Social Concerns Notes – October 2012

Koim: Half of development budget stolen

The National, 8th October, 2012

HALF of the development budget over three years has been fleeced off in corruptive activities, the country’s top corruption investigator told an Australian audience last week.
That is a staggering K3.8 billion out of PNG government component of K7.6 billion for 2009, 2010 and 2011 that has ended up funding the business and personal interests of a corrupt few and not towards funding development projects, goods and services. Head of Task Force Sweep Sam Koim told the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) major reporters’ meeting in Sydney last Thursday that much of this money was finding its way into Australian financial institutions and property.
 He described Australia as a haven for money laundering and a housing for the proceeds of corruption from PNG. He said the largest investors in property in north Queensland were PNG residents and that only six politicians had invested between them K48.92 million (A$22.9 million) in properties in Cairns alone.
 Koim said although Australia was aware of the rampant corruption, little was done by its institutions and agencies to prevent proceeds of corruption being processed in Australia.

Change Women’s Role, says Kidu

The National, 26 Sept. 2012

Dame Carol Kidu says the role of the culturally-centred women in society needs to be changed. She presented a paper on “Challenging cultural myths about women’s role in society” at a conference in Port Moresby. “A socially just society is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, understands and values human rights, and recognises the dignity of every human being.” She said there was a need for honesty about the culture and there was need for action to change the abuse of culture. She said there were three issues identified with development partners to change the abuse of culture about women’s role in the society. They were: Women’s political participation – more women must be involved in politics and decision-making in the highest levels to address women’s issues; Gender-based violence – women’s rights should be freely exercised and voiced in all levels of the society; and Economic empowerment – the resources must be equally distributed and reach everyone in the society.

Which way Papua New Guinea?

Post Courier, 5th October, 2012.

We report in today’s paper about students facing a crisis in schools, not only in Port Moresby but in most schools in provincial centres throughout the country. And it’s to do with drinking alcohol and smoking.

 A student, A.S., made some startling revelations about smoking and drinking at her school.
 “Eighty-five percent of my class either smoke or drink alcohol. And by smoking I mean cigarettes, spear and marijuana,” she said.
“With alcohol it is coffee punch, moskow, beer – anything that they can mix to make ‘steam’. 
“I am referring to both boys and girls smoking and drinking alcohol, although boys smoke marijuana more than girls and boys mainly come to class with hangovers.” 
It is also sad to hear that most of the students have no idea what they want to do when they leave school, with most of them choosing international sports stars, singers and actors as role models.” The youths do not see local (PNG) leaders as role models to aspire to greater heights,” S. says.
 We must have an educated population in order to compete with the rest of the world. But an educated populated will not serve our purpose if we have a sick population, in mind, body and spirit.

PNG land grab update

http://devpolicy.org/png-land-grab-update/ Written by Colin Filer on August 22, 2012.

It is expected that the final report of the Commission of Inquiry into Special Agricultural and Business Leases (SABLs) will shortly be tabled in Papua New Guinea’s national parliament. The question is how it came to pass that more than 5 million hectares of customary land has been alienated in recent years through the grant of SABLs to landowner companies associated with some rather dubious ‘development partners’, most of whom appear to be logging companies seeking to exploit a loophole in the Forestry Act on the pretext of clearing native forests for large-scale agricultural projects that are unlikely to materialize. …

The PNG National Gazette published on 27 July announced the grant of two new SABLs in Oro Province, both for a period of 50 years. At first sight, the notices might not seem too alarming, since the areas covered by these two leases were said to be 21.520 hectares and 16.830 hectares respectively – a mere drop in the ocean of more than 5 million hectares already removed from customary ownership. However, officials in the Lands Department have developed an odd habit of substituting full stops for commas. The last SABL to be gazetted before the announcement of the Cabinet decision was said to cover an area of 109.58 hectares, but was later revealed to be an area of 109,580 hectares – a thousand times larger.

