Launch statement by PNG NRI Acting Director Dr. Osborne Sanida


Launch Statement by PNG NRI Acting Director Dr. Osborne Sanida

Thursday 21 January 2021

In a Referendum conducted in December 2019, as provided for in the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) of 2001, ninety eight percent (98%) of the people who voted, chose ‘Independence’ over ‘Greater Autonomy’ for Bougainville. As required by the BPA, the outcome of the Referendum is subject to ratification by the National Parliament following consultation with the Bougainville Government.

The Bougainville Referendum Research Project at the PNG NRI commissioned two independent research reports to inform critical developments in the Post Referendum era. One report discusses possible institutional arrangements to assist negotiations on Bougainville’s political future whilst the other looks at ideas on raising adequate revenues for the Bougainville Government to achieve fiscal independence.

We are now pleased to launch these reports and have them available for public discourse.

Research Report 8: Institution Building in Post Referendum Bougainville
This report was undertaken by Professor Cheryl Saunders and Dr. Anna Dziedzic from the Constitutional Transformation Network of the Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Australia. The report looks at the possible institutional requirements for governance in post-referendum Bougainville. The primary target audience for this report is those engaged in the consultations between the Bougainville and PNG Governments following the referendum.

Research Report 9: Increasing Revenues for the Bougainville Government
This report was undertaken by a team of economists from Canberra: Professor Satish Chand, Professor Ronald Duncan and Dr. Theodore Levantis. The report looks at how the Bougainville Government can increase its revenues so that Bougainville can increase revenues for its budget and achieve economic independence.

The contents of the reports have been presented to key stakeholders in a Zoom Conference in October of 2020. This was to allow feedback for the research teams to refine their reports. Videos of the presentations made by the research teams can be accessed via links provided on the PNG NRI website ( and on the PNG NRI Social Media platforms.

Additionally, two Commentaries, one on each of the reports outlining the contents of the reports and the main focus and messages from the reports have been posted on the PNG NRI website and on its social media pages. Furthermore, the Executive Summary of the two reports have been extracted and posted for reference.

Thank you the media for the important role you play in the dissemination of the reports. Should you require any further information, the BRRP team can also be contacted on email: or on phone: +675 326 0061/ +675 326 0300 for any other information.

Finally, on behalf of the NRI Council and Management, I would like to thank everyone involved in producing these reports. In particular, the authors of the reports; the BRRP team led by Dr. Thomas Webster; all persons involved in the logistics and administrative work at PNG NRI and external partners; and the Government of PNG and Bougainville Government.

Staff Representative

Dr. Francis Odhuno is a Senior Research Fellow and the Program Leader of the Economic Policy Research Program (EPRP) at the Papua New Guinea National Research Institute (PNG NRI). Prior to joining the PNG NRI, Dr Odhuno completed BA, MA (Kenyatta University) and PhD in economics (University of Otago). He also worked with Ernst & Young in Nairobi, Kenya, as a Consultant in International Trade and Tax issues; and with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (also in Nairobi), where he worked as an Economist/Statistician and Industrial Development Officer. Dr Odhuno, CPA, is a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK).



Department of National Planning and Monitoring Representative on PNG NRI Council

Maria Louise Wau joined the PNG NRI Council in 2017 as the alternate representative from the Department of National Planning and Monitoring (DNPM). Ms Wau is the First Assistant Secretary, Macro Planning with DNPM.

From 2005-2016 Maria was Assistant Secretary Statistics & Research at the DNPM. Prior to this, she held the position of Senior Systems Analyst for 5 years.

Maria’s efforts to improve statistics for development in PNG was fulfilled with the recent launch of PNG Strategy for the Development of Statistics (PNGSDS) 2018-2027, by the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. The strategy aims to improve the National Statistical System in Papua New Guinea.

Maria coordinated the formulation of the Medium-Term Development Plan, 2018-2022. Maria is a strong advocate of good statistics for policy and decision making, as well as Monitoring and Evaluation, having worked with DNPM and National Statistical Office for the past 18 years.

With an undergrad in Statistics, Maria is a Mathematical Sciences post graduate of the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia.


William Hapipai

Department of Personnel Management Representative

William Hapipai was nominated as the alternate representative from the Department of Personnel Management (DPM) on the PNG NRI Council in 2016.
He is currently the Acting Deputy Sectary–Policy & Reforms with the DPM. William heads a wing of over 60 staff, responsible for managing and providing advice on Public Service Industrial Relations system in PNG, Public Service Reforms, Workforce Policy Development & Capacity Building & ABG HR Power draw down. He also manages the development and review of Government Pay Policies for Public Service and Statutory Authorities and manages industrial and employee relations regarding terms and conditions in the public service, among others.

William joined the DPM in 2001 as the Senior Pay Policy Officer. He was later appointed as Manager, Remuneration Development and Management with the Salaries and Conditions Monitoring Committee (2008-2014). He was later promoted to Ex-Manager-Government Pay Policy & Industrial Relations and more recently to Deputy Secretary level. Prior to this, he worked for a year with the Department of Petroleum and Energy as the Economic Data Research Officer.

William holds a Master of Business in Industrial Relations/Human Resource Management from the Victoria University, Melbourne Australia (2013-2014). He has a Bachelor of Economics from the University of PNG. William is accredited to the Australian Human Resources Institute.


 Steve IlaveManager, Research Project

Steven Ilave Snr is the Manager for Research Projects at PNG NRI. He has a Masters degree in Development Economics from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, and a Bachelor of Economics with Honors from the University of Papua New Guinea. Mr Ilave has over 20 years of experience at senior levels in the management of GoPNG and Donor funded projects. Before joining PNG NRI he was working with the Australian Government and the PNG Prime Ministers Department as the Program Manager.


Establishment and Mandate 

The Papua New Guinea National Research Institute (PNG NRI) was established as the  New  Guinea Research Unit (NGRU) of the Australian National University in 1961. When  PNG gained  independence in 1975, the NGRU became the Institute for Applied Social and  Economic  Research (IASER), and in 1993 was officially recognised as the National  Research Institute. The  PNG NRI is an independent statutory authority established by an  Act of Parliament in 1988 and  confirmed by the IASER (Amendment) Act 1993 to conduct  independent policy research into  economic and social development issues affecting PNG.

PNGNRITaglineThe Act states that the functions of the PNG NRI are:“(a) the promotion of research into  Papua  New Guinea society and the economy”, and in particular “(b), the undertaking of  research into  social, political and economic problems of Papua New Guinea in order to  enable practical  solutions to such problems to be formulated.”

Vision and Mission

  • The Papua New Guinea National Research Institute (PNG NRI) is recognised among the  leading public policy think tanks in the Asia – Pacific region.
  • The Papua New Guinea National Research Institute will provide quality research which  contributes to evidence – based public policies and decision – making processes that  improve service delivery, leading to better quality of life for all Papua New Guineans.


PNG NRI is committed to inquiring, informing and influencing Papua New Guinea’s future through  conducting cutting-edge policy research, the facilitation of public dialogue, and influencing decision  making.

We inquire, to better understand problems.

We inform, to help others understand those problems.

We influence, advocating for effective public policies based on research and evidence.