This was the statement by Minister for National Planning and Monitoring, Richard Maru, in light of their planned trip to India on December 11.
“India was once a struggling economy, having difficulty in supplying food to its people, a trade imbalance in favour of the outside world, a population that was not so literate and struggling to improve the quality of life. A story very much like PNG,” says Maru.
“That story is different today.
“Within the last decade, India has grown into one of the super powers of the world. Having surplus food supplies, science and technology platforms that are now recognised by developed nations like the United States, government systems and processes which is on par with the rest of the developed nations and most importantly, serving its people through innovation and entrepreneurship.”
The Minister says this visit to India endeavours to give PNG an opportunity to learn from their experiences and successes and to form a lasting partnership where PNG stands to benefit from their knowledge, skills and investment and technical cooperation.
This is to help the Government deliver the Alotau Accord II Policy objectives of:
- Growing the Economy
- Infrastructure Development
- Quality Education
- Quality Health Services
- Law & Order
PNG’s week-long official mission to India will:
- Look at how PNG can replicate India’s approach to elections with intentions to be proactive now to ensure a free and fair National General Elections is delivered in 2022.
- Employ a critical approach to ensure that PNG’s electoral system is linked with the national identification (NID) project that the Department of National Planning and Monitoring is leading.
- Explore with India the possible recruitment of mathematics and science teachers to teach in PNG high and secondary schools to improve our quality of the subjects.
- 80 percent (and growing) of PNG students are missing out on admission to current colleges and universities. This problem will get worse as more students come through the Free Education Program. This mission intends to talk to the Government of India and its Ministry of Education to invite the Indira Gandhi Open University (IGOU). The aim is to give an opportunity to these students to continue learning. Over time, IGOU with PNG Government assistance will be expected to rollout campuses throughout the provinces and has the potential to be one of the biggest universities in Papua New Guinea going by the success in India where they have over 3 million students enrolled on the open campus mode.
- Look at opportunities to address the potential of the agriculture sector, particularly in rice, wheat and legumes.
- Canvass interested investors to invest in agriculture, forestry, tourism, hospitality and the manufacturing service industry.
- Talk to India about building a pharmaceutical factory in PNG to reduce the cost of medicines under a Line of Credit.
- Meet with the India EXIM Bank to secure the drawdown of the $400 million to fund many of our key infrastructure projects.
- To develop cooperation between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and PNG universities and research organisations to utilise Indian space assets for the use of Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for planning and research purposes. This will also include weather.
(Picture: Central & South Asia Business)