By Meriba Tulo – EMTV News, Port Moresby
On the eve of the country’s independence celebrations, the Public Employees Association (PEA) held its National Congress. Through the theme ‘Promoting a Healthy and Effective Public Service’ the congress brought together provincial executives to discuss issues relating to this public sector union.
Provincial presidents from around the country gathered at Gaire in Central Province recently for the Public Employees Association National Congress, the occasion, an opportunity to provide the pathway to PEA’s focus for the next three years.
The opening discussions included addresses from various stakeholders, including the Department of Personnel Management. Its Deputy Secretary acknowledged the progress being made in regards to discussions between the PEA and DPM in recent years through award agreements – the most recent which expires this year.
“whilst the current award agreement expires this year the PEA has shown restraint in not making demands to the Government for unsustainable pay rises because of the severe cash flow constraint – so we can see that the partnership established between the sector unions and the Government have proved to be of great value in these difficult times.”
Whilst the PEA has embarked on planning for the next three years, its President, Robert Kutapai, has acknowledged a key focus area for this public sector union in promoting an effective public service, something which the PEA will work towards.
“Productivity and efficiency in the public service is still being addressed after 44 years of independence and the public administration of this country is still at the crossroads. Attempts to revitalise the public service and reinvent the wheel of the public administration has been futile with no tangible outcome to escape public scrutiny and criticism.”
The Congress was also reminded of their responsibilities, with Industrial Registrar, Helen Saleau, also addressing the occasion. According to Ms Saleau, the PEA needs to ensure that its rules are compliant with its constitution – with improvements expected in efforts to promote a more efficient public service.
In order to be successful we must also ensure that our public servants are properly skilled and resourced in order to deliver the promises the Papua New Guinea vision 2050 direction for the country to attain for our dream to be smart, wise, fair , healthy and happy society by 2050. In order to do that ensure that your rules and constitution of the public employees association comply with the law; the industrial organizations act.”