5 Sep 2007

PNG institute opposed to government expansion

3:31 pm on 5 September 2007

The Papua New Guinea Institute of National Affairs says the government should be merging portfolios and rationalising its spending rather than setting up more ministries.

The Institute's executive director, Paul Barker, was responding to an announcement by the Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, that he will create seven new ministries in his new coalition government.

The move is an attempt by the Prime Minister to meet the demand for positions of influence from the 14 parties in his coalition government.

But Mr Barker says if the government is going to provide its services on a sustainable basis it has to refocus its spending.

"If you go out into rural schools and rural health centres - they have been going backwards for many years. rural services have been deteriorating. Opportunities for people in rural areas for kids entering schools, for accessing health facilities and so on, this has been going backwards."

Paul Barker