By Journalism student Mathilda Ginio

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape delivered a very frank statement when he addressed Ministers and Governors during the one-day conference held at APEC Haus in Port Moresby on the 17th of January.

In delivering the key note address the Prime Minister made no bones about the importance of removing political influence over the public service.

The Prime Minister spoke at length on many issues that affect the public service and provided his perspective on the influence exerted on the public service by politicians.

However, he shuttled it down to the basics and that is honesty. “Honesty is what matters most today and is the greatest commodity in need in our public service and in our country.

Honesty to the call of duty, honesty to the service our county deserve that we must run. District DDA chairmen and provincial governments once we can look at the public service, let’s look inward and see how much we have delivered.

“We are all time bound as public servants. Politicians you’re time bound in a sequence of 5years, public servants your time bound is once you reach 65. The country you have served and informed is the country that you will retiring to”.

“Let’s isolate from politics from the appointment of public service and strengthen the merit based appointment and let’s strengthen the integrity in public service.

“Let’s remove influence of politicians over public service. Let’s uplift politicians to only policy directions and legislative passing”. This was the statement the Prime Minister delivered when he addressed Ministers, Governors and agency heads who were present at the conference. The conference with the theme “Ensuring an effective and efficient public service machinery to ensure service delivery to our people”, was aimed at bringing Ministers of state and Governors under one roof to discuss issues about the public service and delivery of services. 

The Prime Minister went on to state that politicians should only give directions on policy based on different government orientations which should be measured against constitutional fundamentals.

Mr. Marape also spoke about the importance of the merit based appointment of agency heads on performance based contracts.

The Prime Minister also suggested that all contracts of all department heads including provincial administrators, must be reviewed on an annual basis, and if financial and human resource management was below expectations, that particular person must be terminated.

“No ministers or government should stand in the way of benchmark assessments of department heads and integrity of the government institutions be strengthened. Ombudsman, Public service Commission and Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) must deal with cases of corruption within the public service, “Our public service delivery system must have the high integrity standard so we account for the stewardship of our time and the management of public resource”.

Marape added. He also advised Secretary Taies Sansan to check all the department heads if they do not manage the human resources or financial resources and also making sure that every department heads contract is reviewed on the yearly fixed 3yers, 4years or 5years internship on the year.

He said, that you all know this is the budget given to you for one operational year, if you are spending beyond 10% up or 10% less you are not fit to be a department heads. It starts with the leadership. “46 years on someone said doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different better result”.

He also said, all public service programs must be policy based geared towards achieving national budget outcomes as per our national constitution. 

“No budget allocation must be made without policy. Accountability for performance, including management of financial and human resources, must be a key benchmark of all government departments”.