Council manager received praise for employing youths

The National,  21st September 2012

LAE city council manager Roy Kamen has been praised for creating employment opportunities for youths in the city by engaging them in beautification programmes.
Nelson Zatura, a community chief at the Talair compound, commended Kamen for his work and urged him to continue his efforts to engage youths by creating jobs for them.
“Since Kamen took office, he has taken youths out of the slums and provided jobs for them to alleviate poverty,”  Zatura said.
He said when youths were left to roam the streets, they engaged in the use of drugs and alcohol, which contributed to the rise of crimes in the city.
 “Kamen has touched the heart of the problem by employing these youths.
 “When youths have jobs, they have money in their pockets and do not have time for other activities that are criminal in nature.”

Women with disabilities want change

The National, 21st September 2012

WOMEN with Disabilities (WWD) in Lae, Morobe, are willing to see change and focus on their ability rather than the label “disability.”
 The group got together this week to find ways to sustain their living by earning an income through arts and craft, with assistance from Andrea Niblet.
 Vice-president for Morobe Disable Agency and Mamose representative for disability on the national board of persons with disabilities Mittie Katu-Bradford said they wanted WWD to be included in society and seen as women leaders.
“We really need to get out there and empower women with disabilities,” Katu-Bradford said. 
“Their is life even though you are disabled. It doesn’t mean you are disabled, we don’t like the term disabled because when you are disabled you cannot do anything. We like to be call people with disabilities because we have different abilities.

PNG Party for Change? Well change this!

PNG Blogs 24 Sept

In the remote Central Province district of Goilala, all 15 of the government aid posts are closed. For the villages of the district the nearest facilities are now in the township of Tapini.  Yet, in Port Moresby, the PNG government has, in its employ, ‘managers’ responsible for the running of the aid posts – they have nothing to do, but they still collect their pay cheques every fortnight. This notwithstanding, there’s no available government money to keep the aid posts operational. The Catholic Mission has stepped into the breach, providing 85% of the district’s medical services.  An especially serious consequence of the closures is that most of the people who were receiving treatment for TB at the aid posts have become ‘defaulters’ as they fail to complete their treatment due to the distance to Tapini. What’s more, every time the clinic in Tapini runs out of the treatment drugs – a regular occurrence – their patients become unwitting defaulters and are at risk of developing the multi-drug-resistant strain and infecting others. I visited and watched in the waking hours of the morning as people queued quietly and patiently.  Kope, a two-month-old baby, snug in his adopted mother Maria’s bilum will never know his biological mother. She died from TB.  Kope has it too. Yet these are the lucky ones – they will be treated.  TB, untreated, is usually fatal.  In Goilala people are dying. “You see dead people walking around,” said health co-ordinator Leontine Javia remarking on the prognosis of many of the sick in Tapini. For even in the health centre in Tapini, a chronic lack of funding means they operate with a dearth of equipment and an unreliable drug supply.

Bishop sworn in as hospital’s new chairman

The National, 24th September 2012

Catholic Bishop of Wabag diocese Arnold Orowae has been sworn-in as new board chairman for the Wabag Hospital along with eight board members last Thursday.
The government has endorsed the head of Catholic church in Enga to restore trust and confidence in the management of the hospital that is currently reported to be in a deteriorating situation with lack of specialist doctors, life-saving drugs and equipment.
Enga Governor Peter Ipatas told a huge crowd at the ceremony, that Orowae had been recommended for the job to ensure a transparent working relationship with stakeholders, including his administration.
 “I am happy that he (Orowae) has accepted the responsibility. 
“We want a person of his calibre to provide the right direction on using resources that are meant for saving lives of people who are now dying of curable diseases,” he said.
 The Enga government has already committed more than K3 million to meet different costs involved in the planning stage of a new hospital over the last five years.

