The Strategist

Corruption Becomes A Barrier For Papua New Guinea’s Development

03/12/2015 - 16:01

Papua New Guinea fails to make any progress on the human development front in spite of its growth in GDP. What could be the possible reason?
IPS informs that it is due to the corruption level which has been brought to light by ITFS and other anti-corruption teams.

Sydney- 24 February 2015- Although GDP (Gross Domestic Production) rate of Papua New Guinea has seen a rise of eight percent, the highest on record, due to the wealth generated by the mineral resource market, but in the field of human development the country still sits at the bottom of the list, consisting of 187 countries, and is numbered the 157th one in the series.

The influential leaders of the corruption fighters hold corruption to be responsible for this issue as they claim that the control over the flow of money should be strengthened and the law should be stipulated and made more stringent towards black money makers. In fact the IPS reported the Transparency International chairman of (PNG), Lawrence Stephens saying:
“Our police officers, school teachers and health workers live and work in very squalid circumstances… So when we see the government awarding a contract for pharmaceutical and medical supplies to a company not qualified to tender, a company quoting a price 40 percent higher than the closest qualified tender and costing the equivalent of 160 new homes for nurses each year of the three-year contract, we blame corrupt individuals for destroying development.”

In the measurement scale for corruption wherein 100 is the yard stick for a “clean governance”, the Transparency International has assessed the country of Papua New Guinea to be twenty five out of hundred whereas the average is to be forty three out of hundred.

There have been instances of “Large-scale theft”, supporting the rating, in multiple government sections which includes sectors such as petroleum and energy, national planning, finance and justice and health department from where foreign contribution along with a large sum of public money has gone missing. As a result the government had created an inspection team of anti-corruption in the year of 2011, which was named the Investigation Task-Force Sweep, shortly called ITFS. The findings of ITFS brought into the light the fraud of an estimated amount of $2.8 billion, an equivalent to fifty percent of the “development budget”.

An inquiry of 2006 by Public Accounts Committee revealed that the Lands Department had functioned “illegally” by catering to the private companies due to obvious vested interest and a loss of $1.8 million was recorded in revenue expenditures. In fact, according to IPS report, only ninety one corruption cases of revenue have been addressed as oppose to a total of three hundred two still pending “under investigation” amounting to a revenue of $1.9 billion. Till date only $3.1 million have been recuperated whereas a shocking total of $187 million still remains hanging potentially. Moreover, a sum of $8.4 million has been uncovered by investigation which essentially stemmed from the illegal attempts of “tax evasion”.

Corruption, on the long run leaves a global effect, according to UNDP:
“corruption drains the developing world of up to one trillion dollars every year and what is lost is in the magnitude of 10 times the official development assistance budget”.

It is a recurring pattern which allows the country’s wealth to be enjoyed by a handful individual wherein the rest of the population is left with no choice. The battle against corruption has still a long way to see its end and in order to eradicate this malicious disease that cripples the government of a country the solution, according to IPS, that must be sought is to find a synthesis between a traditional governance style and the present style of western governance that is being introduced worldwide.