:

  • Sunken eyes every day from hangovers;
  • Getting to the office at 10am every morning;
  • Leaving the office at lunchtime;
  • Backchatting and calling it a meeting;
  • Cancelling meetings with CEOs from other organisations outside Port Moresby willy nilly;
  • Forgetfulness and misplacing files and letters;
  • Applying procedures to create a wall when a clear ‘no’ answer would have been constructive.
  • On fortnights, weekends begin on Thursdays.

“That is how and why we are starving this nation of growth, development, resource sharing and progress, and our politicians are wondering why this nation is not delivering services.

“The old guard, in the likes of Sir John Guise, Sir Albert Maori Kiki, Sir Vincent Eri, Sir Tei Abal, and Sir Alkan Tololo were nation builders.

“They were men who had strong principles and high governance ethics.

“They believed in their beloved Papua New Guinea and guided it with firm principles of honesty and integrity

“They were taught and mentored by an order of disciplined colonial masters in government and churches who believed in meeting appointments and taking instructions from the boss.”

Prof Siaguru said in February this year, Planning Minister Paul Tienstein promised and delivered a dummy cheque “taller than myself” for K1.2m.

“This was to facilitate for beds and wardrobes for the dormitories,” he said.

“I have been given the merry-go-round by Departments of National Planning and Treasury since March, and my final year students are graduating now without sleeping in those dormitories yet.

“I was told to work with the Department of Works in Kokopo to organise a certificate of expediency to get the money to be released.

“I did.

“When I went to Moresby with the certificate of expedience, I was referred to Central Supply and Tenders Board and sent back to Treasury.

“I went to Treasury was told that it was not ethical to engage two government ministries.

“The involvement of Planning was sufficient, so they cancelled a 23-page document I had prepared showing all the quotations and justifications and referred me back to Planning.

“So I went to Planning and advised them of the information I picked up from Treasury.

“While walking back and forth and feeling very, very small in the powerful ‘governance deficiency’ corridors of Waigani, fortunately, I met the Honorable Minister Paul Tienstein in the hallway.

“The Minister had 15 minutes to spare and quickly called his Departmental Secretary for a meeting.

“In that meeting, we finally agreed that the K700, 000 balance would be included in the supplementary budget.

“The August supplementary budget has come and went.

“No money was allocated.

“I have since phoned up; they now say it will come from education rehabilitation.”

Prof Siaguru said the dormitories were still standing, and at the Kerevat National High School graduation recently, another K3.4m was promised by Planning for Vudal, however, nothing had been forthcoming.

“Unless we change the public service system and structure, this country will not come out of the ‘governance deficiency syndrome’,” he said.

“The overall management of the public service is sick and really needs a complete overhaul.

“It is like a cancer that is chronic and is already at an advanced stage.

“It cannot be operated on; it must receive external radiotheraphy or internal chemotherapy.”

Prof Siaguru called on graduating students to make a change from this status quo and take a turn for the better.

“If you do not stand up to be counted, the generation after you, your children, will live in a country that is corrupt, lazy, tired and greedy,” he said.


  1. Anonymous11:11 AM

    I certainly appreciate Professor Philip Siaguru comments and take my hat off to him for speaking up however I wander how well Vudal itself would fare if put under the Administrative and Bureaucratic inefficiencies looking glass.

    I have noticed all too often in PNG how folks point the finger of blame at someone else when addressing inefficiency issues within their own yards.

    As they say: "For the world to change - I must change first". In other words get your own house in order first. This very much applies to PNG's current challenges.

    The cause and source of these types of issues don't lie with anyone person, group or organisation but are inherent in the way PNG folks interact ans communicate between themselves.


  2. Hi Robert,

    Professor Siaguru's comments received a lot of support today, except from public servants, who are one of the biggest single liabilities to this country.