Sunday, June 27, 2010

Stop the aid and start the trade


Reginald Renagi has previously commented about the need to promote trade between Papua New Guinea  and Australia. Others in PNG have also commented on the need to promote trade in order that PNG businesses are encouraged to be developed and expanded.
If the half billion in next year's overseas aid were to be used to assist and encourage PNG products to be sold in Australia, it would go along way in helping to stop the current aid dependency that has built up over the last 30 odd years. PNG products could be assisted with a 'most favoured nation' clause that could pay for a subsidy on the product price at point of sale in Australia. This subsidy could be set on a diminishing scale with a guaranteed sunset clause in say five years, after the PNG business has been established and the consumer demand has been proven.
In an address to the PNG Parliament, past PM Sir Julius Chan said: "Are you blind?  You call yourselves developed?  And yet you provide funds year after year to no effect!"
At the same time, East Timor's President Jose Ramos-Horta says "AUSTRALIAN aid to East Timor has had "no impact" on the lives of the (East Timorese) people."
The Australian government must make some tough decisions about what our future relationship is with PNG. A 'partnership' or 'donor and dependency'.
The choice is not only clear but urgently in need of a decision.
Part of a speech by Sir Julius Chan to the PNG Parliament:
An address to Parliament by SIR JULIUS CHAN
Wednesday June 23, 2010

"There comes a time when you have to tell the Government of Papua New Guinea that you will not continue to pump in billions - billions! - of Australian or US dollars to a country where the maternal mortality rate has not dropped for twenty years.
Are you blind?  You call yourselves developed?  And yet you provide funds year after year to no effect!
And shame on Papua New Guinea if we do not learn from the experience of the most advanced country in the world.
So today, I only want to say one thing.  Development is not a matter of the rate of growth of the economy.  Development is not a matter of fiscal flows.
Development is only real if the lives of the people in the villages of this country improve.  In the past 20 years, the lives of the grassroots people have not improved, despite the billions of kina of wealth generated from their land.
This cannot continue.  And I ask all foreign investors to consider this.  It is a sad truth that the government of this country is not - is not looking out for the people of this country.  I ask all our international partners to recognise this.  Please!  Recognise this.  And help those of us who are tired of "business as usual" to force government to force government to do what it should do.  Improve the lives of our people..Protect the young and those yet unborn."

President Jose Ramos-Horta decade of East Timor aid has no impact on lives

of people
From: AAP
June 23, 2010 6:02PM

AUSTRALIAN aid to East Timor has had "no impact" on the lives of the people,
East Timor's President Jose Ramos-Horta says.

But he's asked for the aid to continue, saying he's optimistic about a fresh approach to development assistance. Australia will give just over $100 million in aid next financial year to
East Timor.
"There is a general sense that over the past 10 years, and that's not only in relation to Australian aid money but UN, World Bank and the European, Japanese, US money, that has had no impact on transforming the lives of the people," Dr Ramos Horta said at a joint press conference with Kevin Rudd at Parliament House.
"In the past, Australian aid money was a lot, but was all over the place - 20, 30 different areas of support."
Dr Ramos Horta said Australia had reviewed its aid strategy and would focus on four or five critical areas, an approach he was very pleased with.
The Prime Minister said Dr Ramos Horta was right.
"In the past, I think, Australia's development assistance program was too scattergun," he told the press conference.
Mr Rudd said he was aware of the problems with aid and the government was trying to improve the situation.
There has also been criticism of Australia's aid programme s in countries such as Papua New Guinea, with accusations not enough of the money gets through to the people who need it, going instead on consultants and training.
To mark Dr Ramos Horta's visit, Mr Rudd announced Australia would fund five university scholarships to commemorate the East Timorese who showed solidarity with Australian "sparrow force" troops during World War II.
A programme  that puts medical specialists in Dili National Hospital will be funded until 2012, while $12 million will be spent on improving rural water and sanitation.
There is more money for a "Seeds of Life" programme, which gives seeds to East Timor's farmers, and for another programme that pays for financial services for people in poor, rural areas.
Australia will also pay for nine prefabricated buildings for East Timor's defence forces, and give almost $1 million to manage infectious diseases.

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