Leaders summit is the way forward for now

Letters, Normal

The National, Friday 14th of February, 2014

I WISH to congratulate Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for his people-oriented leadership demonstrated in unequivocal terms through the hosting  of  the  first 2014 Leaders  Summit. 
This will go down down in history as an important event for our nation, as you will be the first prime minister to   move   the   political  and  public  service  machinery out of their comfort zones to be scrutinised.
Your commitment to ensure that this  becomes  an  annual  event  is  highly commendable.
It is no longer talks but real action and that is an important legacy that you can leave behind for others to emulate in future.
I have been one of those main critics of the mismatch and lack of accountability of governments since independence in failing to tell the people of PNG the impacts of their record annual budgets.
Apart from being critical, I also highlighted the general struggle by the government to measure development impacts emanating from  the budgets  and  attributed  this to  the  general  lack  of cohesiveness in  planning, monitoring and evaluation.
Good planning and budgeting was lacking because plans and budgets were not based on the real development issues on the ground.
This results in poor implementation  and  hence  general  feeling  of  lack of progress despite record annual budgets.
I also highlighted the need for strong political and bureaucratic ownership  of  plans  as  another  important missing element which contributed to poor implementation over the years. 
Because of lack of political, bureaucratic and overall public scrutiny of projects through an institutionalised PM&E process, politicians  and  bureaucrats  seem  to be only  accountable to themselves other than the public.
This  is manifested in the delivery of a string of substandard works and services  throughout  PNG, year  in  and year out.
We are grateful that some of these public concerns have been considered as manifested in the intent and commitments you made by hosting the leader’s summit this year and in years to come.
Papua New Guineans can now begin to look to the future with much hope.

Robert Lutulele