The Nationl, Thursday 13th September, 2012
WITH every change of government, there is an instant desire to change everything from the wallpaper and desktop computer to the executive assistant, departmental head, policies and even the law.
There is, we must advise, really no need.
The first thing to do whenever there is a change of guard is for critical reviews and analysis of past and ongoing programmes, the structure and policies governing an operation.
Change should never be made for change’s sake and, especially, not because a new government with new people is in place.
Change can be contemplated for reasons of efficiency, cost-effectiveness and growth to meet dramatic new interventions or shifts in the world and to introduce new dimensions.
Change must be made to remove or abolish styles, habits and methods that are outmoded and unacceptable; to introduce and better use new technology and knowledge; to meet fresh customer demands and trends; and introduce new technologies and ideas.
In the 37 years of Papua New Guinea’s existence, this country has gained from its stability, its geographical positioning and from its enormous natural resources.
It has gathered around itself multi-lateral and bilateral partnerships that has stood the test of time and has, time and again, bailed the country out in times of crisis and need.
The nation has moved from being entirely dependent on aid to trade and commerce.
This is an excellent position to move forward from.
Tinkering with a good position in the interest of introducing changes must, therefore, be done very carefully.
In the end, changes must be done in a manner pretty much like we do in good editing: The gist or heart of the matter remains but careful surgery, grafting and minor cosmetic changes have to be made to make the end product more attractive and more substantial.
The proposals to make wholesale changes to laws that have held true in this country for three decades must, therefore, be done very carefully.
There can and must be changes. We do not deny that but it must be done after careful analysis.
Having said that, there must, of course, be changes.
It cannot be overstressed that we cannot rest on our laurels.
There is much more to be done.
This rich country is still too poor.
The small population in a very huge country is facing congestion problems.
There is far too much frustration, ill-health, lack of education and death at an early age.
Our leaders talk too much and do too little.
There is a present danger that outsiders will crowd out Papua New Guineans in business and available jobs and may have already done so. Unless government moves to protect the certain classes of employment and business, the PNG of tomorrow might be vastly different.
That means setting a limit on jobs and business classes beyond which is a no-go zone.
Yet, the country cannot be altogether inward looking.
New people, new ideas and new technologies must be embraced.
There is the need to focus on new markets opening up both internally and externally.
What products have Papua New Guineans for the influx of foreign workers in the LNG project for instance.
If that has not been considered and acted upon, we have lost out completely.
But the point remains: Change must be made only after careful analysis.