Put public funds spent on annual conference to better use

Letters, Normal

The National, Thursday October 17th, 2013

 EARLIER this month, about 400 women converged in Kokopo for a week-long conference hosted by the PNG Association of Administrative Professionals. 

As an observer on the ground, I have to question whether these women were genuinely attending a meeting of professionals or just out to have fun at a junket paid for by taxpayers. 

Many of them, including some executives, seemed to have used this opportunity to get away from their office work and family responsibilities to party and enjoy themselves. 

I hope these women are furnishing full reports on what they achieved from these very expensive conferences paid for by us, the taxpayers. 

I understand that government departments pay a large sum of money as affiliation fees to the association for their senior female staff to be members. 

On top of that, they pay for their airfares, accommodation, meals and travelling allowances. 

We are talking about hundreds of thousands of kina in public funds for women travelling to a high-cost destination such as Kokopo supposedly for a conference. These public funds could be spent on worthwhile projects in rural areas to assist the people. 

I also understand that this conference is held every year, so imagine the amount of public funds that have been wasted in the past 10 years. 

The question that needs to be answered now is whether the executives of this association are answerable to anyone since public funds are being used here. 

Who do they report to?

Have the accounts of this association been audited by a competent authority? 

Are the departments and provincial governments getting value for money by sending their female secretaries to this conference? 

Some government departments are even sending three to five female staff to attend this conference at the taxpayers’ cost.

Street secretary