PAPUA New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare is convinced that the country’s social indicators will significantly improve through rapid economic development and improved public service delivery.
This, he said yesterday, would be achieved through the national government’s medium-term development plan (MTDP) 2010-15.
“I am convinced our social indicators will improve dramatically in the next five years as a result of the MTDP strategy of ‘building the foundations for prosperity’.
“The plan tackles head-on our concerns about poor social indicators.
“More resources will be devoted to regions that are worse off,” the prime minister said.
In addition to building hundreds of aid posts and schools, MTDP 2010-15 would empower the people to improve their lifestyles because of strong economic growth and job creation.
With the focus also on creating more than 315,000 jobs in the next five years, the MTDP anticipated that with average annual economic growth of 8.5% per capita, incomes would rise by about 35% to K4,640.
“While the MTDP will ensure easier access to health centres and schools, the average family will be financially better off and more capable of paying for goods and services they require,” Sir Michael said.
“With construction of 315 new aid posts in the next five years there will be much better delivery of health services in rural areas.
“The number of aid posts will rise from 460 to 565 in the Southern region, from 524 to 593 in the Highlands, from 555 to 658 in Momase and from 395 to 434 in the Islands region,” Sir Michael said.
He said the Department of National Planning had formulated the MTDP with the aim of evenly distributing services across regions and provinces while taking account of population distribution and land access problems.
For example, relatively more health services would be provided in Gulf, where the under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births) in 2006 was estimated at 133 or almost double the 67 deaths that occur each year in the Southern region.
This disparity is expected to be more than halved by 2030.
By 2030, under the 20-year development strategic plan (DSP), the national under-five mortality rate should fall from the 2006 level, averaging 75 to around 20. By then, child mortality in Gulf would be slashed to 28.
“It will be up to the ministers in charge of these areas, and their departmental staff, to ensure these plans targets are met for the betterment of our society.
“I expect much closer attention be paid to improved performances and outcomes,” Sir Michael said.
“These changes,” he said, “should ensure steady improvements in our health indicators and a similar approach in the education sector should also result in very favourable outcomes”.
Sir Michael said 1,678 new schools were scheduled to be built in the next five years to bring the total schools nationwide to 5,063.
Law and order
In pursuit of a better law and order situation, the government will build another 117 police stations and recruit an additional 3,280 police to take the total numbers in the police force to 5,063 in 2015.
Police have estimated 600,000 crimes committed around the country every year with only a quarter of these officially reported to police.
Under the MTDP, there would be more magistrates and village courts in line with the government’s aim of reducing criminal activity by 50% in the next five years.
It was projected to be slashed to 37,000 by 2030.