The National – Wednesday, June 15, 2011
By YVONNE HAIP
ONE of PNG’s biggest weaknesses is that people do not have many dreams and are content with what they have, an academic said.
“If the people have aspirations and furthered their education to the highest levels, all jobs will be localised and the government will not have to import human resource to work in the country,” University of PNG human resources Prof Pulapa Subba Rao said.
He said the country had all the resources to provide everything for its own use instead of importing.
He said PNG could make its own coffee for export instead of selling its coffee beans and later buying the products and it could make its own fruit juices with the fruits in the country.
Rao said logging, honey- making, and even beer-making were just some of the money-making opportunities that were overlooked and the government continued to spend by importing these products.
He was speaking during the Consultative Implementation Monitoring Council (CIMC) forum at Mt Hagen’s Highlander Hotel last Thursday.
People from all walks of life attended the two-day highlands development forum to discuss how to create greater employment opportunities.
CIMC executive officer Majorie Andrew said employment creation was not a government priority.
She said with a population of seven million and a stagnant formal employment market, youths, especially school leavers and those who did not attend school, were desperately seeking opportunities to make money to survive.
“The lack of income earning activities and unemployment has forced them to turn to undesirable activities to make ends meet,” she said.
She said it was important a strategic plan be devised now and such forums would help to bring this about.
In question and answer time, parents raised concerns that with the rising cost of living, subsistence farmers and unemployed could not afford to pay school fees.
They said the government was not interested in people as it was after the tax from “gold, oil and gas developers” and not training skilled people.
They were assured that education should be compulsory and free in a few years as it was one of the government’s plans.