More Top Stories

Rugby Union

Bigger and busier 2023: PM

31 December 2022

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

PNG churches not interested in taking over ‘entire government functions’

Wednesday 1 November 2023 | Written by RNZ | Published in Papua New Guinea, Regional


PNG churches not interested in taking over ‘entire government functions’
Patients at the Mount Hagen Hospital. (file photo) Photo: AFP/ Marc Dozier/23110102

The government is abrogating its responsibility by asking the country's churches to provide more critical social services, a Papua New Guinea think tank has warned.

The PNG government announced last month it was committing ten percent of the earnings of two major state companies to the churches, so they could extend their efforts in healthcare and education and other fields.

Churches across PNG already provide a significant part of PNG's social services.

Papua New Guinea Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker told RNZ Pacific that churches recognise this commitment.

However, Barker said did not want more responsibilities pushed onto them.

"Please don't ask us to take over your government functions," he said.

"The responsible church leaders are recognising there are functions for the government and there are sound areas for partnership, but they don't want to take over the entire government functions."

The government announcement said ten percent of earnings from Kumul Petroleum Holdings Ltd and Kumul Minerals Holdings Ltd will go to the churches.

Prime Minister James Marape called it a transformative move but Barker said the government has about 1,400 entities, most of which were not functioning as they should.

He said addressing "problems of those institutions" was where their effort should be going.

"The problems of those institutions need to be addressed. Government institutions need to be rationalised and made effective because they do consume a very considerable amount of public funds and many of them are in desperate need of funding."

Barker said government institutions operations could be improved in their performance delivery "if they were managed more effectively, if you didn't have all the cronyism, political appointees to boards, to management and so on."