By ALISON ANIS
TRANSPARENCY International Papua New Guinea has called on Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to “act now to bring capacity” to the public service system to ensure that everyone including the poor and vulnerable benefits fully from the recently-approved PNG LNG project.
“Time has run out on us as we no longer have the option to allow public service to become secure and transparent in dealing efficiently with the delivery of basic goods and services to the majority of our population who are poor and continue to suffer from lack of these services,” TIPNG chairman Peter Aitsi said in a statement yesterday.
Mr Aitsi said that with the signing of the LNG project on Tuesday, PNG would start to see an increase of workers coming to Port Moresby and into various projects sites to start building the pipeline, processing plants and infrastructure to support the project.
Mr Aitsi was speaking yesterday during the observation of the International Anti-Corruption Day and its theme: “Don’t let corruption kill development”.
He called on leaders in the public service, businesses and communities to brace themselves because PNG was entering a new era with the signing of the agreement to kick start the project.
“The magnitude of the LNG project will test our Government systems.
“Consider the impact the additional bodies and activities will have on our transport systems, airports, customs, immigration, departments of Labour and Petroleum, PNG Power and PNG Ports and their performance when confronted with the demand that will be placed on them by the LNG project,” he said, adding that everyone knew of difficulties the Government system had in delivering the basic levels of services, education, health and Government administration.
He said the work to overhaul the public service needed to start now “but desperately needed the political will within the ruling coalition to take immediate, real and significant action”.
TIPNG was also pleased to note the Government’s support indicated through the Treasurer’s office for the establishment of the extractive industries transparency index (EITI) with the aim to bring greater transparency to the flow of funds between the operator and the Government.
However, as immediate action to strengthen the fight against corruption, TIPNG urged the Government to provide increased funding to support the work of key Government offices and agencies responsible for combating corruption.
Mr Aitsi said TIPNG would continue to take a strong stand in fighting corruption in the country.
“We believe in our common vision that drives us.
“Today is the day to celebrate an independent PNG where Government, politics, business, civil society and the daily lives of our people are free of corruption.
“And the wealth of our nation is equitably distributed through the provision of essential services such as health, education, employment opportunities ad community infrastructure for the benefit of all Papua New Guineans.”