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Challenges to Implementing Development Plans at Local-level Government in Papua New Guinea

An article by Benjamin Saimbel Barcson, Nagoya University (2015)

The 1995 local-level government reforms undertaken in Papua New Guinea (PNG) were largely in response to increasing concern that the public service was failing in its responsibility towards the people. As a result, the 1995 Organic Law on Provincial and Local Governments (OLPLLG) was established. However, almost two decades on, poor socio-economic conditions and deterioration in infrastructure/services suggest that the proposed change has not materialised.

It is against this backdrop that this paper raises the following question: How effective is the state in implementing national development strategy and plans at the LLG level? Indications of decline in rural service delivery, deteriorating infrastructure and low income earning opportunities call into question whether LLGs are effective implementer.

This research was conducted in Dreikikir LLG, East Sepik Province – one of the most remote, rural and underdeveloped areas in the country. It thus provided a good test of whether development plans were being developed and implemented effectively in rural areas.

Findings from Dreikikir LLG suggest that the 1995 reform has not created the intended changes. Instead, the reforms have made LLGs dependent upon their Joint District Planning and Budget Priorities Committee (JDP & BPC) and their district administration, which have become the main impediment to local government effectiveness. This in turn has greatly hindered LLG capacity and has reinforced unequal relations, rather than assisting service delivery in PNG. There is therefore a need to make LLGs more effective players.

 

Full text is available here.

Barcson, Benjamin (2015). “Challenges to Implementing Development Plans at Local-level Government in Papua New Guinea.” Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance: 16-17, June 2015.