I hope you are reading this with ease and a positive mindset to help change the course of this beautiful country of ours – Papua New Guinea. My first time experiences here have made me to raise questions about how our economy has been mismanaged over the last 40years.
I’ve come to know this place from reading books, magazines, watching videos, documentaries and even looking it up on the internet.
From the countless travel magazines in secondhand shops in Lae in the 1990s to the LCD screens of the most sophisticated smartphones accessed by almost all school aged kids in PNG today – Singapore has literally changed in front of our eyes.
I read with much interest about how Singapore has transformed itself from a small island nation to become one of the most developed countries in the world.
SINGAPORE’S RISE TO POWER
Singapore has a rich history of civilization. It was once colonized by the British empire from 1946. During the second World War it was invaded by the Japanese, and later taken over the British after the war when Japanese surrendered to the Allies.
The failure of British to defend Singapore during the war forced the people to cry for merdeka or self governance. It 1963, Singapore became part of Malaysia ending a 144years of British rule on the island.
Since gaining independence from Malaysia on August 9th 1965, Singapore has since progressed on to be the host of the biggest and busiest air and sea ports in the world.
WHAT PNG CAN LEARN FROM SINGAPORE
Papua New Guinea has some of the world’s largest natural resource deposits in gold, copper, timber and now the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) or the PNG LNG Project which is worth US$19billion.Papua New Guinea's GDP Per Capita in 2017 was US$2401.6. The highest so far was in 2015 when our GDP Per Capita was US$2402.5
Singapore's GDP Per Capita continues to grow annually and it is now at US$55235.51
Singapore has been able to made it's way up to become a developed country in just under 53years of Independence. Its government subsidizes housing, medical bills, education, transportation etc. and increases economic opportunities for middle to low income earners.
It is an island country without any Gold, Copper, Nickel mines, LNG project, organic coffee, timber or any other natural resources. It is a very strategic port of transition where all goods and raw materials are brought here first then transported elsewhere across the world.
We also have the Lae Port in PNG, which is the most most strategic port in the Southern Hemisphere. It is where all the cargoes from across the world transits into the Australia and even the Pacific.
The Lae Port and the production line of businesses operating in Lae generates well over K111million for the National Government coffers annually as internal revenue. The Lae Port serves as the only seaport that controls import of raw materials and exports of organic coffee, cocoa and other organic products for international markets.
We could have better roads being built, good schools, hospitals and life improving facilities for every tax payer in the city. Our SME sector should have fully flourished by now if we have the government putting its paper policy to work.
Squatter settlements and law and order won’t be major impediments for growth and development. People’s mindset would have changed and people’s movement in search for better service delivery would have been narrowed down.
Everyone in here respects each other despite their color, ethnicity and religion. There is no littering, loitering or even people sleeping on the streets. You will get caned by the police if you don’t dispose your rubbish in the rightful place.
The Singaporean government has made it it’s responsibility to ensure every citizen learn to appreciate and look after the environment. There are separate rubbish bins for biodegradable and non-biodegradable. No smoking in public or even spitting as you will be fined and dealt with accordingly.
All these boils down to change on attitude. If we change our attitude and start respecting each other and the environment we live in, we will create a good future for our children. Since we don’t change ourselves, we kept on voting self-centered individuals to represent our interest in parliament for the last 40years.
A politician once told me, he has plans and dreams to reclaim the beauty of the city he grew up in the early 70s. But he further said, that dream would only be achievable if the people change their mindset. Also one member of parliament wont make the change happen, it needs the majority of them to stand up for the people’s needs.
I represent the last generation of kids who have used a kerosene lamp, a payphone, drank from a Coke bottle and listened to music on cassette players while growing up. We have anticipated so much to change for the better, but we are seeing the other way around. Life is getting tougher.
Our politicians should stop coming to Singapore for medical treatment alone, they should start focusing on making PNG become the next Singapore.
A wise man once said, if we continue to tell lies, it will surely become the truth. If the government can fool us for forty years, they might continue to sell PNG's resources for their own interest.