2 Responses

  1. Anthony Higgins
    Anthony Higgins February 19, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Thanks John and David. Having also worked in the PNG Dept of Finance from 1988 to 1991, and again from 2001 to 2003, it was interesting (and disappointing) to get this update on the state of PFM. But I do think we are expecting too much from a single instrument like the PEFA. Political economy issues are clearly a major and binding constraint for PNG, and the PEFA is simply not designed to diagnose these let alone suggest how to address them. I have found this in various African and Pacific Island ministries of finance that I have been able work in over extended periods. In only a couple of cases (Tanzania and Samoa) could I clearly see progress, and in both these cases there was strong and sustained political ownership over a long period from both a President or Prime Minister, together with consistent engagement from committed DPs in the PFM space. Civil servants in MoF’s can subtly detect the difference in political rhetoric that is intended just for DP consumption, and when it is a serious statement of intent from their political masters – and they behave and respond to PFM reform accordingly.

  2. A Nicolson
    A Nicolson February 17, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Having worked in PNG Treasury for a couple of years until 2014 I can’t disagree with any of this. The core problem is that no-one ever gets punished for breaking the law, from Ministers down to petty clerks. Until that happens I hold out little hope.

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