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The Bilum digital reporting system introduced by the Department of Implementation and Rural Development will strengthen accountability, transparency and ultimately improve service delivery for the rural populace.

The Bilum Platform initiative is built by incorporating the governance framework of the service improvement program (Provincial and District Services Improvement Program – PSIP & DSIP) to ensure it maintains compliance.

Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Conservation Simon Kilepa highlighted this during the opening of the four days Bilum Digital Platform awareness, testing and familiarization for sub-national administrations of lower highlands region covering Eastern Highlands Province, Simbu and Jiwaka in Goroka yesterday.

“Lack of Good Governance is one of the main contributing factors of corruption. Papua New Guinea is below the satisfactory levels set by the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), according to a report submitted by Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) in 2011. TIPNG’s report found that in many cases, anti-corruption bodies in PNG were restricted by shortcomings in financial resources. In the 2022 Index, Papua New Guinea scored 30 and ranked 130th which is far worse,” Kilepa said.

Minister Kilepa said service improvement program (SIP) is a minute component of the national development budget and yet a bigger slice appropriated to establish service delivery enablers every year at the sub-national level since 2013.

“Over these many years, the SIP has done wonders to some provinces and districts while there is no visibility of impact development and service delivery for others.

“I perceived that this Bilum Digital Platform will also aid effective monitoring, evaluation and reporting of the SIP funds. All of this is part of good governance, address abuse and mismanagement of development SIP funds. I also think that, the Bilum Digital Platform has the capacity to also report on other development programs like Public Investment Programs, Section 119 and Section 114 reports though we have jurisdictional boundaries that guide these reports,” Kilepa added.

He said the Government of PNG in its quest to improve good governance initiative have countless legislative and structural reforms for example Whistle Blowers Act, Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and the forth coming National Monitoring Authority (NMA) to name a few, all these initiatives need appropriate real time data for the government to make appropriate decision, to assess if these reforms are working or not.

“Bilum Digital Platform is leading in this space to capture the development and service delivery data across the 22 provinces and 96 districts, and I think that it will be the second biggest Integrated Information Management System to Integrated Financial Management System- IFMS in this country,” Mr Kilepa said.

The Minister said DIRD Bilum Digital Platform is not just a digital tool, it is the embodiment of Government aspiration for a transparent, accountable and efficient Papua New Guinea to improve our ranking. This platform promises to be the cornerstone for the future National Monitoring Authority under MTDP 4.

He stressed that with the theme of “Improving Good Governance through Digital Innovation in collaboration with all stakeholder” ask for effective coordination between the three tires of the governments. Its common knowledge that there is pervasive breakdown in Good Government meaning that there is lack of accountability and transparency in both the technocratic and political level in our country.

Mr Kilepa further added that the role of DIRD in overseeing, coordinating, and reporting the GoPNG’s policies and priority programs, specifically SIP, is no small feat. With vast geographical and demographic challenges, the responsibility to support equitable rural development across Papua New Guinea is truly paramount. DIRD have recognized the gaps, they’ve understood the challenges, and they act upon them in collaboration with other stakeholders.

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