Acting Chief Secretary to Government, Ambassador Isaac Lupari has today spoken of the need to reform the nation’s public service to address the threat that the current system presents to national unity and security.
“For too long our nation’s public service has been allowed to grow unchecked without appropriate accountability. It has become “Waigani centric” and removed from the people and it no longer serves the purpose it was established to fulfil”, the Acting Chief Secretary said.
The Chief Secretary noted that there is no longer a single, cohesive national public service.
“As public service leaders we find ourselves trying to manage three different public services structures, at the National, Provincial and District levels. There is no cohesive approach to service delivery. No reform or policy development. Controls are lacking and appointments and recruitment are based on association rather than merit. And discipline is poor without sufficient investment in skills development and training.
“ The system is broken. At all levels we see appointments based on political affiliation and place of birth. At the provincial and district level, where 99% of public servants in provincial administrations and 95% in the districts come from within, we see a continued decline in services. This extends also to our police service, schools, and health clinics. There is no diversity, no outside perspective, and a lack of innovation in service delivery. Public servants have become territorial. They act on self-interest rather than the interests of the nation, and they have failed miserably to deliver for the very public they serve. We spend K4.6 billion each year on the public service payroll, but we see very little by way of return” Ambassador Lupari said.
The Acting Chief Secretary noted that the current public service structure must change, and that in its current form it poses a threat to national unity and security.
“We cannot transform our nation unless we have the systems, processes and skilled public sector workforce required to deliver the services our people need”, the Acting Chief Secretary said
Ambassador Lupari suggested that public sector reform must remain a priority and that there was a need for a comprehensive capability review.
“We must invest in practical skills-based training and recruit young capable Papua New Guineans based on merit, not association, political affiliation or place of origin. A stable and capable public service is critical to the unity and long term economic and social security our nation”, Ambassador Lupari said.