4 Sep 2009

PNG politician says slow disease response shows need for public sector change

2:11 pm on 4 September 2009

Papua New Guinea's Deputy Opposition Leader is backing Health Minister Sasa Zibe's claims that public servants are to blame for the slow response to the epidemics in Morobe Province.

Illness in two isolated zones of the province have already claimed dozens of lives and officials fear more could die.

Mr Zibe had wanted a state of emergency declared yesterday(thursday) but says what he calls lazy officials had not furnished him with the necessary information.

Deputy Opposition Leader, Bart Philemon, who is a Morobe MP, says the country is weighed down by an expensive bureaucracy which is not delivering.

Mr Philemon wants to see a re-structuring of the public service on two fronts.

"One front is to re-adjust the proportion of funds that we allocate for recurrent costs as against those for goods and services and development, and secondly we have to develop training to get more effective use out of our work force. We have seventy thousand, over seventy thousands public servants - we are paying them and not getting results out on the ground."