Alcohol a multi-sectoral problem

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday, April 27, 2011

TO address alcohol-related issues in the country, the government should seriously address the needs of all other sectors, Lae MP and Deputy Opposition leader Bart Philemon said yesterday.
“Economic growth is of no use unless the government gets its act together in all sectors,” he told the Lae leg of the countrywide Law and Justice Sector-organised alcohol symposium which aims at gauging the views of stakeholders.
He said many of social ills faced by ordinary citizens on a daily basis “is very much inter-related as all sectors are affected, and that concentrating on one particular sector and its issues will not work”.
The former finance minister who denounced the government’s poor handling of the nation’s wealth in the last Somare government, said “the ongoing bragging by the government of the nation’s economic growth is useless.”
He said PNG was regressing adding that the country had nine development plans, six of which were done after independence, and none of them had effectively delivered what they had promised.
“I am very cynical about government planning, I don’t believe in it, so all plans including the much talked about Vision 2050 won’t work,” he said.
He discouraged the idea of a separate ministry for alcohol similar to the one for HIV/AIDS.
“Ministries should be proportionate to the country size and population, I was previously against the idea of five new ministries, and am against this idea.”
SP Brewery business development manager Reg Monagi said alcohol abuse was a national issue and that all stakeholders and the government had to work with the industry.