Saturday, March 20, 2010

Failing public sector could derail equitable benefit sharing of the gas project

This Editorial - from the Nasfund newsletter -  is in dedication to five outstanding State agencies that give us hope that we can do it right.


  • Bank of Papua New Guinea
  • Institute of Public Administration
  • Alotau General Hospital
  • Goroka Base Hospital
  • Post PNG

 “The evidence we have shows that fiscal management and accountability have collapsed” – Timothy Bonga MP, Chairman Parliamentary Accounts Committee

Without an effective public service, we will increasingly see Papua New Guinea’s growing mineral boom being fritted away with the benefits unequally shared. This will mean minimal impact on service delivery, especially outside of Port Moresby.

It is clear that the PNG Government Sector has lived well beyond its means for a decade or more. It is costly, grossly inefficient and largely ineffective. Large sections have been corrupted and deskilled.  To quote the Public Accounts Committee (PAC)

“systems of accounting and reporting in all government departments have collapsed under the gaze of the departments of Finance and Treasury, law enforcement agencies and Parliament with no attempt to stop the endless illegalities and incompetence.”

The recent expose’ in the papers of the PAC findings are simply breath taking as to the incompetence and lack of accountability right throughout the machinery of government. In the latest round of PAC reports covering 900 state agencies only five made the grade. As the Chairman of the PAC stated

“Of the hundreds of agencies we have examined, we can only find five that maintained proper, lawful, auditable and reliable financial information. “

How are we going to provide education, aid posts, roads and other services, when the very machinery is incapable of basic delivery? How are we going to progress the Nation if the Lands Department is assessed by the Committee in the following less than complementary terms “Corruption and criminal collusion by senior managers is an accepted incident of the departments functioning”.

Sadly, the facts as being highlighted have been well known for over a decade. Currently the expenditure on salaries and wages within the public sector takes up approximately 45% of recurrent budget expenditure. Many look to the LNG project tax receipts as the solution, believing that the answer is just to throw more money at the problem. Sadly money has never been the root cause of the effectiveness or lack of effectiveness of the public service. Money has always been there, it has just been washed away through incompetence, corruption and lack of discipline. The real solution to the Public Service is leadership…and from that taking responsibility. Two key words sadly in short supply.


No comments:

Post a Comment