Prime Minister Urges Strategic Delivery on Economic Priorities

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has strongly urged the Treasury, Finance, and National Planning departments to strategically and effectively deliver on key government priority areas for Papua New Guinea’s economic development. He said politicians will come and go but public service will remain, so they must work to achieve results.

Speaking today at a government executive meeting involving departmental secretaries and other senior public servants from the National Planning, Finance, and Treasury departments, as well as the Chief Secretary to Government and Department of Prime Minister & NEC senior staff, Prime Minister Marape stressed that while the departments have been reporting on relevant issues and problems, he challenged them to devise solutions for the future.

Prime Minister Marape emphasised that the three key Departments of National Planning, Treasury, and Finance, in collaboration with the Department of Prime Minister and NEC, form the core of the “engine room” driving change for PNG’s economic transformation. As the country prepares to celebrate 50 years of Independence next year and looks ahead to the next 50 years, he urged these departments to function effectively and cohesively to achieve economic independence.

The Prime Minister stated: “These key government departments need to be functioning effectively and in cohesion to achieve goals for economic independence of our country. We need to clearly know how we have fared with implementation of the government budgets over the last five years, key performance indicators, how the money has been substantially spent with the respective projects in the provinces and districts, and how best we can improve so that we transform our economy as per the Government’s vision and guidelines that have been set through Medium-Term Development Plan IV and other priorities of this Pangu-led government.

“We inherited a struggling and fragile economy in 2019. And we are trying our best on the political front to set the right path for the country for the next 50 years. And our public service machinery responsible for the economic development of our nation must deliver nothing less than quality.”

He reiterated the importance of learning from countries like South Korea, which transformed from one of the poorest countries in the world to the 11th biggest economy, with a GDP per capita of over US$33,000. In contrast, PNG, which had a higher GDP per capita than South Korea in 1975 when it gained independence, now has a GDP per capita of just about US$4,000.

“If South Korea can transform its economy in a short span of time, with very limited land and other natural resources, Papua New Guinea has enormous potential to do a whole lot better given the resources that we have,” Prime Minister Marape said.

“The key is in our effective delivery of key performance areas for our economy through coherent collaboration and with a transformation-driven mindset and approach. There is a lot for us to do. So, let’s get down to business and not be distracted by the political situations that seem to be surfacing every now and then. We must deliver for our people.”