21 Apr 2011

PNG call to adjust to resource boom

1:19 pm on 21 April 2011

The Papua New Guinea government is being called on to make reforms to ensure it can cope with the dramatic social and economic changes brought by the resources boom.

The Institute of National Affairs says disparaties in wealth are already apparent, but executive director, Paul Barker, says this downside can be reduced if opportunities in other sectors are safeguarded.

He says agriculture, manufacturing and tourism all risk being badly affected by inflation and a rising exchange rate, while many workers will be lost to the resource developments.

Mr Barker says one such mechanism is the proposed sovereign wealth funds but transparent management of them is critical.

"If they're not they more of a liability than a benefit. But also through a range of other mechanisms whereby the state working with the private sector will facilitate a boost in essential service delivery, in education, so that the wider community can be empowered to gain better employment opportunities and take advantage of the economic opportunities that are coming up. But also it will require some sort of input into social protection mechanisms."