Rosa Koian: PNG is rich already, we just need to care more

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COMMENTARY: By Rosa Koian

We all want change and we want that change to happen quickly.

Many of us feel deprived of certain opportunities and privileges and therefore miss or forget that we are rich already.

As a country we didn’t have to struggle to become an independent democratic nation.

READ MORE: Scott Waide’s message to PNG’s Prime Minister James Marape

Beyond that we are rich with our good Papua New Guinean ways, our cultures and traditions. Our people have in them various skills and talents that are often given freely.

Our land holds rich minerals and natural resources that today in some parts of the country have become the cause of our various divisions and tensions.

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What we need is to appreciate this richness. Our constitution speaks of oneness, and respect for each other where we share equally the fruits of our land and people. Yes we need to engage in the global spheres but our people are central to everything we want to do.

Wealth distribution
Papua New Guinea needs to distribute its wealth equally so that our children can have free, quality education that is relevant for our sustenance and growth and that our sick can access good quality health care at no cost.

We are rich when our women are appreciated as equals and are free from violence and our youth are an integral part of our decision making. We have to stop blaming the youth for our law and order situations and start taking responsibility to guide them.

As a nation going forward when we see and hear more deep thinking young Papua New Guineans coming out of our universities and embracing our values we know we are in charge of our destiny.

We cannot continue to rely on foreign consultants to tell us how to run our country. Our ways are unique, diverse and deep and only we understand why we do things as Papua New Guineans. We must stop relying on borrowed concepts and ideas.

Free from foreign ideas
We want to be free from depending on development aid and foreign ideas that drive our development. It does not make sense when a mineral rich and natural resource rich nation depends heavily on aid. Take a look around, how many development projects are funded by foreign governments?

Annually we import K3-4 billion in food alone according to former National Planning Minister, Richard Maru.  Our dependence on grains has superseded our own food products. We want to stop depending on huge food imports to sustain us. We are rich with land and the right climatic conditions to produce our own food all year round. Rather than taking land from the people we want to help them use their land to produce food.

Lifestyle diseases among young people in Papua New Guinea are rising. Our nutrition status is not getting any better. We need to stop feeding our children unhealthy fast foods and encourage local organic food.

Our own people are paying huge taxes and we let companies get away without paying theirs. When our people start earning comfortable wages and salaries then we will know we are doing well as a country.

Many of our people who give service to this country do not live in decent homes serviced with proper water and sanitation systems and electricity.

Service for the people
We are rich when our banks and other service providers start doing service for our people instead of building empires based on profits.

Papua New Guinea, our land, is richly blessed. We have adopted a belief system that commands us to look after our God’s creation. And so when our forests, rivers, sea and land can be free from abuse and exploitation then we know we will be rich forever.

We are rich already. We just need to care more and look at our distribution mechanisms and make decisions responsibly.

Republished with permission from Scott Waide’s blog: My Land my Country

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Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz