Remarks by PNG NRI Director, Dr. Osborne Sanida, PNG NRI Campus, Waigani, NCD, 13 December 2019

Honourable Davis Steven, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and Attorney General of Papua New Guinea (PNG), our Guest of Honour for today’s EPAC Graduation; NRI Council Acting Chairman, Mr. Wilson Thompson; Members of NRI Council; EPAC 2019 Graduands and your family and friends; Representatives from the Diplomatic Corp, Government Institutions; Representatives from Private Sector and NGOs; EPAC Lecturers; EPAC Coordinating Team; NRI Staff and families; the media; and Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good morning and I welcome you all to the 29th Graduation of the Diploma Program in Economic Policy Analysis, more popularly known as “EPAC” (Economic Policy Analysis Course).

Today marks the end of what has been a demanding 8 weeks of the 2019 EPAC. Eight weeks ago, I was giving a welcome speech to the students at the NRI Coffee Shop and I cautioned the students that the course was going to be intensive and would demand hard work and effective time management for success. Today, we are here to witness the fruit of the hard work of the students over the past 8 weeks.

The PNG NRI is a Public Policy “Think Tank”, mandated by the NRI Act to conduct applied social and economic research into the PNG economy and society. Our mission is to generate research information that will lead to informed decision making in order to improve the welfare of our people.

We operate on the “3 I mantra” or motto: Inquire, Inform and Influence. Inquire to understand issues that affect PNG with relevant analytical tools. Inform in order to disseminate the relevant research work to key stakeholders who are in decision-making positions and the general public. And Influence, in order to make an impact by ensuring as much as possible, that information received by decision makers is actually used to make good decisions in order to make positive changes to the lives of our people.

The students have been taught different issues in economic policy and public policy during the course. I am confident that you have learnt a lot during your time here at PNG NRI. You have been equipped with the tools to design good policies, analyse/evaluate policies, and effectively implement policies with the ultimate objective of making a positive change to the lives of those who will be affected by polices. In the theme of the current Government, we hope that you will “Take back PNG” from bad policy making in whatever sphere of influence that you are in or work in. With the tools you have learnt, you must conduct good inquiry (research and analysis) and inform and influence policy making and implementation for the purpose of improving the welfare of the people you purport to serve.

To conclude, I want to say a few “Thank Yous” for making EPAC 2019 a success. First, to our Guest of Honour, the Deputy Prime minister and Minister for Justice and Attorney for accepting to come and speak and grace us with your presence. Second, to the families of the students and lecturers; thank you for putting up with the stress over the last eight weeks. Third, the sponsors of students either as employers or private sponsorship for the 34 students in the Regular EPAC Class. The Australian Government through DFAT sponsored the 15 students for Sponsored Class. The Institute is grateful to the people of Australia for this support, which has been provided for a number of years now. Fourth, the lecturers (both NRI and external) for imparting their knowledge to the students. Fifth, I must acknowledge and thank the NRI Council for the oversight and direction provided for the Institute, including the EPAC. Sixth, different NRI staff worked hard to ensure the success of the program and the planning hosting of the Graduation today (in particular, the EPAC coordinating team, finance team, logistics team, and the grounds staff). Last but not the least, perhaps the most important, we thank God, for from him come knowledge and understanding, which includes the issue of good policy.

Congratulations to the 2019 EPAC Class! Thank you and God Bless.

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