|Subject: Re: Enga needs to review its leadership in 2007 - PC Viewpoint
Ipili Watch Dog
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Date Posted: Thu, May 10 2007, 07:30:26pm
In reply to:
From Postcourier Viewpoint
's message, "Enga needs to review its leadership in 2007 - PC Viewpoint" on Mon, Apr 30 2007, 10:12:49am
Please read what the Leader of the Star Alliance Party has written. I believe it will motivate you to make a right choice for Engan Leaders this election.
For Example, In Laigap/Porgera Philip K Kikala (Laiagam) and Bill K Kuala (Porgera)are man who share simililar interllectual sentiments with this Author. We need these type people of such calibre regardless of which Party they are from.
Lets educate our village people NOW. Not to cast their votes because a candidate has given them K100.00 or the candidate is a rich man with 10 Land Crushers, etc, etc.
Why cant we vote for poor candidate who has heart and visions for the people of Enga
Wake up Engan Interllectuals, It's now or never ........!!!!
PNG in the year 2020
Dr Clement Waine (PhD)
We have just ushered in the New Year 2007. The ink recording the resolutions for the New Year on the crumbled papers are yet to dry up. I would gladly join in the fanfare but this time I want to raise a point for national discussion. What will PNG be like in the year 2020? I am compelled to ask this question because this is the year to change the guards across the land.
In order to prospect the future, history will always be the guiding post that enables us to extrapolate beyond the present. The year 2020 is only 13 years away. Children that are born now will be reaching puberty and high on hormones, driving their parents crazy. What will their world be like? What sort of country will we, as a collective nation, create for them?
PNG was formed in the crucible of time and space. Within the last 30 years, we have evolved from a nation of countless tribes into a form of democracy that we call PNG. We have achieved much in the process. Our democracy has not faltered along the lines of ethnic fissures as experienced elsewhere around the world and in our region. We have treaded, so many times, around the rim of the abyss. Yet, we have pulled back every time. Our democracy is unique. Based on our own understanding of the world outside of our shores and our own understanding of the intricate uniqueness that characterizes our nation, we remain resolute to make this country truly unique in every sense of the word. Our democracy is best described as the Unity in Diversity.
The forefathers who stood at the Independence Hill that 16th day of September 1975, over 30 years ago, have fallen silent, one by one, as their Maker beckons them on. A new generation has risen up to take their places. The baton has been passed on.
My contemporaries and I, slightly older than the nation itself, have lived through the triumphs and dismays. Our own progresses in life are testaments to what the nation is capable of achieving and the product of our own choices – decisions we made when we came to the fork in the road. We count ourselves as the generation that caught the glimpse of the past and stood the test of time to tell a story. We lived through the brief decadence of the 1980s and enlisted in colleges during the traumatic periods of the 1990s. Our parties did not last into the twilight hours. A new generation arrived on the scene – the generation X. They were reared under the deteriorating social undercurrents.
The progress of PNG can be summarized briefly in the following words. In 1970s, the buzzwords were independence and nationalization. I remember the days of live-bands rocking the nights in the villages of Simbu and my older compatriots succumbing to their emotions and losing their innocence. It was a brief moment of exuberance. In the 1980s, the buzzwords were mining projects. Terms such as joint venture, equity participation and royalties were bandied around. Other terms that become ubiquitous in our national lexicon were corruption, bribery and commission of inquiry. The Bougainville Crisis started towards the end of that decade and new terms were phrased: insurgency,
revolution and civil war. Unlike many nations around the world, PNG became independent without bloodshed but was spilling blood to maintain its sovereign integrity.
The terminologies in the 1990s were varied, highlighting the traumatic episodes onrushing upon PNG: structural adjustments, user-pay, currency devaluation, secession, Sandline mercenaries, military revolt, El Nino, Kina parity against US Dollar, dollar diplomacy, Orogen IPO, Cayman Island, Cairns Conservatory, leadership tribunal, NPF saga, pyramid money schemes, just to name a few. Two groups of people emerged during the 1990s – those who were traumatized by the upheavals and those that were shielded from them by the web of social support. In colleges, we found words to describe the former group. If you fell on the extreme fringes you were labeled “psycho” and those who ascended above the fringes were called “con-men”. These words have now become ubiquitous and entered the national dialect.
The first few years of the 21st century were phenomenal. Reforms to the political system and financial institutions were enacted. The iconoclastic changes instituted by the Mekere government saw the consignment of PNGBC and Orogen to the annals of history. The Chief came back to power and became the Grand Chief. This is the first time PNG had one government for a full parliamentary term. The economy has rebounded on the back of the bullish commodity prices from its doldrums in the 1990s. There is an element of confidence that is rising in the national psyche. The buzzwords now are privatization, good governance, MTDS, macroeconomic stability, green revolution (whatever that means!), fiscal responsibility, political stability, integrity laws on political parties, and the LPV.
Maintaining the status quo
In the year 2020, when we make it there, what will PNG be like? If we conduct our affairs on the “business-as-usual” attitude in the intervening years the following scenario will be presented to us.
