Released Publication (Tuesday 28th June 2022)
Discussion Paper No. 196: “Comparative analysis of governance and economic growth in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu”
Government must do more to promote good governance
Good governance provides a conducive environment for investment and opportunities for employment, which in turn generate government revenue from taxes. However, promoting good governance has been a long-standing issue in most developing countries, including Papua New Guinea (PNG).
The National Research Institute (NRI) Discussion Paper No. 196: “Comparative analysis of governance and economic growth in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu” authored by PNG NRI Deputy Director for Research Associate Professor Eugene Ezebilo and Research Officer Mr. William Kipongi highlight how to promote good governance in PNG.
Using some governance indicators (political stability, rule of law, control of corruption, and government effectiveness) to assess governance in Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, the authors found the following:
• Vanuatu had the best performance in political stability and rule of law.
• Fiji had the best performance in the control of corruption and government effectiveness.
• An improvement in political stability and rule of law increases real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita or the total value of goods and services produced in a country over a period of time (normally one year) divided by the population and adjusted for inflation.
• Some private businesses appear to be benefiting from corrupt practices in the public sector and the ineffectiveness of government in providing public services.
Good governance in PNG can be enhanced by the following initiatives:
• Provide adequate funding to all economic and political institutions and promote secure and safe communities.
• Strengthen the judiciary and law enforcement agencies to conduct their duties without fear or favour.
• Provide effective governance institutions and tougher penalties against people who engage in corruption practices.
• Improve effectiveness in service delivery and streamline responsibilities of the public sector and private sector.
The findings from the study reported in this Media Release will assist planners, policymakers, and the new PNG Government after the National Elections in making informed decisions on how to promote good governance in the country.
Released Publication (Thursday 23rd June 2022)
Spotlight Volume 15, Issue 6: Initiatives for addressing irregularities in Papua New Guinea’s National Elections
Government must do more to promote free, fair, and safe National Elections
Free, fair and safe elections are key components of the principles of a democratic system. This promotes a person’s constitutional right to be freely expressed in voting in a national election without external influences. However, irregularities have become common practices in the Papua New Guinea (PNG) National Elections.
The National Research Institute (NRI) Spotlight Volume 15, Issue 6 entitled: “Initiatives for addressing irregularities in Papua New Guinea’s National Elections” by PNG NRI Research Officer Mr. William Kipongi, highlights some factors that contribute to irregularities in PNG National Elections and how the irregularities can be addressed.
Mr. Kipongi found that the irregularities in the last PNG National Elections include the following:
• Influence of money, such as paying some people to vote for a particular candidate;
• Influence of social events, such as supporting people to pay compensation, bride price and funeral feast so that they can vote for a candidate;
• The practice of communal or block voting, which involves selected people voting for a particular candidate on behalf of voters in a community;
• Cultural norms where leadership is earned through kinship, clan and tribal groups and people are not allowed to vote or discuss who may be the next leader because of intimidation; and
• Use of violence to compel people to vote for a particular candidate, with some supporters of a candidate going to the extent of using guns to threaten supporters of rival candidates.
Mr. Kipongi reported that irregularities in the Natiional Elections can be addressed using the following initiatives:
• Impose tougher penalities on voters and candidates that are involved in vote buying;
• Create more awareness on the importance of the National Elections, voting and the impact of vote buying on service delivery;
• Consider nullifying all votes cast through communal/block voting because it is against the principle of democracy; and
• Impose tougher penalties on candidates and their supporters that use violence and force to intimidate voters during elections.
Findings from the Spotlight article contributes to the discussion on how to promote free, fair and safe elections in PNG
Invitation to Freelancers to write about their experiences during the 2022 National General Elections
The wish of the PNG NRI is to see that the 2022 NGE is carried out fair and all protocols in placed for the election are followed. People should be able to cast their votes without fear or favour.
Please submit EOI including 2-page profile on your qualifications, work experience, and if you have writing experience. Those selected would be given a template to work on the issues or generally about candidates, campaign issues, policies, political parties, the general conduct of elections, and the outcomes.
Freelancers can submit their papers to PNG NRI for consideration which will be considered for inclusion as a Monograph for the 2022 NGE. The documentation of the National General Election will give more depth for future referencing.
For submissions for PNG NRI to consider for publication, please send in your papers by 12 August 2022, that is two weeks after the return of writs (on 29 July 2022) to: email@example.com
All EOI closes on 12 July 2022.
For enquiries, please contact Samuel Kehatsin on Tel: 326 0061 or Email: Samuel.Kehatsin@pngnri.org
Released Publication (Tuesday 21st June 2022)
Spotlight Volume 15, Issue 5: “Challenges that schools face in the delivery of quality basic education in Momase region”
Factors that restrict delivery of quality basic education in the Momase region
The implementation of the Tuition Fee Free (TFF) policy has improved access to basic education in Papua New Guinea (PNG). However, factors that contribute to the deteriorating state of quality education continue to persist in the Momase region.
