By ISAAC NICHOLAS
MANY political leaders and senior public servants lack the commitment to serve the people, Treasurer and Finance Minister Peter O’Neill said.
“Many of us think that the country owes us the positions we hold. Let us remind ourselves that we are simply custodians on behalf of our people.
“The country does not owe it to us,” O’Neill said.
He said this at the launch of the 2009 provincial expenditure review report at the PNG Institute of Public Administration last week.
He said having vision and well laid out plans were good, but achieving the vision needed the ability to work hard.
“If we continue to work like we have in the past 35 years, the outcome will be the same with decline in services,” he said.
O’Neill said for the first time, the country had experienced eight consecutive years of growth and stability in the economy and indicators show that this was likely to continue.
He said the 2002 budget deficit of K800 million to several surplus budgets recently, interest rates of 28% to now around 7% now, inflation from 15% to 7%, foreign reserves of K200 million to K7.4 billion and debts of more than 60% to the current 27% of GDP were real.
“That is why government must maintain stability at the political leadership, it must maintain stable economic policies and maintain stable public service.
“Only then we can together achieve the vision we have for our people and the country,” he said.
He said the review measure that progress made by each province in providing the essential government services – known as the minimum priority activities – in health, education, primary production, transport infrastructure and village courts.
He said the review also measured the effective use of the funding granted by the national government to each province, adding that the new funding system was based on the principles of equity and fairness.
“The funding system also supports the constitution, Vision 2050 and the millennium development goals.”
“It is important to recall that our constitution declares that each Papua New Guinean be given an equal opportunity to participate in and to benefit from the development of our country.”