Leaders’ Summit: PM on Key Issues

The Prime Minister has delivered a speech this morning telling minsters, governors and heads of departments at today’s Leader’s Summit that failure is not an option in the implementation of the 2014 budget.

Speaking in Port Moresby, Peter O’Neill said the patience and tolerance of Papua New Guineans might eventually be exhausted if the government fails to deliver.


The summit follows on from a budget strategy meeting which was held at about the same time last year.


The PM’s presence at this meeting only affirmed the importance of the task ahead. 


The government has just 10 months left to implement a record K15 billion budget passed in November last year.


Also present at this meeting were nearly all the governors and ministers.  A notable absence was the Treasury Minister, Don Polye.


While there have been notable achievements in the last 12 months, the PM highlighted some major challenges ahead.


Those challenges include: crowded classrooms, Schools and Road construction, the increase in student numbers since the introduction of the free education policy, a new education curriculum that is yet to be put to use in the education system and the lengthy procurement process that is slowing down the awarding of road contracts.


The Prime Minister has also stressed the importance of having a diversified economy. That means having an economy that is not heavily dependent on mining and petroleum.


In many respects, the Prime Minister was echoing sentiments shared by commentators and critics of the former Somare government, who said Papua New Guinea should build its agriculture and manufacturing sectors and create economies of scale.


In the last 12 months, plunging mineral prices and a sliding kina have shaken policy makers and government planners. That is largely because a big part of the government hinges on mineral export revenue.


The PM has also drew attention to the state of the Works department, particularly, what used to be an active road construction and maintenance arm of the government.


He has also acknowledged the fact that the removal of the Works crews, and the government dependence on the private sector, has contributed to the deterioration of roads.   


The Prime Minister is allowing no room implementation failure. He has hinted at ministers present that the patience of the people might just run out if governments fail to deliver.

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