PAPUA New Guinea in its current capacity as a nation state aptly fits Marx’s theory of the state concerning its establishment and functionalities.
As a state, PNG does appear to consist of a set of autonomous bureaucratic institutions while the inertia of the country’s net development rate is largely at the mercy of the economic, social and political power of the ruling class (i.e. politicians and bureaucrats).
Consequently there appears to be a total collapse in the command and control structure of the entire civil and political systems.
There is a general lack of discipline and accountability throughout the different administrative levels of the public service machinery.
However, it is encouraging to note that GoPNG has demonstrated seriousness in forward-planning through its compilation of Vision 2050. But Vision 2050 is only as good as the ink and paper it’s written on, unless it is translated into reality some 40 years down the track.
But before we can even talk about Vision 2050, perhaps the PNG public requires an independent audit into the previously devised and implemented MTDS 2005-2010 by the Government before the nation is ready to embark on another (ambitious) strategic development plan.
As a nation and a people we require some sense of appreciation about how good we have fared in relation to the MTDS so that we can be stimulated about our future prospects and goals at hand.
The public needs to know more about the successes and failures of the MTDS and what necessary steps the Government is taking to rectify problems so that these are not repeated again.
The Government must do everything in its power to increase its chances of achieving Vision 2050.
Various writers to this column have viciously attacked an undisciplined and low morale public service machinery with “sticky fingers” and “eyes for bribes” when it comes to money.
Last, but not the least, the general population must also take ownership of Vision 2050 and support the Government’s efforts towards achieving this dream. Otherwise, Vision 2050 will only remain a dream throughout its entire lifespan.
Thus, the Government’s greatest challenge now is how it could effectively use its most expensive and prized tool – its public service machinery in achieving Vision 2050. The politicians themselves must also collectively believe in Vision 2050.
As the main implementing arm of government, the bureaucracy must prove to its tax-paying citizens that it is not an (dysfunctional) elephant. Otherwise, conceptualisation is one thing and implementation is another just as the East is from the West.