PNG PEER REVIEW: Attitude and drive key to success says Vanuatu expert

[Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea] With the right attitude, qualifications, caliber and drive, Papua New Guinea can have strong planning, budgeting and service delivery to the grassroots people.

This was the opinion of the Vanuatu member of the Papua New Guinea Peer Review team, Mr Johnson Naviti Marakipule, following his visit of Kokopo in the province of East New Britain last week.

Mr Naviti is the head of the Vanuatu Government’s Aid Coordination and Negotiation Unit within the Office of the Prime Minister. He joins a team of planning, budgeting and aid delivery experts from Samoa, Solomon Islands and New Zealand currently in Papua New Guinea at the request of the Government to carry out a Peer Review of development coordination.

The team held consultations in the provinces of Madang and East New Britain last week.

“When I was first informed of my appointment to the Papua New Guinea Peer Review team, I asked myself, how you could compare Vanuatu to Papua New Guinea, mindful of the sheer scale of this good nation’s population and resource base,” said Mr Naviti.

“But since we embarked on this exercise, which began in Port Moresby two weeks ago, I have come to appreciate that the principle structures of planning, budgeting and resource obligations are the same, whether in Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, or elsewhere in the region; regardless of the resource base and magnitude of issues. You have your nation’s vision, your national plan, medium term development plan; you have your corporate and business plans and your annual budgets. Once you have these aligned you are bound to ensure effective service delivery to the people and achieve your national vision.”

Mr Naviti remarked that before arriving in East New Britain, he had heard that it was one of the best performing provinces in Papua New Guinea.

“This is indeed the case, and I believe it is so largely because of the attitude of the people,” he said. “While there remain some challenges, the provincial and district-level administration officials we met this week seem to have the right attitude, qualifications and caliber to go that extra mile to effect established systems and processes to deliver services to their people.”

Mr Naviti asserted that the level of success in service deliver in East New Britain could be accomplished in all provinces of Papua New Guinea.

“While I have not had the liberty to visit other parts of the country, following discussions with officials in the nation’s capital district and East New Britain, I believe the systems are already in place. The challenge remains in finding people with the right attitude and drive to effectively deliver services on the ground.”

East New Britain is a province north-east of Papua New Guinea’s largest island of New Britain with a population of approximately 271,000 (2011 est.). Kokopo is East New Britain’s capital described as ‘an optimistic town’ having ‘risen from the ashes’ after the old capital of Rabaul was devastated from volcanic eruptions in 1994.

Papua New Guinea has 20 provinces, one autonomous region (Bougainville) and the National Capital District. Each province consequently has at least one or more districts, and each district has one or more Local Level Government (LLG) areas.

The Peer Review team will present their preliminary findings and recommendations to the Government at the conclusion of their consultations next week.

Peer Reviews, established under the Forum Compact by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in 2009, are an opportunity for mutual learning between Forum Island Countries to assist with improving their planning, budgeting and delivery of development programmes.

PNG is the eighth country to undertake the Forum Compact peer review process after Nauru, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Niue, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Tonga.

(Ends)

For further information please contact Mue Bentley Fisher at the Forum Secretariat via mueb@forumsec.org.fj.