Monday, 3 August 2015

PNG to Review Policing Partnership

Australian Federal Police work alongside the Papua New Guinea Royal ConstabularyAustralian assistance money to Papua New Guinea is being wasted on "middlemen", such as lawyers and consultants, PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill says. In a press release, Mr O'Neill said PNG wanted to safeguard that financial support develops real long-term capacity and skills, and not just temporary relief.

"As a developing country we don't want handouts, we don't want Australian taxpayer money wasted and we don't want boomerang aid. Papua New Guinea is changing, we are growing and as a nation of 8 million people we want to move beyond handouts and work with our partners to strengthen capacity," he said.

The prime minister also said there needs to be a better deal for the taxpayers of contributing countries like Australia, saying that one of the biggest obstacles to effective 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," Mr O'Neill said.
"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."

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the two countries regularly discuss how to achieve the most effective development outcomes for PNG with Australia's support. Aid Watch director Thulsi Narayanasamy lately stressed that aid focusing on tackling corruption may in fact be "benefitting" from ongoing corruption in PNG.

"Australia has done nothing to bring these companies to account ... despite them being Australian. We would see that as Australia benefitting off the corruption in PNG."

In the statement, Mr O'Neill stressed that he believes better arrangements were possible and was looking to implement them. The prime minster added that PNG would review its current support arrangements, and regulate how money and capacity building can be implemented more efficiently. Mr O'Neill suggested funding positions for PNG citizens to occupy in government to be a better alternative than simply sending foreign advisers to fill the positions themselves.

"The current support delivery sees foreigners occupying positions where they are actually doing the work that should be done by Papua New Guineans," he said.

"This is not good for Papua New Guinea or the donor country ... as when they end their contracts they do not leave behind capacity or skills."


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