Homebrew affects community

Post Courier 25 Sept

MORE than 100 women, girls, boys and men living in one of Lae’s notorious suburb’s, West Taraka, handed over their homebrew equipment to their councillor last Friday.
Ward Six (6) Councillor Peter Wagu said yesterday that the people decided to call it quits after realising the effects and damages being done to their community.
 Cr Wagu said it was a tough call for the people who heavily relied on the production and sale of homebrew (steam) to sustain their livelihoods.
 He said many people had made a living from the production and 
sale of homebrew for a long time now.
“There are mothers, children, youths and men heavily involved in producing homebrew,” he said.
Cr Wagu said there were many reasons given by the people for their reliance on homebrew upon handing over the equipment.
One young girl told us that she sold homebrew to assist with her bus fare to and from school,” Cr Wagu said.
 A mother said that she sold homebrew to assist with providing food for the table since her husband was not employed,” he said.
However Mr Wagu said the people themselves saw the disadvantages of the business and decided to put a stop to the activity and surrender the equipment.

Who benefits from growth?

Post Courier 27 Sept (Editorial).

PAPUA New Guinea has experienced unprecedented economic growth in the last five years or more.
 Unprecedented because this has been the longest period of such growth while most of the developed and developing countries are not so fortunate.
 But PNG’s situation will not remain robust for much longer, with Finance Minister Francis Marape telling PNG this week of a slow-down in economic growth from next year, and warning of belt-tightening to cope with what is coming.
… Prime Minister Peter O’Neill keeps telling us that money is not our problem. Our problem is to set our priorities right and to use the resources that we have available in an honest, transparent and accountable manner to a effectively deliver adequate and quality services and infrastructure to help and benefit the majority of our people living in rural PNG.

No funds for rural health

Post Courier 28 Sept 2012.

Rural Health has been a major concern for provinces in Papua New Guinea, according to Sundaun Governor, Amkat Mai.
Mr Mai, in a statement yesterday, said that he has not seen a way forward for his remote Telefomin district and his province. 
“It seems that rural health delivery in Papua New Guinea is the last place the national department of health would rather concentrate on. Rural health is an issue that must be made a priority immediately,” governor Mai said. 
He said that it is not the sole responsibility of churches, Non-government organisations and AusAid, who work tirelessly to improve rural health care in this country. 
The governor said that a health symposium held at Gateway Hotel in Port Moresby a few weeks ago, cost a staggering K100,000.00. 
“We are spending on workshops, conventions, and conferences, and then we tell churches and NGOs that there is no funding,” he said.

New Ireland govt rewards villages for cleanliness

The National, 27th September, 2012

FIVE villages from the nine local level governments in New Ireland have received K2,000 each as reward for their cleanliness under a village beautification programme. 
The New Ireland provincial government announced the winners during Independence celebrations.
Apart from the 45 villages and schools that won, the rural health joint patrol received a special governor’s award of K3,000 in recognition of its combined effort and coordination in the public service throughout the year.
Governor Sir Julius Chan said the programme had greatly enhanced people’s basic health, with first-hand medical attention and it had provided sufficient data for the provincial administration to plan and rehabilitate the 24 run-down aid posts in the province.
“Our efforts are consistent with the government’s policy of giving to the needy areas in line with our policy of ‘the further you are, the more we care’,” Sir Julius said.

PNG PM wants easier visa access to Australia

PNG Blogs, 26 September, 2012

“We give Australians visa on arrival, they (Australians) dont need to go to Canberra to get a Visa, the same principal should be applied to PNG visitors to Australia”. (PNG Prime Minister)

Police call for tougher penalties for alcohol abuse

Post Courier, Oct 1.

NCD Metropolitan Commander, Chief Superintendent Peter Guinness has called on Parliament to review penalties on abuse and dealing in and the consumption of alcohol because it is costing the country hundreds of millions of kina. He gave as an example last week’s ethnic clash between the Taris and Pangias in Port Moresby. He said this clash started because of people getting intoxicated with alcohol which had led to the torching of several houses and as a result, innocent people are now suffering from their losses.
The other incident was at the PNG Defence Force Air Transport Squadron settlement behind Port Moresby’s Jackson airport on Saturday.
 Chief Supt Guinness said a person trying to catch a PMV bus was badly assaulted by a group of drunkards for no reason at all. 
This resulted in the victim mobilising his relatives who burnt down the tables of innocent market vendors.
 The third incident was at the Vadavada settlement in Port Moresby where it was alleged that the son of a soldier was 
beaten up by settlers after a drunken brawl. 
The son went back to Taurama Barracks and a convoy of soldiers returned and set fire to two houses at the settlement, destroying the personal belongings of the families of both houses. 
“While investigations will be carried out, the causes of all these incidents point to alcohol and homebrew drinks, but when you look at the penalties for these offences (of alcohol abuse), they are nowhere near the cost of destructions caused,” Chief Supt Guinness said.

