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Peter O'Neill was on track to Develop and Move Papua New Guinea Forward

Commentary By Brian Folock

He built a fundamental foundation of economic growth - 'INFRASTRUCTURE'. Fools only can refute that! He was on track to build more but was short lived. Advanced infrastructure is crucial to economic growth.

Infrastructure could mean tourism infrastructure; road and bridge systems; agricultural infrastructure; etc. A nation's economy doesn't grow in bushes.

Many talked against the development of sporting facilities like the stadiums without considering the cash injections that would be generated by games.

He borrowed to build those crucial infrastructure. Some said were at inflated costs and project funds commissioned out by project proponents which are but yet to be proven.

Whilst setting up the necessary infrastructure, he invested heavily on agriculture, tourism and particularly SME's - the cornerstones of economic growth.

Without seeing the outcome of these visionary work, we nagged him. He knew very well that he was on track yet we sunned him down led by some ill-conceived Facebook warriors who can't even show their capabilities given the caps they wearing now.

He invested very heavily in law and order as well to balance the equation. Law and order was minimal unlike today.

One of his premier focus was on education. He provided free education. This removed many constraints. All schools were subsidized paving way for under privileged, poor and unfortunates. Critics said schools were overcrowded and teaching facilities were not living up to the free education policy. But how did the administrators of schools manage the huge TFF subsidies? Why didn't they build extra classrooms to cater for the influx of students? Why didn't they use those subsidies to equip their schools? Was it Peter O'Neill's job to go administer the schools? Foolish people! We complaint too much without analyzing issues and opportunities.

Hon Peter O'Neill summoned the Secretaries, Administrators, District Chief Executive Officers and Treasurers every year to review their performances. He built district capacities with staff houses; wanted accountability and other checks and balances. He pumped millions into the rural areas - K10 million in DSIPs annually. For more than 10 years, the rural areas or district treasuries were filled with monies earmarked for development. Some MPs failed their people whilst few outperformed and demanded for more. We complain as if we wanted him to be at the districts ensuring every MP was doing the right thing.

Hon Peter O'Neill was on track. He visualized progress within 20 or so years. His mind was sprouting ahead of time. Many MPs were dragging behind and he wasted no time with such Members of Parliament. He blocked off several provinces' PSIPs after learning they were not performing.

He budgeted. He borrowed to offset shortfalls in development expenditure. He monitored. He traveled extensively to get first hand information. He traveled abroad to market PNG as an investment destiny. He paid school fees. He wanted people to access free and better health services by building many state of the art hospitals. He connected places with good roads. He built bridges. He built wharves. He built airports. He was awesome. He was creative and innovative.

He borrowed with financial securities. He knew PNG would not go into arrears. Financiers agreed to the terms he set. Investment was pouring in. He was on track.

But we short lived those. We short lived ourselves, our country's progress.

But yes, Hon Peter O'Neil was on track. We need him back.

Let Your voice be heard : Send your commentaries to us through our email : pngfacts@gmail.com

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