The Prime Minister made the call as he opened the two-day Provincial Governors Conference in Port Moresby on Sunday afternoon.
The conference is themed ‘Continuing Dialogue to empower Provinces for Improved Service Delivery, Economic Growth and Self Reliance’.
“Provincial governments are the anchor posts of our country and we must empower them with clarity. I realise the struggles and the inherent weaknesses we have carried as we endeavour to deliver services to our people. This is why these reforms are important. We must bring reforms that will allow for positive change that translate to actual delivery of goods and services,” said PM Marape.
“Evidence must point to the structure that we must set up, a structure that this is good for our people.
“Pangu created the provincial government system in 1975 and this Pangu-led government will empower the provincial governments to work better for our country.
“The vision and the rationale of establishing the provincial governments is correct because in a land of so much diversity, a centralised form of government in Waigani has no complete answer for our people. The government closest to our people must be functioning better to provide services to our people,” stated the Prime Minister.
“I want to assure you governors; we are not here to dilute or remove your powers or suppress you. We are here to make you work better to assist the National Government in translating policies to our people.
“By now we have four years of experience as National Government under this leadership. In the last four years, though hard it may have been, we have not held back resources but given resources to you.
“This is evident of our government trying its best to empower you in the ambit of the existing Organic Law on Provincial and Local Level Government that guides and shepherds our functionality.”
PM Marape said that provincial government systems will be strengthened and supported and the reforms must be consistent with service delivery to the people.
“The call is on us to work with haste. This conversation with the governors has been going on for the last 48 years. We cannot defer any more. The Prime Minister speaks but the entire machinery must roll so that the results are coming.
“We must define what the role of DDAs are in the context of supporting development in the country. DDAs must not overshadow provincial governments; DDAs are not government but the delivery arm of the government. We have these weaknesses we must identify, get them fixed so we do not pass these onto the next generation.