Use sports to deliver health, education

The National, 1st October, 2012

A RESEARCH aiming to identify people’s access to information has concluded that there is a hunger for sports programmes among people between 15 and 34, both males and females.
 The Inter Media Group, a London-based organisation that carried out the research in four provinces said: “The huge hunger for sport content might also provide a vehicle to deliver educational, health and gender-related content.
“Treat sports programming not as a genre, but as a platform or a vehicle to deliver other content.”
 The research found that health and education stories fare in the middle while environment, crime and law and order, were the least favoured type of information.
People across PNG are hungry for information on topics of their interest and often feel frustrated with the lack of regular, in-depth coverage on these topics,” the authors reported.
“Provide detailed and practical information on topics related to people’s livelihoods. Content targeted at school-leavers and job-seekers may be particularly attractive and engaging.”

Diabetes on par with HIV,TB

The National, 1st October, 2012

A HOPE Worldwide (PNG) report says diabetes is fast matching serious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in the country.
 The Hope Worldwide annual report 2010 says most people are not aware of the disease and that resulted in inadequate treatment.
“Hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of diabetes complications, including kidney disease leading to renal failure, eye damage that can result in blindness and a substantially increased risk of heart attack,” it said.
 The report highlighted that serious efforts should be put to capacity building in the health system through public and health workers awareness on the disease and the need for screening, compliance to medical advice and adopting a healthier lifestyle.
 “Studies from parts of the world show that healthy lifestyles can improve glucose control and reduce complications and prevent diabetes,” the report said.

Judge: Beating women a crime

The National, 2nd October, 2012

BEATING a woman is a crime and will not be tolerated by the courts, Judge David Cannings told two men when imposing a jail sentence on them for causing grievous bodily harm to their wives.
 Announcing jail sentences for the pair, the judge said it should be a lesson to all women beaters.
 At the Madang National Court, Jacob Eddie of Samgik village in Maprik, and Yata Gumaira of Warabung village in Yangoru, both in East Sepik, were convicted on Sept 11 for assaulting their wives.
 The court was told that Eddie, on July 9 last year, had arrived home drunk and wanted to listen to music but his wife did not allow him to by turning off the switching.
 That caused anger in Eddie so he decided to hide to catch his wife in the act after turning on the switch again.
 His wife, unaware, was caught in the act and Eddie pounced on her with a bush knife.
 She received cuts to her shoulder, head and face and one of her teeth was broken as a result of the assault. 
The wife managed to escape but collapsed and was rushed to hospital.
In Gumaira’s case, the argument started over a remaining last cigarette which his wife smoked, angering the man.
In his rage, Gumaira kicked a chair and rubbish bin before turning on his wife, kicking her in the right forearm.
 The kick broke the wife’s hand and despite her pleas for mercy, Gumaira pulled her inside the house and continued punching but stopped when he realised her hand was broken.

City markets unsafe

The National, 2nd October, 2012

A UNITED Nations study says the rate of violence against women and girls in Port Moresby’s markets is alarming.
The recently completed safer cities scoping study, conducted under the UN Women’s Global Programme, surveyed a number of women, girls, men and boys from Gerehu, Gordon, Tokarara, Malaoro, Waigani and Hohola marketplaces in Port Moresby.
 UN Women said in a statement yesterday the key finding was an alarming rate of multiple forms of violence in all marketplaces, making them unsafe especially for women and girls.
With women making up 80% of vendors in these areas this is not a problem to be overlooked.
 “This prevalence of violence was linked to the threat of gender-based and sexual violence including verbal and visual harassment, robbery, threats, intimidation, stalking, assault, rape and gang rape.
 “The current low level of security, fragility of law and order and high incidence rate of violent crime leads to a reduction of women’s safety in markets, the most heavily populated of city public spaces used by women.
“This limits women’s access to economic opportunities and reduces their rights to enjoy public spaces and freedom of mobility.”

