SETTLEMENTS are a liability to the government and society.
I appeal to Prime Minister James Marape and the governors of all province to see that settlements are a big issue in the country.
In the National Capital District, 75 per cent of the people live in settlements.
Sixty per cent of those are employed while the rest aren’t.
This 75 per cent do not pay land, water, and sewage and electricity rates.
One may argue that they pay goods and services tax, however, this does not justify their non-payment of rates for utilities, which is a basic necessity in life and of which is consumed free by them, courtesy of MPs who use these free handouts to buy votes.
Most settlers are making money under the pretext of being poor.
They resort to land grabbing, which a form of theft.
Settlements are a breeding ground for criminals who create havoc for law-abiding citizens.
These people deserve peace and harmony.
After all, they are the ones paying taxes honestly.
To resolve this issue, a ministry should be created in Parliament and a law passed to eradicate and prevent settlements from existence in the country.
Once settlements are eradicated, issues such as law and order, overcrowding in urban centres, unpaid taxes, land grabbing and ethnic fighting will be resolved.
An amicable solution is for the Government to create a ministry to manage this humongous issue.
This ministry would look for ways to create economic empowerment for the people so that all citizens are paying taxes equally and the burden of paying taxes is not placed solely on the 25 per cent which comprise business houses and the formal workforce.
This will be a win-win for the stakeholders.
The Government would be paid its taxes and the income generated would be used to provide basic services to communities across the country.
With economic empowerment, people will toil the land and live in peace and harmony.
This will create a ripple effect in terms of agriculture.
With a control on law and order issues, tourism will thrive.
These are the two economic powers that will generate income for PNG.
I believe this is the way forward to taking back PNG.
We need to get the basics right.