The National, Friday October 11th, 2013
ONE of the key issues at stake in the development of PNG is the collapse of service delivery systems and processes within the government.
After 38 years of independence, there is very little or no progress in most of the rural areas.
So many rational and strategic planning, with workable policies, have been developed over the years to implement tangible development at the local level government (LLG) level, but there is very little practical and realistic output from these policies to date.
The 1995 Organic Law on Provincial and LLGs (OLPLLG) provided a three-tier system of the government to operate in a united fashion, with each complementing and reinforcing the other.
The third tier has been the neglected level. There has been very slow progress in service delivery at LLG and ward levels.
I believe that the provincial and district levels have not seriously embarked on the functions and processes of the LLG level in that it is still not very clear to many political members and the administration staff of districts and LLGs as to what government outcomes and functions are expected from them to enforce development at the ward or village level after government reforms in 1995.
District administrations, through the reforms, have been entrusted with financial and administrative powers and capacity in which the organisation, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of the GoPNG development programmes and policies are being delegated.
There are many reform initiatives developed by GoPNG to accelerate services delivery at the district and LLG levels, but the main blockage to the implementation of these programmes is the lack of capacity and technical know-how to utilise the funds.
A classic example is the K10 million DSIP funds given to all districts, which have been increased to K14 million.
Do we have the capacity at the district and LLG levels to fully tie-up these substantial amounts into development projects every year?
It is apparent that there is a breakdown of the systems approach and lack of knowledge in the district and LLG administrations where programme management, procurement, monitoring and evaluation are concerned.
Moreover, very important documents such as ward profiles, ward development plans, LLG and district profiles and development plans are non-existent in most districts and LLGs.
There must be proper awareness, training and education provided to district and LLG administrative staff, ward members and LLG presidents. They must understand the reform concepts of provincial and local level governance in order to implement policies effectively.
Service delivery to the wards and villages must be the primary focus.
Thus, building the capacity of district administrations and LLGs is a way forward in achieving real development outcomes at the rural level.