Church supports army callout


Post Courier 12 Oct.

THE Catholic Bishops Conference has supported the views of NCD Governor Powes Parkop that the PNG Defence Force be called in to patrol the city for at least one year. 
They made this call amid reports of worsening law and rder situation in Port Moresby. 
“Pick-pocketing, rape and killing have become part of the normal life in the city. Two weeks ago, we read in the newspaper of the cruel rape of a mother in broad day light in Gordon’s market. The culprits go scot-free and the victim is afraid of lodging a case with the police.
“The mindset of the criminals should be weeded out. They commit the crimes and they know that neither the police nor the public will do anything to deter them. The public is also of the same attitude. It takes a few months or perhaps a few years to take away that mind-set. It is good to start now.” 
General Secretary of the Bishop Conference Fr Victor Roche, in a statement said: “The police are unable to curb the rising crime in the city. The public have become silent and passive observers of these crimes and the church supports the view of NCD Governor Powes Parkop that the army is called in to patrol the city for at least one year.

Little to show for K366m, says AusAID

The National, 2nd October, 2012

AUSTRALIA’S major aid agency has released a report criticising the performance of HIV/AIDS-related programmes in Papua New Guinea.
 AusAID spent more than A$170 million (K366 million) on the programmes in PNG between 2007 and 2010.
But there is little evidence that the support has limited the spread of the virus, according to the report.
But public health organisation Burnet Institute partly funded by AusAID and works in PNG on HIV/AIDS programmes, defended the efforts made to manage the spread of the virus.
Burnet Institute director and chief executive officer Brendan Crabb told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat last week that while there were failures in AusAID’s PNG HIV/AIDS programmes, they needed to be understood in their context.
“There was a prediction five to 10 years ago that we could be looking at a million Papua New Guineans HIV positive by now, out of the seven million who live there,” Crabb said.
 “The real number is around 50,000.”

PNG’s growth rate harmful


Post Courier, 3 Oct.

AUSTRALIA’S peak scientific body says Papua New Guinea’s growing population is more of an immediate threat to the region’s sustainability than climate change.
 James Butler, leader of CSIRO’s environment and development team, who released the report, says the window of opportunity for aid spending on the problem is “pretty small.”
“We’ve probably got about 10, 15, 20 years to really get it right,” Mr Butler told Radio Australia’s Asia Pacific.
 Papua New Guinea’s last census in 2011 by the World Bank found that the country had just over 7 million people, an increase of 1.8 million from 2000. 
Mr Butler says when population growth is combined with climate change, natural resources, particularly around the coast, will come under extreme pressure.
“There’s no question, over the centuries people in Oceania have coped with all sorts of tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquakes and so-on and are actually very adaptable in some ways,” Mr Butler said. 
“But the problem is if you increase population pressure on top of that, it makes basic services like electricity and water much harder to provide.”

Below is a comment on the above from person in PNG with a different view.

“That report would make sense if PNG is like Australia, where almost everyone has access to water and electricity provided for by the government. With over 75% of PNGeans still leaving in rural areas while maintaining a livelihood from the land – having bigger families increases the adaptive capacity of those families to impacts of climate change. Smaller families trying to survive in this rural economy will struggle because they have to put in more effort to achieve an outcome similar to the family with many children. This sounds counter intuitive and but unless you have any experience being part of a rural community, you will see what I am saying. Having more people in the family is advantageous when it comes to family projects like building house and canoes to withstand the impacts of climate change. The chances of a family member getting a job in town is also increased in big families and the other family members benefit from cash remittance. For rural communities, being able to adapt to climate change seems to be with families with bigger numbers.”

