DEVELOPMENT, everywhere in the world, is a public sector function.
It is about improving the welfare of the people in a country.
Business, on the other hand, is about enhancing the well-being of the shareholders of a firm.
This distinction is very critical when making public policy decisions or negotiating agreements, which are intended to benefit the people of a country.
In Papua New Guinea, adherence to this simple decision rule has been confused since Independence in 1975.
As a result, development in PNG has taken a negative trajectory, and it is a serious threat to improving the standard of living of people in the country.
Two obvious cases that point to the development failure in PNG are the present Coronavirus (Covid-19) situation and negotiating project agreements for the extractive resource sector (mineral, petroleum and gas).
In the extractive sector, politicians and their associates have negotiated or are negotiating the terms of project agreements for extractive resource projects.
These include Ramu Nickel, Porgera gold, PNG LNG gas and Papua LNG gas projects, and now, Pasca A and P’nyang gas projects.
The terms of most of the agreements for these projects are unfavourable to PNG.
Each year, billions of dollars in tax revenue and other benefits from the operating extractive resource projects leave the shores of PNG.
They go to enhance the standard of living of shareholders of the project developers abroad and not the people of PNG.
This situation is expected to continue in the future.
Since last year, the Government is focused on implementing measures to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 and manage its negative impact on growth and development.
This involves social distancing, wearing of masks, developing infrastructure for isolation and treatment and vaccinating people.
The Government raised about K3 billion since last year to fight the Covid-19 in PNG.
However, the impact of this money is not visible throughout the country.
Bulk of that money was spent on provincial and district services improvement programmes, which are controlled and spent by the politicians.
Now, the country is in a dire state with the third wave of the Covid-19.
But no one knows how the Covid-19 money was spent and accounted for.
Our politicians are truly in command and are carefully controlling the development of PNG.