The National, Tuesday 28th May 2013
By GABRIEL LAHOC
SOME Lae residents have welcomed the tough stance taken by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to sack under-performing departmental heads and recoup of millions of kina of misused public funds.
The residents, who spoke separately, also posed the challenge to O’Neill to order tougher penalties against offending individuals and organisations and to increase checks and balances in the government bureaucratic system.
The residents pointed out their concerns after the recent announcement by the prime minster and the move by the National Executive Council reported in the media to get tough on its own bureaucracy.
Lydia Toliman, a 40-year-old accountant and a single mother of three, said the government should get Parliament to pass legislation on more checks.
“It means there should be more than the current check points at which paper work is being approved which allows public money to flow out,” she said.
Michael Pai, managing director of Powerboss PNG and chairman of Hela and Southern Highlands tertiary students in Lae, praised O’Neill, Finance Minister James Marape and Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc for the recent suspension and sacking of several departmental heads and their deputies.
“In tough times like this our leaders must also make tough decisions for the benefit of the majority of the people of PNG.
“We have to get tough on departmental heads who should also get tough on their officers down the line,” he said. “As a businessman, I compare PNG with Fiji.
“Fiji has only has its tourism and sugar industries to benefit from unlike our many industries and resource projects, some people are blocking the system and are using the people’s money that’s why service is not delivered properly.
“All the key departments should also be cleaned up, these are public offices for the people.”
Jim Kima, a private contractor from Finschhafen, Morobe, said offending public servants should be arrested, locked up without bail and fight their case in court just like any other common criminal.