2,200 homeless

The National, 3rd October, 2012

THERE are more than 2,200 homeless men, women and children struggling to survive on the streets of Port Moresby, a Salvation Army study has revealed.
 Some of the children, as young as 10, were being encouraged by older people to become sex workers to earn money to survive.
 “Twenty-five per cent of these girls (who sell themselves for sex) are also given drugs and/or alcohol by their aunties or parents,” Salvation Army PNG programme secretary Major Rex Johnstone told The National yesterday.
 “At the beginning of this year, a couple (Captains Michael and Giam Dengi) was specifically appointed to find out why people were living on the streets of Port Moresby.”
“From a survey that was conducted in Boroko, Waigani, 4-Mile, Ela Beach and the central business district (over March and April), it was estimated that there are about 900 adults and 1,350 children living on the streets of Port Moresby.
 
“They are living under bridges and in doorways of shops,” Johnstone said.
 “Only 10% of the children went to school, leaving the other 90% to beg or collect plastic containers to sell for income.
 “Boys and girls also enter the sex trade to earn money to survive.

PNG to ratify Convention on disability

Post Courier
4 Oct.

THE Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced yesterday at the Second Forum Disable Ministers Meeting in Port Moresby that PNG will ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities this year.
 The Prime Minister said: “Our government is an inclusive government.”
“That means the disabled in the country will be recognized in the years to come.”
 Mr O’Neill said that the able-bodied people should be creating a barrier-free environment that is encouraging and supportive of people with disabilities.

Women’s report to UN missing

Post Courier
 4 Oct. 2012

A CRUCIAL report on the PNG government’s advice to the UN on sorcery and witchcraft killings and women’s political participation in PNG parliament, was never presented at the New York meet in July this year.
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) interim report for PNG, was never officially formulated and presented at the 52nd United Nation’s Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women meeting, in New York this year by representatives from the Department of Community Development. 
The PNG Government submitted its combined periodic CEDAW reports in 2010 and was tasked to report back in the 52nd session after recommending that sorcery and witchcraft killings and women’s political participation needed serious address.
 Two months after the New York meeting, senior officials who were tasked to present the report, returned tight lipped about the trip. 
One senior officer described the New York trip as a ‘shopping trip’.

Why discriminate against women?


Post Courier 4 Oct (Editorial)

In today’s paper we have a story about our Papua New Guinea country report on sorcery and witchcraft killings and participation of women in politics not being presented at the United Nations General Assembly. These two issues – killings related to sorcery and witchcraft and women participation in politics – are related and go to the core of how men, our culture, belief systems, our laws and government policies, programs and systems treat our womenfolk. 
Let us not forget that women – and that includes babies and girls – constitute about half of our population of seven million people.
 Two of the key legal instruments that bind PNG are the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and our own domestic law, Lukautim Pikinini Act, which is based on the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Children.
Former Community Development Minister Dame Carol Kidu spent her time as a politician doing her best and is credited for taking the cause of women and children to new heights in PNG and internationally.
 She has left behind a large vacuum in this regard.

PNG Needs to Build a Classroom Each Week

The National, 5 October 2012

The high population growth rate in the country will require Papua New Guinea to build one classroom per week to keep pace, AusAID head Stuart Schaefer says. Schaefer highlighted the critical situation when opening five double-storey dormitories at Divine Word University in Madang last Saturday. The dormitories were funded by AusAID’s PNG Incentive Fund at a cost of K8.3 million. Schaefer said PNG’s population growth rate was 3% annually and this was a high growth rate that was exerting pressure on social services like education. He said the high population growth rate would require PNG to build a classroom a week. Schaefer said an educated population was important for PNG to address the many socio-economic challenges like the increase in population, maternal health and safe motherhood, sustainable living and law and order.

Beware of kidnappers: Police

Post Courier 8 Oct. 2012

NATIONAL Capital District Metropolitan Superintendent, Peter Guinness, is appealing to all parents and child minders within the city to be alert and aware of their children’s movements at all times. 
Chief Supt Guinness made the call following at least five missing children reports filed at various police stations in the National Capital District within the last seven days.
 “Fortunately, two of those children have been recovered. One was a two-year-old child who “went missing” for eight days. The child was last seen with her mother at TST Supermarket in 4 Mile, NCD on September 27,” he said.

