PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare yesterday told heads of Government departments and agencies to improve their performance because the people of Papua New Guinea deserves better.
A quick meeting was called yesterday morning between the Prime Minister and all heads of Government departments and agencies.
Sir Michael said: “You, as heads of departments, play an important role in serving the executive and legislative arms of Government.
“You are a privileged group of public servants that have access to important information and resources but are not using your skills and talents to formulate acceptable and practical policies as well as ensuring their implementation,” Sir Michael said.
“I am gravely concerned that the public service seems to slip in a number of areas and, at the same time, is not addressing issues effectively to meet the challenges that are created from the current economic growth.
“While saying this, I am equally concerned that we do not have a conducive environment where we currently have permanent heads; many are still in acting positions pending court decisions.”
However, he said, this should not be an excuse for heads of departments not to cooperate with each other.
“What is the point of using jargon such as ‘cross-sectoral approaches’ when, in reality, there is no communication established among yourselves.
“You must be more accountable for public resources that are at your disposal, especially budgetary appropriation.”
Sir Michael told the departmental heads that there was so much in-fighting, empire building and, generally, too much ego and not enough results.
He called for team work among departments whose responsibilities overlap.
“This sad situation is at the expense of the Government and people of Papua New Guinea.
“After so many years as heads of departments, many people still do not know who you are; and this is shameful.
“You are equally leaders as I am; you have to be known by the public and be open to the public.
“That is why you are called ‘servants of the public’,” he added.
Sir Michael urged all heads of departments to go out and find out the needs of the country and set examples for their subordinates to follow.
He said for the first time in a long time, “our economy is doing extremely well”.
“There is fear among the public over the incompetence of Government to handle the rapid developments that are taking place.”
Sir Michael said this was a direct result of complacency within the public service machinery.
“You are at the helm of all this and must complement the work of policy and lawmakers.”
He said this complacency and apathy had led to the establishment of a parliamentary committee on public sector reforms.
“I hope this is a wake-up call for all of us.
“It is time that many of you step up to the plate and perform.
“The people of PNG deserves better than this,” Sir Michael said.