Housing allowance for public servants in Papua New Guinea

The release of our recent Spotlight paper, Housing allowance for public servants in Papua New Guinea: Does it meet housing affordability criteria? Volume 10, Issue 3, has generated public interest and discussions both in the mainstream and social media. Affected public servants living especially in the National Capital District have also come out expressing their concerns that they cannot pay for house rentals with their housing allowance.

The article highlighted the need to move the public service system forward and maintain a dependable workforce, all its public servants should receive 30% of their base salary as housing allowance as a way of meeting housing affordability criteria. It also stated that the government agencies should facilitate the supply of more houses for rentals by attracting private investment in housing through the provision of facilities such as good road networks, portable pipe-borne water and electric power.

The article findings revealed that in major cities of PNG where most public servants live, rental and sale prices of houses are often high due to high demand for, and low supply of houses. The authors also argued that in order for the state to maintain a vibrant, quality and dependable workforce in PNG, there is a need to introduce a housing strategy that would boost the morale of workers to remain in the public service, as well as to improve their productivity.

It concludes by stating that the government should establish the Office of Customary Land Development to make more customary land available through the voluntary customary land registration (VCLR) system for property development.

The authors are from the PNG NRI Property Sector Development Program, Mr Thomas Wangi, Dr Eugene Ezebilo, and Dr Justin Ondopa (former NRI researcher).

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