Mr Guiness said that in the case of the two-year-old, the parents of the child were called when the Police Media Unit made an appeal and offered a K1000 reward for the child’s return on the Crime Stoppers Program on EMTV. 
“Instead of getting the reward the young man, who we alleged had kidnapped the baby was apprehended by the Police Media Unit at Horse Camp in Kilakila and brought to Badili Police where he was charged,” he said.

Unemployment rate a big worry for govt


Post Courier 8 Oct. 2012

THE rate of unemployment in Papua New Guinea remains around 80 percent with the bulk of the potential workforce unemployed and remaining in subsistence farming-based communities. PNG’s unemployment numbers in the formal sector will remain and increase each year with 20,000 school leavers from high schools and secondary schools joining the informal sector each year. 
Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru said the trend would not change unless PNG successfully invested in and grew the Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) sector as other countries like Australia, England, Vietnam, Thailand and Taiwan have done. 
Mr Maru said Taiwan had recently announced that its SME sector employees were more than eight million people, which meant that its SME sector accounted for 90 percent of employment in the formal sector.
 Successive governments, since independence, have not developed and successfully implemented holistic and comprehensive strategies to develop the SME unlike other countries,”

Toni lashes out at fellow MPs, cronies

The National, 11 October, 2012

COMMUNITY Development, Youth and Religion Minister Loujaya Toni has taken to task fellow MPs and their cronies whose selfish attitudes are posing roadblocks to development, she says.
 A visibly angry Toni, claimed that some MPs had already lost focus to get into power.
 “There are people existing in the system of the government up at the top level right down to the district level who refuse to change, who refuse to except that time has moved on, that we have a new prime minister and new ministers in government,” Toni said. “I now understand the whole system and that some people refuse to change and that’s the problem. 
“I’m not up there to fill up my pockets and grow my tummy or go live in Cairns and spend money there.
 “I am concerned and can be proud that at the end of five years when I come back, at least Busulum compound and every other residential area (in Lae) has good electricity and water supplies and people live as human beings in good conditions  that is what I am concerned about,” she said. “I am getting angry because the system is a perfectly good system but people sitting in there don’t want to change.
 “I am asking every one of you to work with the councillors, work with presidents. The money and the legislation to make it happen is my problem, that is not your problem,” she said.

UN anxious about Manus refugees

Post Courier, Oct 12, 2012.

THE United Nations refugee agency has detailed five major concerns about Australia’s plan to send asylum seekers to Manus Island in the coming weeks.
 They include PNG’s failure to sign international treaties against torture and for the protection of stateless people or to formally withdraw seven reservations it has about the refugee convention.
The agency is also worried by the absence of national, legal, or regulatory framework to address refugee issues in PNG — or even laws or procedures for the determination of refugee status.
 In a letter to Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, welcomes a commitment from PNG to withdraw reservations about rights that would apply to those found to be refugees, but says “they remain extant at the time of writing.’’ 
Dated October 9, the letter also describes an absence in “any national capacity’’ in PNG to implement international obligations. The letter also highlights the agency’s reservations about the “no-advantage test’’ that is intended to apply to those sent to Manus Island and Nauru, whereby they will remain at these locations for the time it would have taken for them to be processed and resettled from transit countries.

Kua clams UNHCR assessment

The National, 15th October, 2012

ATTORNEY-GENERAL Kerenga Kua says the country’s legal system is equipped to deal with refugee processing and human rights issues  in the wake of a tough assessment by the United Nations.
Last Friday, Kua dismissed an assessment by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres that PNG lacked “any national capacity” to implement its international refugee obligations.
Australia is preparing to send refugees to a facility on Manus Island within weeks following negotiations with the government.
 “I refute that totally,” Kua told AAP.
 “I don’t see how one could possibly say that PNG has inadequate regulatory or legal framework to deal with the issues when we have one of the best constitutions in the world in as far as protection of human rights is concerned.

