The National, Tuesday July 31st, 2012
IT is a common practice that during the national budget or any other national issue such as the elections, speeches are analysed and discussed in the media.
There would be television and radio broadcasts while reports occupy pages of the daily newspapers.
Soon, most Papua New Guineans would have forgotten about the budget and would be unable to recall what the document contains.
Likewise, burning discussions in the coming weeks would be on the formation of the new government.
Will the common roll issues be buried and forgotten until 2017?
As responsible citizens, it is fitting that we help put into perspective the agendas that are expected of our new parliament to constructively debate on for the next five years.
This will assist the government to have a philosophy or approach to the economy that would enable it to give some sort of logic to its day-to-day economic activities.
Some of the issues of economic management that seriously need more clarifications revolve around two major issues – employment and inflation.
What are our figures and rates of employment and unemployment?
How many Papua New Guineans
are employed by mining companies and others in PNG and overseas?
What age group is heavily affected by unemployment and what are the government’s plans to utilise the unemployed population for maximum economic production?
If we cannot answer the above questions due to lack of data or statistics, then when do we restructure or equip the National Statistical Office, Labour Department and National Planning Department with the appropriate technology and manpower to address this need?
This would greatly impact the government’s plan and decision-making.
In terms of inflation, while we strongly support the government’s free education and healthcare policy, what is its strategy to keep inflation low with the LNG’s construction phase and other projects for resources to roll out its infrastructure in the next five years?
The long-term measures that will support our economy would be investments in structural reform such as technology, telecommunications, energy, industrial progress, land and infrastructure.
This would greatly revolutionise our conduct in business in terms of good economic management, business and investment, availability of information technology, reliable power and so on.
On this note, we commend Sir Mekere Morauta for his services in establishing the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) and its state-owned enterprises (SOE), which will now be used as vehicles to carry PNG’s long-term economic structures.
The in-coming government can now continue where Sir Mekere left off, including making necessary amendments to the Organic Law to strengthen the governance of the sovereign wealth fund, Lae Port development, national transmission network, Yonki hydro expansion, etc, under IPBC.
The success, or failure, of our government’s economic policies will depend on whether the people accept them.
It is also important that the different government arms and agencies are co-ordinated, or at least moving in the same direction, to achieve its prime purpose of delivering service to the people.