Four ministers and their respective secretaries have been tasked this week by the Prime Minister to immediately come up with an implementable plan to begin mobilising the youth of the country.

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has directed that this plan be drafted and be ready for launch by the end of next month with a submission to Cabinet in the next three weeks.

Minister for Community Development, Hon. Jason Peters; Minister for Commerce & Industry, Hon. Win Daki; Minister for Provincial & Local Level Government Affairs, Hon. Soroi Eoe; the new Minister for Administrative Affairs, Hon. Richard Masere; as well as respective departmental heads and the national statistician have been asked to work together to come up with a workable set of strategies that can address the increasing youth bulge in the country.

Prime Minister Marape has urged the leaders to look at engaging the Public Service branches in the districts right down to the Wards level to immediately register all young men and women of the ages of 15 years to 40 years as the first step to implementing the plan, while a Cabinet submission will also be made for a National Census this year.

The Prime Minister called the meeting with the ministers, departmental heads and the national statistician on Tuesday (30.01.24) afternoon to trigger some action within this long-neglected area of Youth Development which comes under the Department of Community Development.

A major concern coming from the Department for Community Development highlighted at the meeting was the need for an effective mechanism that could create pathways for youth development, directing young men and women into focus areas of government such as MSMEs, Agriculture and the renewable sector.

Strategies being considered is the full engagement of churches into the program to help develop character among youth, the establishment of a national youth service for the same purpose, and the creation of pathways into employment and self-employment.

Under the recently-launched Medium Term Development 4, the National Government has pledged to create a million jobs over the next five years and hit a K200 billion economy also by this time.

Secretary for Planning Koney Samuel said on Tuesday his department must now work with the Department for Community Development to relook at the National Youth Policy and try to have it capture what is contained in MTDP4. A team is currently working on the National Compulsory Service Program within his department.

Prime Minister Marape wants all PNG youth  to be registered through the NID, mobilized through conducting the National Census, and into becoming police, defence force and CIS reservists. A labour mobility program is also currently being negotiated with Australia for PNG youth to work on farms in Australia.

“What happened here in Port Moresby on the 10th of January is a signal to us that if we are not conscious and actively doing something to address this increasing youth bulge, we are not safe from destruction.

“Government must work to find the solutions for society. If not then we are all wasting our time,” PM Marape told the ministers and secretaries.

“We want to link the youth to become economically productive. Our definition of employment is that our youth must become productive.”