O’Neill and his party PNC promises the country that it will borrow more and burden us with more public debt if returned to office. Alas Papua New Guinea cannot be built on a mountain of debt. The immediate real cost of the O’Neill Government’s addiction to debt is a tax by stealth on economic growth.
The O’Neill Government’s spending on “awe and envy” NCD infrastructure with poor net returns whilst allowing our rural people to languish in hardship from drying funds for much needed goods and services betrays the deficit of the O’Neill government not only in public finances but also in its morals. The cost of the very large new NCD roads exceeds the annual revenue for all those provinces outside NCD and Morobe. This gives perspective to the gross inequity and misallocation of resources.
The O’Neill government has been quick to spruik it’s free education or TFF policy whilst failing to acknowledge the decline in quality of education as a result. The O’Neill Government’s own 2017 National Budget points out the failure as well as other independent agencies and commentators.
As a nation we have a moral duty to address the deficit of opportunities that Papua New Guinean girls and women have and to empower them to realize their potential. Most of our girls and women live in a world they don’t want or deserve – it is time to be bold for change.
Not only is the fall in nominal national revenue concerning as it indicates weak economic performance but it will lead to a greater decline in the real per person level of grants provinces receive for fiscal equalization.
Whilst the significant increase in access to basic education is commendable this seems to have come at the cost of quality of education. The surge in enrollments has not been matched by a commensurate funding increase to support additional school infrastructure, materials and teacher development training. Now the Government expects teachers to suffer a real cut to their wages despite their teaching burden doubling. An erosion in the quality education will have profound effects at a personal and national level.
The O’Neill Government has gone backwards with gender leadership by reducing the number of women in the most senior leadership positions within the public service. Gender inclusion in CACC leadership has fallen. It is time for the incoming government to be bold for change.
The conditions necessary to satisfy an upgrade in the credit rating given by Moody’s have not been satisfied by the O’Neill Government despite the political rhetoric by the government. The twin challenges of budget difficulties and international reserve pressures are going to need some steel by the new Parliament to take the tough decisions to repair our budget and strengthen the external position of our economy.
I show using official statistics and government budget projections that claims that O’Neill, whilst PM, doubled the size of the economy are lies.
Delivering basic education is a challenge for Government and for small remote communities in Papua New Guinea. Here I share some of these challenges faced by the people of Rai Coast District in Madang Province.