As citizens of this nation, let us all hail the advent of tis training policy by virtue of its endorsement by the National Executive Government, namely, “Sustainable, Stable and Consistent Public Sector Training for Improved Service Delivery”. In short, a policy for a better performing public service.
I can assert with some relief that this is a milestone initiative of any instrumentality of state, to forge a positive pathway to improving the performance and delivery systems of the public service through out the country.
Endorsement of the PNG Public Sector Training Policy by National Executive Council (NEC)
As Head of Government and Chair of NEC, I am proud to say that Cabinet, in approving the policy submission by the Pacific Institute of Governance and Leadership (PILAG), through the Public Service Minister, has acknowledged its profound and imperative for public sector performance with heightened sense of commitment towards enhancing efficiency and productivity, amongst other objectives, including those expounded by the Public Service Minister in his statement.
As you many recall, as part of my Weekly Prime Ministerial Column of December 2019, I outlined my Government’s plans to reform our public service. I stated that we were going to invest in practical training of our public servants. In that vein, I said we would be working with out development partners to develop competency-based training for all our public servants, so that we can build a strong foundation for development and growth.
I further stated that it was now time for us to ensure that our public servants are skilled, trained and capable of acquitting the task before them and, to Take Back PNG and to provide a foundation for prosperity; we needed a functioning public service, capable of delivering services throughout our vast country.
In hindsight I had PILAG somewhere at the back of my mind when I mentioned the necessity for public servants to undertake competency-based practical-oriented training.
Policy imitative by Pacific Institute of Leadership and Governance (PILAG)
It now gives me comfort to see that PILAG has taken that initiative, in the absence of any specific direct compulsion by government to have come up with the policy proposal endorsed by the Cabinet and recently launched by the portfolio Minister.
I must admit that for far too long, successive governments have succumbed to complacency, hoping and expecting that the public service machinery was capable of ensuring effective and efficient delivery of even the most basic of services to our people.
This is however, has not been the true scenario. Since Papua New Guinea gained political independence in 1975, the public service has become gradually weakened, with consequential decline in level and scope of service delivery.
Complacency and Corruption in the Public Sector.
We should not be fooling ourselves. We have all been around to know too well the root causes for such a state of a affairs to persist unabated. Arguably, the most destructive cause for nonperformance by public servants has been their attitudes and lack of commitment towards their sworn oath of duty. And again I must re-emphasis the point that they have become too complacent and hell-bent on maintaining the status quo. And equally prominent, has been corruption that has infested the entire spectrum of the public service.
I reiterate the point I made not long ago when launching the Public Service Human Resource Strategic Plan 2020-2050, that we must isolate corruption and complacency from the workplace. That is, within both the political and the bureaucratic spheres because both politicians and public servants have been complacent and corrupt.
At this juncture of the overall policy cycle, one does not need to go any deeper to realize the profound significance of this policy. I can state here with greater degree of precision that through a considered approach to the implementation of the this policy, and a concerted effort and co operation of all stakeholders in ensuring strict adherence to the mandatory requirements of the policy within the spirit of Whole of Government arrangement, there is bound to be massively significant tangible improvements in the overall performance of public servants throughout the country.
As a former public servant, myself, I am of the conviction that a real and genuine commitment by every public servant towards the implementation of this training policy in the spirit of national service, will definitely infuse greater air of positivity and optimism about the ultimate realization of ifs intentions and outcomes.
There is abundant literature on policy failures and policy successes and their varying influencing factors abound. It is therefore imperative that all factors which might give rise to one or the other, must be afforded due consideration throughout the policy implementation process, to ultimately, ensure desired outcome.
Government’s support and commitment towards implementing the policy.
As a responsible government, we will continue to provide, through the appropriate portfolio Minister or Ministers, all necessary support wherever and whenever required to make the policy produce the results we envisioned.
In that context, I am now prevailing upon all stakeholders, especially Departments and State Agencies, including Provincial Administrations, Provincial Health Authorities (PHA) and District Development Authorities (DDAs), to ensure that you do your part, to ensuring that the policy requirements are strictly compiled with at all times, as part of my Government’s firm desire to and commitment to improving the public sector performance, based on ethical and competent leadership.
With the advent of this policy, let us all strive harder and work together for a better and prosperous Papua New Guinea.
Approved for released by;
Hon. James Marape, PM
Source: Press statement from the Office of Prime Minister of PNG 15TH Sept 2021. Headings were added for clarity purposes