The population will have reached over 7 million people. Of this, over a million people will have become infected with HIV and we will have already buried few hundred thousand AIDS victims, most of whom would be in their productive lives. The economic loss from these deaths will be significant. Presently, the rampaging scourge of HIV infections has gone unabated for far too long in spite of efforts to stem it. A brand new message is needed, immediately.
All the major mining and petroleum projects will have already wound up their operations. Much of their activities will be deployed around mine site rehabilitations. The mineral boom days of the 1980s will have gone bust by 2015. In the year 2020, PNG will have been already in the post-bust days. This will severely erode the government’s revenue base. The shock would be far worse than that of the 1990s when Bougainville Copper ceased operations due to insurgency.
The unsustainable social changes rummaging across the land like a hungry pig will have resulted in catastrophic internal strife. This will be exacerbated by the brutality of the gun
culture that is taking over the rule of law in towns and villages across PNG. Before the year 2020 PNG will have been half-ruled by gun-trotting warlords. Already, I have seen them becoming the law unto themselves in parts of the Highlands. This is the sure sign of a very bad omen falling upon the land! Before the year 2007 is over, SHP will be another Iraq and whatever remained of Mendi will make Baghdad look like a school yard playground. People affected by the gun riddled ethnic conflicts, often stemming from failed political processes, are already crowding into towns and cities. They are putting more pressure on the infrastructure that was built during the colonial days to cater for a small population and have become dilapidated over 30 years of neglect. This situation will be exacerbated in July 2007. If you think squatter settlements in Port Moresby are already getting out of control, be assured that you have not seen the worst of it yet. The nation will witness an explosion of internally displaced people.
With the government already running out of ideas to expand its revenue base (the ridiculous notion that concessions create impetus for growth is a fallacy), and the impending explosion in the population growth that is already outpacing real GDP growth, and the irreversibly adverse social changes, the nation is already sitting on a time-bomb. It will have exploded before the year 2020.
Unable to meet its obligations, and pressured by the growing population and the dwindling resources, the government will be forced to crawl on its hands and knees to the international donors. The country will go into a tailspin of borrow and spend modus operandi, plunging further and deeper into debt and shackled down forever. The current crop of leaders does not appreciate the immensity of the debt burden. In the last budget speech, debt was consigned as affordable and constituting about 48% of GDP. In actuality, debt in real Kina terms has not declined significantly. The decline was a reflection of the corresponding decline in dollar terms. The current government shifted the debt burden towards the domestic side. It currently holds the record for exploding the domestic debt from low of K200 million to over K2.0 billion in just three years. The government is borrowing and spending people’s current savings.
In the next few years, the commodity prices will head south. Even if the prices decline slowly, all the extractable resources will have already been depleted. This will dampen the mood in PNG. The government currently has exhausted its goodwill with the donor agencies and has already saturated the domestic debt market. It will be faced with two dire choices – declare PNG bankrupt or default on debt repayments. Either choice will have severe ramifications. Government defaulting on the domestic debt will be the powder keg exploding. People will lose their savings and will take to the streets. The NPF saga was the near-perfect simulated forerunner. Chaos will be the norm of the day. International communities will shun PNG and conducting business overseas will be reduced to personal contacts.
The unemployment rate will have risen to historically high levels. Students now in primary and high schools will be coming out of colleges with inks wet on their degrees and diplomas. They will join the queue for employment and some will turn to crimes as a way of life. Any semblance of human decency will be a luxury not many will afford.
Parents sending their children to school with the hope that these “investments” will repay in kind later will only be frustrated.
By the year 2015, the plebiscite on Bougainville’s Independence from PNG will have been successful by the tiniest margin of 50.001%. Bougainville will be independent from PNG and a new nation will have already joined the club of nations at the UN by the year 2020. The result will embolden the simmering hopes of independence by other provinces and regions. Balkanization (fragmentation) will have been already underway in PNG by 2020.
No government in the last 30 years has made any concerted efforts to realign the formal and non-formal sectors in order to tap into the productive capacities of the 85% of the people that are currently engaged in the informal economy. This segment of the population is not planned for when the Central Bank projects its annual targets for inflation and unemployment rates. It is a blemish against all governments.
Since independence, there have been no systematic efforts by successive governments to improve the physical linkages of the country. Majority of the provincial centers were connected only by air at independence and still are today. There are no major roads and highways linking the different regions and the existing ones are overtaken by bushes – a tragic demonstration of a country that has already lost its sense of direction. Telecommunication links have not improved since the 1980s in spite of expensive transfer and deployment of newer technologies. We are now a country that is isolated within. If we cannot improve the linkages in the last 30 years during the good times – the boom days – what do we expect to see in the post-bust days of the 2020?
When we arrive at the year 2020, historians will look back and say that the year 2007 was a watershed in PNG’s history. The people of PNG took their destiny and that of their children into their own hands and cast the lot for a momentous shift away from the status quo. The time for mediocrity, personality cult, and business-as-usual had ended in 2007. A new era was ushered in.
