The impact of the 1995 reforms on service delivery in PNG
Reforms were intended to enhance service delivery mechanisms to address the issue of unequal distribution of goods and services in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Through the 1995 reforms, the Organic Law on Provincial Government (OLPG) had changed to the Organic Law on Provincial Government and Local Level Government (OLPGLLG). Some of the functions are now decentralized from the National Government to the Provincial Governments. Then with the establishment of the District Development Authorities (DDA) in 2014, funding from the National Government were sent directly to the Districts via the DDA. This change has brought confusion in the roles and responsibilities of the National Government with that of the Provincial and Sub-National Governments in terms of service delivery.
The National Research Institute Spotlight volume 16, Issue 14 entitled: “Changes and Challenges in Service Delivery Brought by the 1995 Reforms in Papua New Guinea” by William Kipongi, highlights the challenges on service delivery associated with the 1995 reforms.
National politicians are vested with more power and control the District Service Improvement Program (DSIP) funding. The services are now concentrated in certain areas in favor of political patronage and not based on the concept of equal distribution. This situation not only divides the politicians and the governance structure, but also determine who should benefit from the DSIP and who should not.
The Spotlight article contributes to the discussion on successive studies on the 1995 reforms and agrees that equal service delivery is still at stake. The Government of PNG should consider reviewing the changes created by the reforms.
Authorised for release by:
Dr. Osborne O. Sanida
Director, PNG NRI