According to the PNG Chamber of Mines, PNG relies heavily on resource extraction and foreign aid and development assistance to deliver economic growth, promote social development and address pressing issues of poverty, healthcare, education, and infrastructure development.
But this analysis is self-serving and ignores economic and social realities.
PNG’s real mainstream economy is the rural-based economy . If we are to understand the real meaning of development and build a better future for Papua New Guinea, we need to start by recognizing and then building and strengthening our real mainstream economy.
Resource extraction and unrestrained capitalism is a foreign idea that has been imposed on PNG from outside and is the root cause of many problems in the country.
It is now 48 years since independence but our economic and social development outcomes have never matched people’s aspirations or government promises despite our being a resource-rich nation and the promises of the Chamber of Mines.
It essential for PNG to transition from a poorly performing resource-based economy and to grow other productive sectors based around the rural economy to support and sustain our communities.
The compressive and objective review of facts and figures presented in the report From Extraction to Inclusion by Jubilee Australia, Oakland Institute, and ACT NOW! emphasizes the urgency for PNG to change course and put People back at the center of its development policies.
PNG must find a better model for her development that relies on Papua New Guinean Ways to ensure a “Gutpela Sindaun Bilong Olgeta”. Starting from the National Goals and Directive Principles in our Constitution.
ACT NOW! has identified five key areas that will help create a gutpela sindaun bilong olgeta.
1. Greater Localization of Decision
Making Corruption is thriving and poor choices are being made because decision-making and expenditure is concentrated in Waigani where there is no accountability. Greater localization of decision-making and control over expenditure will give local people and institutions a voice and improve accountability and transparency.
2. More Equal Distribution of Wealth
There is a deliberate and systematic theft of our resources by foreign corporations and the outrageous accumulation of wealth by a few greedy individuals. Our government must
- Properly resource the newly formed Independent Commission Against Corruption to tackle the stealing, and
- not approve any new large-scale resource projects until a full analysis of current operations and measures to ensure transparent, fair and equal distribution of all the costs and benefits have been completed.
3. Protection of Land
Unscrupulous foreign corporations and greedy Papua New Guineans are stealing land, breaking up communities and depriving them of their sustenance using corrupt officials, lies, and violence. Customary and state land must be protected and there must be no further land alienation or land registration schemes.
4. Promotion of Local Businesses and Industries
Successive governments have discriminated against local enterprises by failing to provide protection, proper infrastructure, and technical and financial support. The government must recognize our future is an economy based on Papua New Guinean people and values. The government must actively promote local skills and industries by providing protection, investment, and incentives.
5. Quality Education and Healthcare
The healthcare and education conditions for staff, students, and patients are shameful and appalling. The government must provide quality facilities and access to free quality healthcare and free quality education for all.
For more information please visit our website: www.actnowpng.org