Labor Minister admits corruption exists in Government departments

Labor Minister Benjamin Poponawa had a hard time on Tuesday in Parliament when questioned by Oro Governor Garry Juffa on the issue of creating jobs and protecting localized jobs for Papua New Guineans.

Juffa gave an example of Northern Provincial Government issuing a stop-work on a portion of land acquired by foreigners who cannot speak the English language.

“Is English a requirement before a work permit is issued?” Juffa asked.

He said similar instances are happening around the country where shopkeepers, security guards, drivers and others who are working cannot speak English.

“What is your department doing about this?”

“Does your department carry out regular inspections and prosecutions?”

Juffa said you cannot find any Papua New Guinean in any countries around the world who could only speak Tok Pisin and working abroad.

Juffa also raised an issue of a Bangladeshi syndicate who illegally enter the country and illegally obtain work permits and proliferating the entire nation by setting up tucker boxes, shops, supermarkets and any little businesses they can get their hands on.

He said the syndicate is operating within the Labor Department with a blessing of corrupt officers.

“It is hypocritical for us to claim that we are concern about Papua New Guineans jobs but continue to turn a blind eye on the issue.”

However, Poponawa said his department do not know how these foreigners are coming to the country.

“There are foreigners in the country on different work visas like business, tourist and others. But with work permits, we try our best to see that English is a prerequisite for them to meet.

“I failed to understand how some people out there in the provinces and the districts that are unable to speak English (enter the country).”

Poponawa further added that it’s not only his department that is filled with corrupt officers but in other government departments as well.

He reiterated that he was not aware of the Bangladesh syndicate and needed more detail so that he will instruct his officers to look into the issue.


Freddy Mou