The National – Monday, December 20, 2010
SIR Michael Somare is a great leader in shaping and unifying our country.
In this context, he had been an exemplary leader.
However, with regard to real economic development, he did far too little.
We can see what is happening with our own eyes.
PNG had Panguna copper mine that was generating hundreds of millions of kina annually.
This was followed by Ok Tedi mine, Misima and Porgera.
Our population up to the 1990s was only less than 4.5 million.
So where are the billions of dollars generated by these projects?
Where is the economic development?
Where is the national infrastructure?
These world-class projects generated more than enough money to bring Port Moresby and the whole country to the 21st century in the 1990s.
We should have world-class infrastructure and an excellent road network.
Unfortunately, none of these took place and we are now struggling to make do with deteriorating infrastructure, rising law and order problems and wondering where all that billions have disappeared to.
Sir Michael was the PM four times and has held many senior and influential portfolios during his 42 years in politics.
As prime minister, he was indecisive when it comes to making crucial decisions to grow the national economy.
To put it bluntly, he was utterly incompetent, indecisive and apathetic as far as economic development was concerned.
The last eight years of his reign as prime minister was a period marked by unprecedented high world commodity prices particularly crude oil and minerals.
PNG earned tens of billions of kina.
What has his government done in terms of translating these windfall revenues into wealth creation and efficient delivery of services to the people?
Yes, Sir Michael is a good man. He is a true nationalist.
But he fell short in laying a solid foundation for PNG’s economic prosperity.