The buzzwords that characterize the post-2007 PNG must include the following: Information Technology (IT) and Biotechnology (BT), political stability and political will, economic growth and prosperity, and a new social order. Importantly, it will require political will to create these buzzwords and in a very tangible way. There is no magic formula. The power to create the future is in the hands of the people. They will decide what type of future they create for themselves and their children. The time for political experiment over the last 30 years is over. The year 2007 marks the turning point.
The world today is driven increasingly by Information Technology. Those who learn to create and manage the associated technologies are deciding how businesses are conducted, how countries are governed and how wealth is created. Fifty years ago, a drug-riddled and corrupt government was running Taiwain. In 1975, at the time PNG became independent, that country enforced rigorous university entrance examinations and
placed emphasis on science education. Thirty years later it is one of the world’s leading exporters of IT-related products and in the process became one of the most prosperous nations. In the 1960s, Singapore was the backwaters of Malaysia, the poorest state located on the Malay Peninsula. When it became independent in August 1965, it was not considered to be a viable country. Even the Sydney Morning Herald wrote in August 1965 that “an independent Singapore was not regarded as [a] viable [country]…” That country faced immediate mass unemployment, housing shortages, lack of lands and natural resources. It turned all that around to become the world’s city enjoying the highest standard of living in the world. The magic was a progressive leadership that placed more emphasis on education and focused investments on IT-related areas. Recently, the Singapore government invested heavily in biotechnology and medical care. By the year 2020, it will become the regional hub of top-notch medical care available to those that can afford them. Malaysia is catching up now. The Mahathir government has invested in telecommunications, infrastructure and cyber cities and has had some successes. The former PM Dr Mahathir visited PNG for the second time, exactly 30 years after PNG’s independence. It was his last overseas trip as PM and he returned with dissatisfaction after seeing the disparity between how far Malaysia had progressed and how further PNG had regressed within the same time period.
In the 1960s, the wealthiest companies and individuals were industrialists. In 1990s, the wealthiest companies and persons were those involved in the service industry. By the year 2000, the top three wealthiest persons in the world were selling software and other IT products.
Biotechnology is an emerging field. Great strides have been made in this field in the last two decades. There are more opportunities for growth. We have yet to see the best of it yet. Students studying in these areas will come out and create the next generation of wealth. In fact, they will be the next billionaires the world will create.
There is an emerging aphorism: English is the lingua franca of the business world and it has 26 letters of the alphabet. How you combine and construct these letters derives different meanings. The language of the IT is derived from two numeric codes – zeros and ones – and how these binary digits are arranged gives a powerful translation and drives much of what we do today. The language of BT is derived from the four letters of the genetic code – A, T, G and C. How we compose and construct these letters will determine how the world will be run in the year 2020 and beyond. If we invest in this field now, in the year 2020 we will be amongst those who are leading the rest of the world. The Australian state of Queensland is the fastest growing state in that country because it has a progressive government that expanded its investments in BT. It is the only state where new agricultural crops can be tested in Australia. In recognition of the new opportunities available to them, the voters returned the government of Premier Peter Beatie in the recent elections with an overwhelming majority. That State is now posed to take on the world with cutting edge science in the BT sector.
In the last 30 years PNG has focused more on the mediocre political horse-trading in parliament and in the process, we wasted our time, resources and losing our focus and
direction on national strategies. PNG now needs political will to address the serious issues and to refocus our efforts into areas of growth and future opportunities for the nation. PNG has drifted aimlessly through the IT-era and into the BT-era. There are few people in PNG who can speak the IT and BT languages. Knowledge is power but it is the application of this knowledge that is much, much more powerful. It is a great pity, a travesty of the national sovereignty, that not many politicians and department heads in PNG appreciate the power of IT, as demonstrated by their lack of knowledge in basic end-user applications such as sending and receiving e-mails. In fact, I suggest that this should be one of the demarcating features for the people of PNG to break with the past and embrace the future.
Science education in PNG must take a directed approach. Emphasis should be placed on the IT and BT-related areas. New generation of workers must arrive on the scene in the year 2020 with skills and knowledge in IT and BT to propel this country beyond the 21st century. PNG can go into BT with a solid foundation. We have the abundant biodiversity and we now have the critical mass of expertise that can do the work. What is lacking is the political will to take it to the next level and make it happen.
Over 35,000 years ago, PNG was the first place in the world to start the agricultural civilization. This happened when Europe and the rest of the world were still hunting and gathering. Reporting in the July 2003 issue of the international journal Science, archaeologist and scientist unearthed evidence that Kuk Valley in WHP was where agriculture started. Over the intervening years, we lost that civilization and eventually were colonized. If our politicians are serious then we can invest in BT and regain that position as a hub of innovation in the BT field.
About the author
The authors lives and works in the USA. He holds three international patents for his inventions and discoveries in the areas of Biotechnology.
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