Greater transparency urged on PNG's Covid-19 response

6:42 am on 28 April 2021

A transparency group in Papua New Guinea wants the government to release greater detail about how it's funding the Covid-19 response.

Transparency International PNG's Peter Aitsi

Transparency International PNG's Peter Aitsi Photo: Transparency International PNG

Papua New Guinea has been the Pacific country worst-hit by the pandemic, with more than 10,000 cases recorded and 100 deaths, though with low testing rates the true tally is believed to be far higher.

Amidst this, there have been regular reports of misappropriation in the government response to the pandemic, including contracts being awarded to public servants with a direct conflict of interest.

"Clearly this is not acceptable," said the director of Transparency International PNG, Peter Aitsi.

As the pandemic further grips PNG, government officials have struggled to get the public to listen to calls for social distancing and other health measures.

Aitsi said the government people have little faith in the government, and work is needed to restore faith in institutions.

"There is an underlying suspicion and uncertainty around Covid and the impacts of Covid and also the treatment of Covid," Aitsi said.

"In this type of environment I think it's incumbent on all of us to try and build public confidence in everything related to this pandemic so that people can have faith in the processes that are put in place to respond to Covid."

Aitsi said the government should release all reports on funding for the Covid-19 response to restore public trust, including summaries of foreign donations and allocations to provincial health authorities.