PNG must prepare for life after resource boom ends

Letters, Normal

The National, Friday July 26th, 2013

 THE economy of our country has blossomed and will bloom by 2014 as we export, for the first time, liquefied natural gas (LNG).

There will be a lot of money pouring in to fund development projects.

It is important that our people benefit greatly from much-needed services which have been lacking since independence. 

PNG will see an industrial revolution through the transition from an agriculture-based economy to a modern industrial economy. 

The national government has established the Sovereign Wealth Fund to manage our country’s huge surplus of money. 

But can this economic boom have a great impact in bringing development changes?

Will corruption be reduced or stopped permanently so that PNG develops during this economic boom? 

When the gas and oil are depleted, what will be the next pillars of our economy? 

Maybe we might start mining for diamonds or turn back to agriculture. 

But I have never heard of any diamonds found on a major scale in this country.

And agriculture has not been the priority for major development in a long time by any government to the extent it can sustain the country’s economy.

We have been and are depending on depleting resouces such as timber and mining which have finite lives. 

Knowledge will be the engine for economy development after the oil and gas are gone. 

Knowledge of business and how the economy works is the way forward for our country.

Investments will be used to produce capital goods. We must have good managerial skills and knowledge to effectively utilise the investments, otherwise factories and businesses will become white elephants. 

Knowledge is a combination of information (codified knowledge), experiences, competence, skills, attitude and the capacity to learn.

The most important factor is how effectively knowledge is transferred. 

The transfer of knowledge occurs through direct and indirect interactions, people moving from one organisation to another and the type of information dissemination me-thod used to cover as much people as possible. 

Information and communications technology considerably increases the speed of transmission of codified knowledge. 

Some limiting factors are the capacity of the recipients to decipher the codified knowledge and recognise obsolete systems. 

I suggest that the national government devise a strategy to invest in knowledge now so that in the long term, when we do not have any more oil and gas, it will be the motor driving the economy of PNG in the future. 

Freddy Sombary