29 Aug 2002

Papua New Guinea's public service numbers to be cut

10:52 am on 29 August 2002

The public service minister in Papua New Guinea says the number of public servants will need to be reduced but there will be no cuts this year.

Dr Puka Temu says a manpower and payroll audit of the 77,000 strong public service is currently being undertaken and decisions will then be made.

He says there's likely to be an amalgamation of some departments while others like health may well get more workers.

Dr Temu says the process is necessary because of the worsening state of the economy.

"My gut feeling is that between fifty to sixty thousand probably is the level that we should have. The question beyond that is what we can affoerd and what we cannot afford. And we are talking about our sinking economy and therefore as to what our economy can sustain."

Dr Temu says negotiations with the Public Employees Association to reduce the public service to between 50 to 60,000 workers will be ongoing.