The National Research Institute (NRI) Spotlight Volume 15, Issue 5: “Challenges that schools face in the delivery of quality basic education in Momase region” authored by PNG NRI Senior Research Fellow Dr Kilala Devette-Chee provides insight into factors that restrict the delivery of quality education.
Dr. Devette-Chee found that key factors that restrict the delivery of quality basic education in the Momase region include the following:
• Overcrowding in the classroom as a result of the increase in access to education,
• Teachers’ heavy workload as a result of the increased student enrolment,
• Inadequate students’ learning materials such as textbooks,
• Inadequate parental and community support,
• Poor water and sanitation facilities, and
• Delay in the remittance of TFF funds to schools.
If the intention is to improve the quality of basic education being delivered in the Momase region, basic education authorities should consider employing more qualified teachers, constructing more classrooms, providing more students’ learning materials, providing facilities for water and sanitation, and see that TFF funds are released to schools in a timely manner. The recommendations made here may also be useful for other regions of PNG.
PNG NRI farewells staff after three and half years of service
Papua New Guinea National Research Institute (PNG NRI) has farewelled Mr. Walo Wayne, former human resource manager after three and half years of service to the institute.
Speaking at the farewell ceremony, PNG NRI Deputy Director, Research, Associate Professor Eugene Ezebilo thanked Mr. Wayne for his contribution to moving PNG NRI forward. He said Mr. Wayne has contributed a lot to the institute including policies and staff recruitment. It is sad to see Mr. Wayne leave but “there is time for everything and it’s time for him to step aside,” Prof. Ezebilo said.
PNG NRI Director Dr Osborne Sanida, on behalf of the council, management, and staff, also thanked Mr. Wayne for his services to the institute. He said sometimes it’s not about the number of years but it’s about your contribution. “Your role as the HR manager is a challenging one because you are dealing with the behaviour of human beings. We acknowledge your contribution to managing human resources in PNG NRI and also dealing with other organisations in the country.
Mr. Wayne thanked everyone whom he worked with during his time with PNG NRI. “It’s not easy, especially coming here and working with highly trained intellectuals of the country and rubbing shoulders with Ph.D. holders and Master’s holders, it’s amazing,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot from PNG NRI and I’m walking away satisfied that I have given something back to the institute.”
He said it has been a good journey but there’s always time for new doors to open and old doors to close.
Released Publication (Wednesday 15th June 2022)
The question of public debt sustainability in Papua New Guinea
Fiscal policy in the form of government expenditure and taxation has a direct bearing on budget outcomes that, in turn, affects the level of government debt or public debt. Public debt is considered sustainable when the government is able to meet all of the payment obligations without recourse to exceptional financial assistance or face the prospects of default.
NRI Discussion Paper No.195 entitled “Fiscal Policy for Sustainable Debt in Papua New Guinea” by Professor Satish Chand and Dr. Osborne Sanida was released today and provides answers to the specific question on the size of the primary fiscal balance (i.e. revenue minus expenditure, exclusive of interest payments) that is necessary to contain debt within the ceiling legislated under the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA).
A related question that is addressed is the levels of fiscal deficits that will keep public sector debt sustainable. Specifically, the levels of primary balances that are required to contain debt within the legislated limits in light of possible changes to interest rates and growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) were estimated. This was done using numerical simulations of the path of primary balance for given rates of growth of the economy and the prevailing interest rates.
Papua New Guinea (PNG) has legislation in the form of the FRA that places a ceiling on debt so as to prevent the risks of debt distress. Using data on debt and deficits since 2006, the fiscal path to debt sustainability was calculated, and risks of distress was identified using numerical simulations.
It was found that the level of public debt in 2021 at 42 percent of GDP is sustainable at the prevailing interest rates and anticipated rates of growth of GDP and inflation. However, the risk of distress, amounting to the need to run smaller primary deficits to that of the past at the expense of public expenditure, rise with an increase in interest rates and a fall in the rate of growth of GDP. Specifically, a rise in interest rates on debt of 100 basis points or 1 percent with GDP growing at 2 percent will require a balanced primary budget for fiscal sustainability – an outcome that may not be politically palatable in such a climate.
Released Publication (Tuesday 07th June 2022)
Are workers in Papua New Guinea willing to take COVID-19 vaccine?
There is a broad agreement among public health experts that widespread vaccination coverage is the best way to end any pandemic. Yet, since the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide in December 2019, only 1.2 percent of people in Papua New Guinea (PNG) as of October 2021 had been fully vaccinated.
In order to help improve vaccination rates, business houses in PNG began to actively encourage vaccination rollout in the workplace. As “no jab, no job” has become the hallmark of many PNG employers’ whip to enforce the COVID-19 vaccine policy in the workplace, their workers were under pressure to choose between getting vaccinated and continuing to work or lose their jobs if not vaccinated.
