Friday, November 18, 2011

PNG lacks economic independence: PM

Source: Postc Courier, November 18, 2011
By TODAGIA KELOLA
PAPUA New Guinea’s challenge now is to be economically independent, says Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
Speaking in Rabaul yesterday during the launching of the Mataure Rabaul Microfinance Limited (MRML), Mr O’Neill said the country has had political independence, among other things, but he questioned if that had changed the lives of the ordinary people, adding that only a few people had benefitted.
He said the 2012 National Election was far more important than previous elections as it should ensure that PNG had economic independence so that by 2014, the country would have enormous wealth.
“…..but if we continue to elect irresponsible governments or if we continue to elect corrupt governments, we will miss that opportunity,” he said.
Mr O’Neill said that PNG must learn from previous projects in the country which included world class mines such as the Panguna mine in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and the current Ok Tedi and Lihir mines.
“The revenues that we have got from these mines have been mismanaged as such that we don’t even have any money now,” he said.
He said that was why the Government was trying to make sure the little resources that it got money from to make up the budget was distributed evenly around the country.
Mr O’Neill said PNG must learn from the mismanagement of revenues from resource projects over the years and the Government believed strongly that they must make sure that they put a law around the management of these funds.
The Prime Minister said the Government would be setting up a fund management law in the next session of Parliament.
He said it was important that PNG had to have a law to manage funds and reports could be made every three months.
Mr O’Neill told those who gathered at the launch yesterday that he had nominated former PM and Kokopo MP Sir Rabbie Namaliu to head the fund.

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