Let’s work towards a better society

Editorial

IT is time authorities cut out the “window dressing” and get to the heart of problem and tell the people what impacts them most and what really matters.
The path of the nation’s journey from Independence under the watch of all past governments is plagued with missed opportunities.
One does not have to be a rocket scientist to see that we have squandered many opportunities to build strong foundations for sustained national development on all fronts.
Travel around the country and you come face-to-face with rundown schools, non-functioning hospitals and health centres and ruined district centres that are no longer business and commercial hubs for rural communities.
Programmes designed for poverty alleviation, efficient services delivery, maintenance and upkeep of vital transportation infrastructure such as roads and bridges, airstrips and coastal jetties have not been properly and successfully implemented or maintained.
Lack of good governance, poor implementation of numerous development budgets and programmes over the years and meddling public administration have robbed this nation of progress and higher living standards that the people deserve.
Our poor national development can only be attributed to unrealistic development priority setting, poor implementation of development projects, inefficient spending, misappropriation and theft of development money.
Over the recent years, the shortage of funds has been our problem in terms of effective development spending on infrastructure projects.
Papua New Guinea does indeed have a poor track record of successfully translating development funds into effective infrastructure programmes.
Such a track record created the conditions for the support that ultimately led to politicians legislating to take money away from the public service and try to deliver services themselves.
That itself was a high-priced lesson in madness.
Not all politicians have the necessary administrative back up in place to deliver goods and services and the sooner it is abandoned, the quicker we plug the public finance management leaks. In our mind, there are no new management tactics that are lacking and needs to be gained from somewhere to change things in the country.
What might have been lacking are being spoken of today under two different headings, but, essentially meaning the same thing: private-public-partnership and inclusiveness.
The churches, the private sector, international agencies, resident foreign diplomatic missions, the civil society, together with the Government, will bring development to the country.
For far too long, each of these groups have been operating in isolation, often duplicating and at times, at cross paths to each other but always in the name of the people.
Many times, governments have come up with plans and programmes in isolation and then tried to ram them down the throats of other players in the field, most often those with far better experience then the Government.
More often than not, these programmes have failed, mostly because they have been ignored or discarded as irrelevant.
It is time for all to reflect on what we have achieved and make plans to make it better.
We echo the sentiments by Prime Minister James Marape that the next 45 years can be better if each and every one of us engage and willingly participate in the transformation that needs to be in place.
The knowledge, attitudes and practices people hold will play an important role in determining a society’s readiness to make and adopt to changes.
What a society that would be!

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