Papua New Guinea is heavily reliant on revenues from the development of its abundant natural resources, which are owned by the country and its people.
Prudent management and development of the resources is the key to achieving sustained economic growth and development of this nation and its citizens. It will enable PNG to progress and achieve the status of a developed country.
Some of the obvious cases where politicians and their associates have made very poor decisions and sold the interest of this nation are in the development of mineral, petroleum, and gas resources.
The favourable and generous tax and other concessions granted to the PNG LNG Project and Ramu Nickel project, and the fast-tracking of project agreement negotiation and conclusion for some of the large gas and mining projects by way of signing of memorandum of agreements (MOUs) in recent times, is a clear demonstration that politicians are selling this nation very fast without due care.
The fast rate of growth in the nation’s debt in recent years is mainly a result of declining revenues from natural resources, and is a consequence of the poor judgment and decisions by our politicians and their associates.
This debt will consume all future revenues and the current and future generations of PNG will struggle to make ends meet.
There will come a time when PNG will deplete its natural resources and the nation will decelerate into poverty and despair, with all sort of social and economic problems, if our politicians continue to make poor judgment and decisions on economic policy and commercial interest of our country.
They key issues resulting in the on-going poor judgment and decisions are following:
– Politicians do not have the experience and technical skills for dealing with complex policy matters and commercial operations, which lends them easily susceptible to strong influence and control of interested parties and project developers;
– Government institutions lack institutional capacity and technical skills for dealing with complex policy matters and commercial operations, which lends them easily susceptible to strong influence and control of interested parties and project developers; and
– The lack of good governance resulting in the lack of transparency and accountability in dealing with complex policy matters and commercial operations. This compounds poor judgment and decisions made by Government bureaucrats and politicians.
The solution is to make the negotiation and decision making process of natural resources development in PNG become a fully transparent and accountable process. This also means that any relevant documents will become publicly available and accessible for use by the public. It will assist improve the quality of judgment and decisions made by the politicians and their associates.