Changes in governance system ruining country


POWER and control are the fuel for greed.
Greed dominates and resonates throughout all levels of government in Papua New Guinea.
It is the main reason behind splitting up provinces, which is destroying our economy and national unity.
The province and district services improvement programme (SIP) funds have replaced the slush funds.
In the 1990s, the value of slush fund for each MP was K500,000.
Under the SIPs, it has increased to K10 million for each MP since the 2007 national general election.
The SIPs, funded by the budget, provide direct Government funding to each electorate and province, which are controlled and spent by each MPs and governors.
The power and control over the SIP funds has been legitimised by the following developments.
First, the relative autonomy granted to provinces and local level governments was withdrawn, with the adoption and implementation of the 1998 Organic Law on Provincial and Local Level Governments (Organic Law 1998).
The Organic Law 1998 significantly expanded the Government and gave more power to MPs to directly manage and control the political, social and economic affairs of the provinces, districts and local level governments.
This corrupted the governance system and significantly weakened the entire Government and its political institutions, as well as the financial and economic management in PNG.
Second, the Southern Highlands and Western Highlands were divided into four provinces (two in each).
Enga, New Ireland and East New Britain were eventually granted their full provincial autonomy statuses.
These concentrated the political and economic power and control in the Highlands region and is now a serious threat to our national unity. Today, more provinces want to split up, following the Southern and Western Highlands.
The Organic Law 1998, the splitting up of the two Highlands provinces and the granting of autonomy to the three provinces were all intended to legitimise this greed for the SIP funds.
The greed for SIP funds, by concentrating more power and control in the Government and MPs at all levels of government, is actually driving this break-up of provinces, including our national unity.
The solution is to abolish the SIP funds and the Organic Law 1998, including its related legislations and grant full autonomy to all the provinces.
Remove MPs from all affairs of the provinces.

Concerned Economist,