Sunday, May 09, 2010

Papua New Guinea economy must be diversified



Papua New Guinea must diversify its economy. 

The government must plan now to look well beyond the "minerals boom" and target critical areas of renewable resource sectors of the country’s economy. 

The way to do it is we carefully analyse future patterns of economic growth and opportunity, and adapt innovative approaches to financing, building, operations and wealth creation for our people. 

More importantly; the government must be serious about diversifying our economy and put the whole nation to work, revitalising itself and industry (private sector). 

PNG has some of the world's richest natural resources.

The country's natural beauty, culture and lifestyle could make it a great place to live, work, visit and do business.

 Yet, since independence; successive governments at all levels have mismanaged our assets and squandered many good opportunities. 

The consequences are widespread and increasing unemployment (and under-employment), very-low incomes, a high-tax economy, substantial urban migration, below - standard services, and a big national debt.

I believe one of parliament's future objectives is to commit its full resources towards key areas of national concerns aimed at achieving sustainable development.

 Thus, a bipartisan approved growth plan is needed with clear broad-based strategies specifically targeted at certain critical areas to transform PNG into a prosperous, progressive and united country. 

Future development strategies must be periodically reviewed to specifically target areas that will sustainably grow our economy, create jobs and support small businesses. 

PNG is now well overdue in reforming its political system; get its economic fundamentals right and meaningfully reward people for working hard for their country. 

Most political parties have similar policies that can be juxtaposed and refined to ensure a viable growth framework including a range of key national issues crossing many portfolio areas. 

To incorporate this, the government must work really hard to create new job opportunities and put more money into the pockets of those who need it most.

An important future outcome now is placing great emphasis on our people getting more widely - distributed benefits from the development of their natural resources.

As part of PNG’s national security strategy of creating a stable and secure country, every citizen must be fully committed to re-build the whole nation.

A new more realistic vision is needed to deal with many problems by applying rational and intelligent policies to our traditional resource industries.

The government must now have a realistic plan and a new leadership approach to bring about a major change.

This strategy for change must critically target growth in small and medium business, tourism, informational technology, fishery, forest, marine and the agriculture sector industries. 

A good development plan should be rooted in solid economic fundamentals focused on promoting small business development, better economic infrastructure, innovative and product diversification, expanding trade, sustainable resource management, a healthy environment, a highly skilled workforce, a competitive, fair and broad-based tax system, and sound fiscal management.

 The country’s growth strategy must also strengthen government structures, and cabinet decision-making processes to make our government function more efficiently for its citizens. 

PNG's national security lies in her economic, scientific and technology base, albeit limited, and does not necessarily depend on her wealth alone. 

All economic development investment must be smart investments based on thorough strategic planning. 

Such planning must further encourage private investments by opening up new markets, and providing our people with affordable education and health – to mention a few.  

The world's pace of technological development has become so rapid that if we do not keep up in our awareness or knowledge are bound to miss the boat.

 This only results in a country losing the economic war without even fighting the enemy. 

In today's global business sense, by the time we realise we are in trouble it is too late to save ourselves.  We have no choice but save ourselves in a world shaped by globalisation and the information revolution. 

The new PNG leadership approach must be aware of this double-edged global threat. There are basically two options for the future: we adapt or die (highly uncompetitive). 

The winners will be those who capitalise quickly in the changing opportunities and the challenge for PNG is to move early and innovate often.

 I envisage the future to provide us with many windows of wealth opportunities for every citizen so we have to better plan to maximise PNG's future prospects of surviving a global economic war. 

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