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PNG Deputy Opposistion Leader, Sam Basil.
The Deputy Opposition Leader and Member for Bulolo, Mr Sam Basil has lashed out at the Government on its decision to establish a new university in the Prime Minister’s Ialibu District in Southern Highlands Province, claiming that Papua New Guinea does not need a new university at this point in time.

According to the outspoken leader, this is not at all a good Public Investment Program but a politically motivated decision on the part of an unjust Government which is seen to be encouraging and promoting regionalism and nepotism, thus destabilizing national unity. The establishment of the proposed Ialibu university and the most recent appointment of the Brigadier General are clear evidences of the O’Neil/Dion Government’s one-sided decisions on national issues as such.

Instead of establishing a new university, the Government should be rational and undertake investments in upgrading the institutional capacities of existing universities and other higher educational institutions. Through such undertakings, we will create an environment which is conducive to producing talented Papua New Guineans of the highest academic standards who can stand on equal footing with university graduates from other countries and compete with them for employment opportunities both in PNG and abroad, Mr. Basil stressed

The University of Papua New Guinea is expected to be facing financial difficulties this year with its budget deficit of over K80 million which has been accumulated over the past academic years. With such a huge deficit, the University’s budgetary appropriation for 2014 is expected to be absorbed in off-setting such deficits, hence forcing the country’s oldest university to be financially crippled.

The University of Goroka hasn’t seen any increases in its budget from last year, shortage of staff housing, poor internet access for researches and teaching, shortage of furniture and office spaces for academics, poor staff living conditions need to be addressed immediately and the new five star dormitory is yet to be completed due to lack of funding.

Other tertiary institutions such as the PNG University of Technology and the Divine World University may be encountering similar financial & administrative problems, Mr. Basil said

Mr. Basil has called on the Government to do away with the construction of the new university in the interim and re-direct the K80 million being earmarked for the proposed Ialibu University to upgrading institutional infrastructure facilities and increasing the institutional capacities of our existing universities so that these institutions are able to increase their student enrollment, attract the best academic staff from abroad and produce world class graduates who can contribute meaningfully to nation building.

If a new university is to be established in the near future and if it is to be located in the Highlands region, the Government must be fair and rational on its decision and consider Western Highlands, Simbu or Jiwaka as host provinces. Because these provinces are ideally located in the heart of the Highlands region and are poor in terms of natural resources endowment, it is only fair for the Government to make them become service centers in the Highlands region so that they can rip off the benefits of the major natural resources developments currently taking place in the region, Mr Basil said,

As a short term solution to the financial problems encountered by our existing universities and the current energy crisis in PNG, the Deputy Opposition Leader calls on the Government to consider utilizing the K80 million to address these problems by subsidizing power tariff so that PNGPL can remove the recently announced tariff increases while addressing the issues of UPNG, UNITECH, DWU and UOG instead of dumping this money in this very remote part of the country.

Because the decision of the Prime Minister is political, the Ialibu Pangia University will suffer politically in the future, therefore it is best left to the education authorities to decide where it is best for our next university establishment and when it is best to do so.

In the meantime, the O’Neil/Dion Government should be concentrating on managing the affairs of the nation and there are too many issues to be addressed aside from building a university in ones electorate. 


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