I invite the Minister for Inter-Government Relations and Minister for National Planning to initiate moves to have a decentralised government system in Papua New Guinea.
It’s time to give citizens and their leaders more power to make decisions and manage their own land and resources.
The centralised system was set up during the colonial era where power or legal authority was exerted by the de facto political executive, and the minority (local authorities/landowners/etc) were considered subjects.
The general legislation was also designed to support the political executive to take control of the people’s land and resources and manage the income generated from their land. However, this has never worked to benefit the landowners and citizens as seen today where resource-rich provinces are lacking basic services.
So decentralisation is a response to the problems of centralised systems which have seen problems like economic decline, government inability to fund services and the general decline in the performance of overloaded services, the demands of minorities for a greater say in local governance, the general weakening of the legitimacy of the public sector and global and international pressures on countries with inefficient, undemocratic, and overly centralised systems.
This system certainly aims to give citizens or the elected members more power to influence the implementation of laws and policies.
This may require constitutional or statutory reforms, increased power for legislatures, the creation of local political units, and encouragement of advocacy groups. It has worked well for countries like the United States, France and the European Union and there is no doubt it can work for Papua New Guinea if done properly.