PRESSURE has been mounting on the Prime Minister James Marape relating to socioeconomic and political interests, most of which tend to challenge his bold policy platform on taking back PNG.
There is the pressure from all sides:
- FROM the people calling on Marape to clean up the Government’s public service sector of corruption;
- COMPANIES operating in the country relating to licensing, taxes, and other economic interests;
- POLITICIANS and political parties;
- INSTITUTIONS, NGOs, diplomatic community and interest groups; and,
- HIS own people in Hela.
First is the pressure from public who are not convinced by Marape’s efforts to fight corruption.
While he has had a good start by appointing corruption fighters to key government offices and availing himself before the UBS COI, he is still keeping CEOs, department heads, politicians, lawyers, accountants, advisers and others who were part of the previous regimes involved in corruption at one point in time.
By keeping the bad people from being exposed and punished, he is keeping the lid tight on a can of worms.
He has to fight corruption wholeheartedly by opening up said can and leaving no stone unturned.
Marape must make some hard decisions while playing his cards right.
Get rid of the rotten apples before the entire bag goes bad.
Second, is the pressure from companies regarding their economic interests in Porgera mine, Pn’yang gas, Papua LNG and other resource projects.
As far as these projects are concerned, the ball is in Marape’s court so it’s up to him to play it right.
There is no urgency for the rush.
To take back PNG, it has to start with getting these projects back on PNG’s side.
We have taken back Ok Tedi and Tolukuma, so why not Porgera?
Third is the pressure from within his coalition partners and middle-bench politicians.
One aspect of pressure from these politicians are certain demands they have given in exchange for their loyalty to his regime.
Fourth is the pressure from institutions such as timely disbursements of school or educational budget subsidies and other funding aspects for government agencies to continue to function, including the mandatory allocation of district improvement grants and so forth.
These pressures relate to social and development budgets which the Government must deliver.
We also have pressure from the diplomatic community on cross border issues of mutual interests such as the military forward base on Manus Island to be built by the Australian and American militaries.
Marape has to weigh out the concerns raised by the Manus Islanders as against the geopolitical interests of foreign powers.
Finally, back at home, Marape has to accommodate the pressure coming in from his people of Hela and their plight for fair share of development.
Their interests may range from funding of small projects to grand development prospects.
For instance, the Hela treasury and administration building needs to be funded to be completed, including public service housing and basic infrastructure projects for the new province.
While so much pressure may relate to interests that can be managed, a big chunk of it definitely challenges Marape and his Government’s bold policy platform to “Take back PNG”. Hence, the next question is; will Marape succumb to undue pressure and deviate from his own policy platform?
Or will he walk the talk and withstand the pressure?
The onus is on Marape to strike a balance without having to deviate from his manifesto.
Sekinolo Sawala ,