Politics Erodes Public Service Over 46 Years

Prime Minister James Marape perceives that over the last 46 years, politics has been allowed to erode the functionality of the public service.

The Prime Minister shared this at yesterday’s Joint Ministers-Governors Conference on Public Service Matters in Port Moresby.

PM Marape said that over time, this has allowed for complacency and corruption to become a ‘cancer’ within the functions of the public service.

“Over the last 46 years, if I may say this, we have allowed politics to erode the functionality of our public service,” he told ministers, governors and senior public servants.

“We must admit this up front. The first to admit this must be politicians. Our elected public servants seem to think that we are masters of our appointed public service. Lest we forget, we are not masters but custodians of our people’s constitutional rights," said Marape.

PM Marape proposed to the meeting that:

  • There be minimal impact by politicians on the public service, including access to use of public funds;
  • There be merit-based appointment of public servants with a performance-based contract;
  • All public service programs must be policy-based and geared towards achieving national outcomes.
  • No Budget allocation must be made without a policy;
  • Accountability for performance, including management of financial and human resources, must be a key benchmark of all government departments. Contracts of all department heads, including provincial administrators must be reviewed on an annual basis, and if financial and human resource management was below expectations, that particular person must be terminated. No ministers or governments should stand in the way of benchmark assessments of department heads;
  • Integrity of government institutions be strengthened. Ombudsman, Public Service Commission and Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) must deal with cases of corruption within the public service.

The Prime Minister also proposed that before this Parliament rises for the term, that an Undisclosed Wealth Act be passed.

In paraphrasing the famous quote by Albert Einstein, PM Marape said, “Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results, borders on insanity. Let’s find a platform to do better.”


Carol Kidu