Dutch disease hits agro sector

The National, 12th October, 2012

THE dreaded Dutch disease has hit the manufacturing and agricultural sectors hard, a government advisory committee heard yesterday.
This phenomenon, also called the resource curse, is the damaging effect on an economy as a result of large inflows from the exploitation and export of natural resources, in PNG’s case – the liquefied natural gas project.
 Orrell said effects of the LNG and major mining and petroleum sectors, which he terms the extractive sector, would affect all cash crops and the forestry sector, but the palm oil industry would be most affected.
“Real appreciation of the kina (Dutch disease) will reduce the competitiveness of PNG produce in global markets and increase domestic costs of production,” he said.
“Although the massive PNG LNG project has not yet reached production phase, the impact of kina appreciation is already biting.
 The Manufacturers Council expressed similar sentiments.
 Council’s Chey Scovell said there has been a 35% appreciation of the kina against the US dollar which has hit manufacturers hard.

Students, celebrate without grog

Post Courier 16 Oct. 2012 (Letter)

Just two nights ago, as I was thinking about students in school, I thought of the many who would be in celebratory mood in these later months in the year. These days, the celebratory mood means there will be alcohol involved and a few other things.
If you are a student reading this, I hope you take note. Do not be reckless after exams this week. Yes, you can celebrate but do so with your family and without alcohol.
 Is it really necessary that people should celebrate after exams.
Shouldn’t they wait until after the grades and offers come out – and then celebrate?
Why celebrate with a party filled with alcohol (and other stuff) only to be told a few weeks later that you have flunked most of your subjects and will not continue the next term or semester?
 A  female colleague I agree that the time to celebrate is not when you  graduate but when you bring your first pay packet home. Even then, the contents of the pay packet (or the food it buys) must be shared by those who helped you get to where you are.
Even then, you should not be the one celebrating as in eating a lot. 
Let those who come to the table feast on what you bought. Celebrate with them by watching them eat what your sweat and hard work brought to you – and to them.
I think that is the more Papua New Guinean way to celebrate.
 PNG Tauna

Minister praises MAF’s efforts

The National, 18th October, 2012

CIVIL Aviation Minister Davis Steven has some generous words of appreciation and praise for the Missionary Fellowship Aviation for its contribution to the country over the past 61 years.
The MP for Esa’ala open said MAF was not just another ordinary airline company but, a “very special” one carrying out a “special role” in PNG.
 Speaking at the Kagamuga Airport yesterday about MAF’s dedicated service and celebrating the arrival of its new Cessna aircraft from Australia, Steven said: “I want to thank and congratulate MAF on behalf of the people in the country for playing a very significant role in serving the remote people where no other aircraft could serve.
 “I see a new partnership with MAF because this is not just another ordinary airline company.”
 Steven said MAF’s dedicated and committed service was highly appreciated.
MAF’s operation manager Patrick Williams said the new plane brought the total number of aircraft to 15 in the country.
He said MAF served 250 rural airstrips in the country.

Deterioration of public administration – views of eminent public servants

By Terence Wood, 21 Sept 2012. Devpolicy Newsletter July 7, 2012 (http://devpolicy.org)

Lynn Pieper’s  just released paper on public administration in Papua New Guinea is important – not just for the subject matter but also because it draws on a fascinating data source: the recollections of a small group of long-serving, respected, senior (or formerly senior) civil servants. These are informants who possess a wealth of inside knowledge born of lifetimes of experience, and Pieper does an excellent job of curating the information they share.

The third factor that the paper identifies is politics. Or, more specifically, the swallowing of the bureaucratic sphere by the political sphere in PNG: “Public resources increasingly became controlled by politics rather than public policy, and politicians began involving themselves in administration, project management, and senior [civil service] appointments.” Of all the forces behind declining public service performance in PNG, politics strikes me as the most important by a considerable margin. Ultimately, it is politicians who decide the rules governing the public service. And politicians shape the incentives that bureaucrats labour under. If politicians reward bureaucrats for performing well and providing high quality impartial advice, or at the very least don’t punish them, then good advice is likely to flow. And if politicians allow staffing in bureaucracies to be governed by meritocratic processes staff quality will likely improve. On the other hand, if they dole out positions on the basis of patronage quality will get worse. And this is what has happened in PNG.

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