PNG

PNG

Friday, September 7, 2012

Government and Open Members must engage and empower Local Level Governments.

By DERRICK NAGUL

Sadly despite positive economic growth rates over the last decade, PNG’s social indicators are among the worst in the Asia Pacific. The majority of PNG’s mainly rural population remain poor and an estimated 18 per cent are extremely poor. Many lack access to basic services or transport. Civil utilities have been allowed to deteriorate to a shameful level.

Poverty, unemployment and poor governance contribute to serious law and order problems. Improving the lives of poor people and promoting stability is claimed to be the central part of the government interests but the tangible signs of that are very far from being realized.

The government’s should aggressively pursue:

Eradicate Poverty: Around 40% of PNG’s population lives in poverty and 85% of the population live in rural or remote areas with inadequate access to health care and employment.

Increase Education Participation: Estimated that half the adult population cannot read and over 500,000 kids aged 6-12 do not go to school. The rate of participation in primary schooling is improving but it remains low and below that of most other countries.

Improve Health: Nearly 7% of kids do not live past their 5th birthday, the life expectancy for men in PNG is only 53 years, females it’s 54 years, people continue to die of preventable causes. Health infrastructure such as hospitals and aid posts is deteriorating, and there are not enough trained health workers with a number approaching retirement.

Combat HIV/AIDS:
One of the biggest development challenges facing PNG, by the end of 2012 over 208 000 people in PNG will be living with HIV

All the districts in PNG need new facilities and increased funding for local projects. Communities need to benefit from delivery of key awareness and aid.

District officers, local level government officials and community workers need to be engaged and empowered by the government. Give them the training, resources, guidance and support to participate and implement positive community projects. They can even goes as far as attaining formal qualifications like diplomas in project management or basic accounting.

The people of PNG are over members paying lip service, doing multiple ground breaking ceremonies and cheque hand over ceremonies merely to get their faces in the papers. Members are not project managers, that role is for the local level governments and each member’s district development committee.