Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Things fall apart in Papua New Guinea since 1975

Papua New Guinea has declined in almost all indicators since 1975, according to the reputable Bertelsmann Transformation Index 2008.

Last year, the BTI compared the performance of 125 countries aspiring to achieve full democracy and a market economy, and PNG fared very poorly in its report card, which is now freely available on the internet (http://www.bertelsmann-transformation-index.de/).

The BTI is a global ranking of transition processes in which the state of democracy and market economic systems as well as the quality of political management in 125 transformation and developing countries are evaluated.

The BTI is a joint project of the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Centre for Applied Policy Research at Munich University in Germany.

The BTI noted that throughout the period of review, PNG made some progress in its political and economic transformation toward a more liberal democracy and market based economy, however, all these may come undone by these “deeply-rooted problems”.

“Positive developments include continuity in government leadership, economic recovery, sound economic policies, stability in the exchange rate, an increase in reserves, peace on Bougainville and some elements of stability in political parties,” BTI says.

“The country faces some deeply-rooted problems, however, that may impede the transformation process.

“The level of socioeconomic development is low.

“Per capita income is now actually lower than it was at the time of independence.

“The rule of law is still weak, corruption persists at the highest levels and there are continuing tensions between tribal groups.

“Ethnic or regional bias, gender discrimination, gridlock in politics, a deepening gap in income equality, and polarisation between the political leadership and the general populace do not allow for a sufficient degree of consensus-building or for institutional efficiency in the democratic system.

“The level of difficulty in governing a country like Papua New Guinea cannot be underestimated.

“Politicians are self-serving, and almost every socioeconomic indicator has declined since independence in 1975.

“Poor governance, endemic corruption, the lack of infrastructure, a small and unstable economy, aid dependency, low levels of education, ethnic conflicts and economic recession have all taken their toll on the country.

“The situation has become so bad that in recent years the country has been reported to be on ‘the brink of collapse’ and has regularly been referred to as a ‘failed state’.”

The BTI said that for PNG’s strategic outlook, although the country had some measure of political stability and had achieved economic growth, these gains were fragile and could easily be reversed.

“All key institutions, such as the parliament, the political executive, the bureaucracy and the private sector, are weak,” it added.

“In the dimension of democratic transformation, five major issues remain: political stability, corruption, electoral campaign reform, gender issues, and law and order.

“These issues have been discussed again and again, and all past reform programmes have either faltered or failed miserably.

“While there is political consensus between the elite and civil society to deal with these five major issues, the mechanisms to implement reforms are either too weak or are hijacked by vested interests.

“On the social front, the government must seriously tackle the problems of HIV/AIDS and income inequality.

“The HIV/AIDS epidemic has the potential to follow the African pattern, where the most-productive segment of the population is being wiped out.

“In major coffee plantations in the highlands, many of the workers are HIV-positive.

“HIV/AIDS is the now the leading cause of death at Port Moresby General Hospital.”


No comments:

Post a Comment