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PNG plans Rethink of Development Support Delivery – Enough of Aid Industry Middlemen

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea,Peter O’Neill  has called for a rethink in the way development support is delivered in the Asia-Pacific.
Prime Minister  Peter O’Neill said there has to be a better deal for the taxpayers of contributing countries like Australia, while recipient countries want to ensure support develops real capacity and skills, and is only ever seen as temporary.
The Prime Minister said one of the biggest obstacles to effective development support were middlemen who take commissions on aid expenditure. “Development assistance has become a billion dollar ‘industry’ where so much of the goodwill ends up in the pockets of middlemen and expensive consultants,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
“As a developing country we don’t want handouts, we don’t want Australian taxpayer money wasted and we don’t want boomerang aid.
“There is a better way to work with our partners and we will develop better arrangements. “I wonder if the people of Australia realise how much of the money they give to help Papua New Guinea and other countries is actually paid to middlemen and lawyers.
“Papua New Guinea is changing, we are growing and as a nation of 8 million people we want to move beyond hand-outs and work with our partners to strengthen capacity.”
The Prime Minster said in Papua New Guinea there will be a review of support arrangements that will save money for contributing countries and deliver capacity and skills in recipient countries.
“In 2016 Papua New Guinea will move to a model where our partners will be welcome to fund positions within our Government.
“These staff can then work and report through the Papua New Guinea Government system and we will deliver their salaries through arrangements with the donor countries.
“That will be an effective way to strengthen our Government systems from within so that after a period of time this development assistance will no longer be needed.
“The current support delivery sees foreigners occupying positions where they are actually doing the work that should be done by Papua New Guineans.
“Then when they end their contracts they do not leave behind capacity or skills.
“This is not good for Papua New Guinea or the donor country.
“We need to move to a point that we do not need to take a single dollar from our friends in Australia and other partners as our country develops.
“Then Papua New Guinea can further expand our development support program that we provide to other countries in the Pacific following the same principle.”
The Prime Minister said as part of the review, the current policing partnership with Australia will be reviewed to make it more effective for both countries.
“We have had a policing partnership program in place for a couple of years now and I think all parties agree, the benefits are limited due to restrictions placed on the Australian police.
“We have Australian police officers who are committed to strengthening law enforcement in our country, but they are frustrated by the bureaucracy that means they cannot do hands-on policing.
“I cannot imagine being a police officer who is told that if they see a crime being committed he or she has to stand back and watch.
“We would like to recruit foreign police into line positions within the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary so they can lead by example to pass on their knowledge and skills.”
The Prime Minister said Defence Co-operation is separate from general development support as this is part of facilitating the regional military interoperability of national forces.
“We have a vary good defence co-operation program that sees our military working with Australia, the United States and other countries to improve our joint capacity.
“The Australian Defence Force is working closely with the Papua New Guinea Defence Force to ensure we can deploy our forces to work together.
“This integrated operational capacity includes preparations for events such as the Pacific Islands Forum and APEC, as well as border management and disaster response deployments.
“As we move towards the APEC Leaders’ Summit this co-operation will continue to improve and the only change I see in this relationship is increased engagement.”
The Prime Minister said changes in development support policy will deliver better outcomes for all countries involved.

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