PNG needs open government for benefit of citizens: Barker

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By HELEN TARAWA
Papua New Guinea needs an open government for the benefit of citizens and to enable more accountability, Institute of National Affairs executive-director Paul Barker says.
Barker, who made a presentation at the high-level open government partnership conference yesterday, told The National that open access of information and having a well-informed public would result in better roads, services and economy.
“It is also to open up the processes, give better opportunity for PNG as an economy to develop and for the citizens to participate in benefits,” he said.
Barker said PNG had a constitution which highlighted the need for freedom of information, freedom of expression, good public finance management and accountability, and so on.
“Sometimes, our mechanisms get rusty and are forgotten about and are not being implemented,” he said.
“We still have large portions of population that don’t have financial literacy and are not very empowered to know much about the laws of the land, and how budgets are managed.
“So they are not in a position to be able to ask the sort of questions or to be following the social contract between Government and citizens.”
Barker said civil society and Government should work together to ensure Government priorities received funding.

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