PNG’s human development indices have slipped on all fronts, perhaps because the Government’s focus is on economic development.
The Central Agencies in the Department of Prime Minister and NEC, Department of Finance, Department of Personnel Management, Department of National Planning and Implementation and Attorney-General and Justice Department are focused on the gross domestic product rather than the human development index.
There are no social sector departments in the central agencies. This is a “fundamental flaw” in the whole Government scheme which might be responsible for the critical situation PNG is placed in when it comes to achieving its millennium development goals and its own medium-term development strategy.
The frank assessment comes from Community Development Minister Dame Carol Kidu.
Dame Carol told a meeting of civil society organisations and churches last Friday in Port Moresby that so long as the policy focus and attention, as well as the percentage of the national budget allocated to the social sector, remained relatively small, development would continue to be dysfunctional.
She urged civil society to be aggressive in questioning the Government and to hold it accountable for its actions and live up to its promises.
“Parliament is there to hold the executive accountable,” Dame Carol said. “And civil society must hold the whole of Parliament accountable.
“The system of democracy is not working as well as I would like to see it. Government will not do it. It has not for the last 30 or 33 years. We will do it in partnership with the people like you.”
Dame Carol made her comments during the visit of Minar Pimple, regional director for UN millennium campaign for Asia and the Pacific.
It would appear that the Melanesian countries lag far behind the rest of the pacific in their achievement of MDGs. And PNG, which is the richest and biggest of Melanesian countries, is the last in fulfilling its goals.