The National,Wednesday18 January 2012
By ELLEN TIAMU
A SENIOR research fellow at the National Research Institute in Port Moresby has said good leadership by governors and provincial administrators is a key to improved delivery systems and effective provincial governments.
In response to the an editorial comment in The National last Friday, Dr Alphonse Gelu said while it accurately highlighted some factors responsible for the ineffectiveness of the provincial government system, it did not highlight the fact that the government had started initiatives for improvement.
Gelu said the system was introduced in 1976 but was a mixture of failures and successes.
He said successful provinces were those that “accepted and managed a system of decentralisation that was encompassing and effective”.
Those that failed were because of “massive abuse of public funds and the lack of funds going down to the provincial governments”.
He said political interests became paramount while delivery of services was made according to political pursuit.
He said the new organic law replacing the old from 1995 to 2000 did not show signs of improvement despite national politicians having a hand in matters all the way down to district level.
He said it was what he termed “the Third Wave” that things were becoming better with the introduction of better leadership within the department of provincial and local government affairs and better working relations with donor partners.
He said the rollout of the government-funded Provincial Performance Improvement Initiative (PPII), supported by the Australian government, the rollout of the national Fiscal Commission’s reform to the Inter-Governmental Financial Arrangement (RIGFA), and the strengthening of the Provincial Local Services Monitoring Authority (PLLSMA) in recent years had all contributed to better delivery and monitoring of services to rural Papua New Guinea.
Gelu said adhesive working relations between governors, MPs and provincial administrators were bringing better results.
He said good leadership had now become the key to improved systems and effective provincial governments as long as governors “do not meddle in the administration”.
He said the biggest challenge remained the delivery of services to the people and that would not change if the government was inconsistent on improvement measures.