2 Responses

  1. Paul Barker
    Paul Barker April 6, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Bal, I think your views would find a lot of support in the CIMC NGI Regional Development Forum currently being concluded here in Kimbe..Arianne Kassman from TIPNG gave an excellent presentation on youth and the contribution they must make, including from her experience running the very lively and inspiring annual TI youth democracy camps. But, while a strong feedback from the Highlands Forum was to cut out impactical extra tiers of government, including DDAs, to enable more effective service delivery, in NGI a bigger focus has been on acknowledging the variations around the country and recognising the greater knowledge and capacity at the local level to address local needs: so ensure as much planning and administration occurs as close to the communities as possible, with very limited top down control and that national plans and policies should flow up from the community to the ward through to national plans. As WNB Health Authority urged Waigani, please don’t treat us as incompetent, let us plan and manage our funds locally and be locally accountable. ENBP is often shown as having strong local accountability mechanisms and traditions, and certainly the participating provincial and District administrators from the ENBP indicated a high level of responsiveness to local will, expressed both through traditional and recent ICT channels. That was endorsed by the Secretary for Public Service, observing some of the top down mechanisms and projects he’s observed imposed from the centre on districts and villages over the years, that turned into a fiasco. We’ll have the feedback from 7 break out groups in this NGI forum in the next half hour, on mechanisms for more effective civic participation, to making the system function, considering the cultural and geographical diversity and prevailing or prospective economic conditions.

  2. Bal Kama
    Bal Kama April 6, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Thank you Paul for this summation of what appeared to be an insightful symposium. Looking forward to reading the report. The Five Strategic Priorities, except the fifth point, appears to be top-down reforms or institutional-based. There is need for some bottom-up approach, I think i.e. how can we engage more with the people to find solutions. Perhaps it is covered under point 5.

    Also, the country needs to look at the future with the intention of moulding the young people so that they are not entrapped and sucked into these nation-crippling practices outlined in your reflection. I suggest an overhaul of the education system and the teaching curriculum at the primary and high school level so that students (the future generation) are exposed to notions of rule of law, transparency and accountability at an early stage. It would ensure these principles are deeply inculcated into their norms and behaviours.

    Currently, they are exposed to these issues at a later stage of their life e.g. in universities or workplace. Late exposure means the urge for rule of law, transparency and accountability does not find permanency compared to other underlying allegiance such as ‘wantokism.’ I am not saying people are inherently ignorant but for the majority, there is need for a sustained long-term exposure to think as a nation and reason out what is good for the nation (critical for a diverse tribally-driven country). The battle to revolutionise PNG must be fought at the lowest level with hearts and minds as much as at the highest echelons.

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