AS I travel around the East Sepik Province I have been asked various questions and given challenges that centre largely on the people's need for a political paradigm shift so that income earning opportunities and job creation options become a reality.
I have various economically modelled & costed plans for provincial and district sectoral growth areas particularly in Agriculture. These require tax reform also.
Small produce is another key sector that will receive prominence. Our domestic food consumption needs must be reviewed and enabling commitments to our PNG small producers and farmers must be made now.
But this means carefully balancing our international trade obligations and existing binding agreements /export priorities with our primary responsibility to cater for food shelter and other basic sovereign responsibilities to our expanding population of PNG people.
My deliverable policies are focused on:
1. cocoa, coffee (in the highlands), timber, rubber, vanilla, copra, livestock, and the informal sector (buai, sago, galip, bananas, fish, taro etc and popular arts & craft industry); ecotourism and environmental protections including terrestrial solid waste management and in waterways.
2. small produce industry that can offer certain income earning guarantees for farming families. Factories and processing plants are essential to diversify industry, expand internal revenue and expand our tax base in the
province. We have fertile belts in our Sepik River region and Sepik Plains that require infrastructure inputs & development enablers like reliable and cost effective power (hydro or solar) & water supply
3. Creating the enabling environment for the province to borrow funds for domestic infrastructure development. This a mere legislative amendment to existing laws that limit provincial powers.
3. Tax credit schemes, sectoral incentives, fuel subsidies, tailored banking, and strategic priorities governing DSIP & PSIP,
4. Foreign policy review & robust aid policy design
But providing the political will to ensure that these modelled and costed investments in infrastructure and investments in development enablers is more urgent now than ever before in our history.
These investments include main and feeder roads (maintenance & repair), rural electrification, maritime transport, airstrips, bridges, wharves & jetties. These are priorities that MUST be resourced, monitored and appraised regularly through a robust reform agenda focused ultimately on the review of our ubiquitous parallel systems of delivery. (DDA, technical cooperation etc).
At the national level, voters must demand genuine service delivery by voting for a new parliament made up of MPs that understand the importance of reforms to the public service machinery; as a critical priority to enable efficiency given our diverse range of wants, needs and challenges.
Furthermore, these will require a steadfast commitment by all new MPs to introduce changes to legislation that in practice; reduce the ability of legislators to operate as public finance managers. This may be difficult to achieve.
Additionally, there is much to be done beyond securing a bold commitment to budget repair. Introducing tenable debt servicing & revenue earning strategies to arrest the disastrous economic decline of recent years will prove to the world we are serious about the sound economic management of our vast natural resource wealth and governance.
This is a clear issue of credibility now that remains central to our ability to legitimately and credibly borrow funds in the future when we have a realistic and actionable development agenda that is informed by the economic and social outcomes of our people, led by leaders and not politicians. Ultimately we need the high level technical support now to credibly reduce PNGs gaping deficit created by a reckless regime.
Balancing fiscal and monetary policy to manage inflation among other regulatory interventions like keeping the exchange rate buoyed will test the competency of the new PNG government.
Reigning in this government's decadent spending and illegal budgetary appropriation attitude will also test the next government's resolve to genuinely begin to share the benefits of our riches with our people.