In the PNG NRI Discussion Paper No. 194: Estimating willingness to take covid-19 vaccine among wholesale and retail service workers in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, authors Francis Odhuno, Dianah Ngui and Joseph Muniu analyse survey data collected in October/November 2021. They found that some wholesale and retail workforce had decided not to get vaccinated even if they were to lose their jobs.
Access to sufficient information, level of education, the threat of COVID-19 infection, level of income, underlying medical conditions, and the places where the employees live and work were some of the key factors influencing workers’ willingness to get vaccinated.
As social media has become a platform used for untrusted messages transmitted to the general public, the authors conclude that public awareness campaigns, that ensure the right information on COVID-19 vaccines is passed to the public long before the vaccines are made available are key to increasing vaccination rates in PNG. The Government can partner with trusted institutions like the churches to spearhead such awareness campaigns.
Bougainville Peace Agreement History
The Bougainville Peace Agreement did not come about easily for the people of Bougainville. Peace was restored after countless negotiations and failed attempts over the years. Now that the people of Bougainville have voted in a referendum on their political future, many have questioned why Bougainvilleans voted in a referendum and others questioned why there was a referendum at all.
The PNG NRI Issues Paper No. 41; Peace by peaceful means: A brief look at the History of the Bougainville Peace Agreement by Martha Waim, former Project Manager of Bouganville Post-Referendum Research Project, presents a brief history of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) as a way to better understand the issue and possibly answer the questions posed above. The paper also seeks to highlight the difficult negotiations that transpired in the leadup to the signing of this agreement which ended the Bougainville Crisis.
The Issues Paper, attempts to briefly highlight the significant peace negotiations and the lessons that can be drawn from the failures that built up to the permanent peace agreement signed as the BPA.
The information generated can inform current negotiations for Bougainville’s future as well as for future generations to appreciate the patience, respect and regard for the differing views and the roles played by different parties in the peace negotiations.
Closing remarks from PNG NRI DIrector to the participants of Social Science Research Methods (SSRM) Course, 2022.
Students of the Class of the Social Science Research Methods (SSRM) Course 2022, on behalf of the Papua New Guinea (PNG) NRI Council, management, and staff, I congratulate you on successfully completing the Course.
Your decision to apply and attend this Course, during this difficult time of COVID-19, is evidence of your quest to learn more about research and the important role it plays in generating information for good decision-making.
As the mandated public policy research institute in PNG, the PNG NRI is pleased to have hosted you all at its campus for this course in the past three weeks. In this course, you have learnt the key aspects of SSRM ranging from research design, research ethics, methodology, sampling techniques, data collection, data processing, and analysis, and report writing.
I hope that you now have a broader appreciation and knowledge of Research Methods and that the concepts you learn will help you do good research for whatever area you may be engaged in, be it as a post-graduate student or a researcher or an advisor, or a teacher, etc.
The course may have ended but it is the beginning of the application of your newfound skills in research methods. These skills are:
• defining the research problem;
• reviewing the literature;
• collecting data;
• analysing the data (qualitative or quantitative);
• presenting the results;
• discussing the results; and
• deriving the conclusions and recommendations.
Practice the skills and use them to generate research information for good decision-making, wherever you are, for the good of your organisation or the country.
In closing, I wish to thank all involved to make SSRM 2022 a success, from the Course Coordinator (Assoc. Prof. Eugene Ezebilo, Deputy Director Research), to the lecturers and PNG NRI support staff, and not forgetting the employers, sponsors, and families of the students of SSRM Course 2022.
I now formally declare SSRM Course 2022 closed.
Released Publication (Thursday 19th May 2022)
Innovative strategy for promoting safer communities in Papua New Guinea: A case study of Port Moresby
A safe and secure community play an important role in providing suitable environment for promoting investment, employment opportunities, human development and sustainable economic growth. However, addressing issues related to insecurity and making communities safe for residents have been challenging to government of most countries including Papua New Guinea (PNG).
The NRI Discussion Paper No. 193 titled: “Innovative strategy for promoting safer communities in Papua New Guinea: A case study of Port Moresby” by James Laki who is a retired military officer highlight the factors that contribute to insecurity in PNG and strategy that can be used to promote safer communities in the country’s urban centres, especially Port Moresby.
The Discussion Paper revealed that factors that contribute to insecurity in Port Moresby include policing deficiency, gun culture, cultural implosion, gender-based violence, drug smuggling, governance and bureaucratic failures and the growing unemployment among the youth.
Port Moresby can be made safer by providing appropriate legal framework for security and welfare services, promoting community oriented policing, increase in investment for providing more justice centres and by creating food banks as a way to alleviate poverty in the city.
The findings can assist urban security managers and planners in developing an effective strategy for addressing insecurity issues in urban areas of PNG.
Thomas Wangi is a Research Fellow in the Sustainable Land Development Program at PNG NRI. He has a Master of Economics degree at the James Cook University. He holds a Honours and Bachelor of Economics both from the University of PNG. Prior to joining PNG NRI in 2015, he was a lecturer at the University of Papua New Guinea. His research interest is in Economic policy, property development, land access and public sector pay scales.