Major Impediments to the Development of Papua New Guinea. Non-Communicable Diseases (Lifestyle Disease), High Illiteracy Rate, Corruption and Landowner Compensation (Conflict)

Scientific Study, 2015
96 Pages



This paper discusses some of the major impediments that are affecting the development of this country, Papua New Guinea and off course the general picture of the world. These impediments are identified as Lifestyle or Non Communicable Diseases, Corruption, High Illiteracy rate and Landowner issues especially land conflict and land compensation for mining.

I see the following as major impediments to the development of this nation; however people have different views, but I see these things are becoming barriers to the development of this nation.

Due to modernisation and westernisation, a lot of people in Papua New Guinea have already adopted western lifestyle. Thus, Non- Communicable Disease is prevalent in PNG. Non- Communicable Diseases are normally found in developed countries but now it is found in PNG. The first case was reported in 1971 but now it’s rose up to almost 46% of the total death rates in PNG is NCD. The survey shows that it is affecting most working class people who have direct correlation in term of input in the development of PNG through human resource development and economic development.

Secondly, corruption can also be regarded as one of the impediments to development in PNG because a lot of public funds have been misused at the political and bureaucratic level. We will explore the details in the discourse of this paper.

Thirdly, high illiteracy rate is another contributing factor hindering the progress of development in Papua New Guinea.

Finally, but not the least is land owner conflict and land compensations, it is also seen as an obstacle to the development of this nation of Papua New Guinea. Especially customary land acquisitions and landownership conflicts in mining areas. For example, Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) has been closed down due to landowner compensations, as a result government infrastructures have been destroyed and lives have been claimed.

This paper also provides some strategies and recommendations to address the following issues highlighted above. Especially recommending the government of the day to look into these issues through policy development and legislative framework.

Further research is encouraged for the decision makers or policy makers to have sufficient information available to make informed decisions to address those issues before it’s too late.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments. ii
Abstract iii
Acronyms and Abbreviation.. iv
List of Figures. vi
List of Tables. vi

Chapter 1: Introduction.. 10
1.1 Background. 10
1.2 Objective and purpose. 13

Chapter 2: Lifestyle disease affecting the development of Papua New Guinea. 13
2.1 Cause of lifestyle disease or NCD.. 14
2.2 Lifestyle disease and economic development impact 16
2.2.1 Economic burden and development 17
2.3 NCD affecting human resource development 18

Chapter 3: Corruption-An impediment to development in Papua New Guinea. 20
3.1 Causes and consequences of corruption in terms of economic development 22
3.2 Corruption and culture. 23
3.3 Impact of corruption.. 24

Chapter 4: High illiteracy rate is a major hindrance to the development of Papua New Guinea 25
4.1 Literacy rate of Papua New Guinea and development 26

Chapter 5: Land owner conflict affecting the progress of development in Papua New Guinea 27
5.1 Importance of land and development 28
5.2 Other general impediments to development of Papua New Guinea. 29

Chapter 6: Methodology. 30
6.1 Document review.. 30
6.2 Interview.. 31
6.3 Questionnaires. 32
6.4 Case study. 33

Chapter 7: Analysis and discussion on the findings. 33
7.1 Corruption in political and government systems of PNG.. 33
7.1.1 Institutional corruption.. 38
7.1.2 Corruption cases reported to the watchdog institutions. 39
7.1.3 Convicted cases reported by Task Force Sweep Team.. 40
7.1.4 Corruption at international scene. 42
7.1.5 Watchdog perception on PNG.. 43
7.2 High Illiteracy rate affecting development in PNG.. 45
7.2.1 Correlation between literacy rate and GDP.. 45
7.2.2 Prevalence of youth problems due to lack of education.. 48
7.3 Findings on lifestyle disease in Papua New Guinea. 49
7.3.1 Global trend on NCD affecting development 49
7.3.2 Papua New Guinea NCD findings. 51
7.3.3 Loss of economic development through NCD.. 53
7.4 Discussion on landowner issues and social problem.. 56
7.4.1 Landowner conflict and development –Case study BCL. 56
7.4.2 Government promise vague. 59

Chapter 8: Strategies and recommendations. 59
8.1 Chronic disease prevention strategies. 59
8.1.1 Potential of dietary and lifestyle factors to prevent chronic diseases. 60
8.1.2 Interventions. 60
8.1.3 School-based programs. 60
8.1.4 Worksite interventions. 60
8.1.5 Interventions by health care providers. 61
8.1.6 Transportation policy and environmental design.. 61
8.1.7 Promote walking and bicycle riding. 61
8.1.8 Improved food supply. 62
8.1.9 Promoting healthy food choices. 62
8.1.10 Initiatives at the community level 63
8.1.11 Economic policies. 64
8.1.12 Government policies. 64
8.2 Strategies on preventing corruption.. 66
8.2.1 Government initiative to combat corruption.. 66
8.2.2 Important tool in fighting corruption.. 67
8.2.3 Government officer and individual initiative to combat corruption. 68
8.2.4 Charity organisations advocates on corruption. 68
8.3 Strategies for land issues in Papua New Guinea. 69
8.3.1 Government policy and legislative framework. 69
8.3.2 National government land reform strategy. 70
8.3.3 Mining laws to be reviewed. 71
8.3.4 Landowner participation in development 71
8.4 Strategy to combat low literacy rate in Papua New Guinea. 72
8.4.1 Free education policy. 72
8.4.2 Other agencies reducing illiteracy. 72
8.5 Limitations. 73

Chapter 9: Conclusion.. 73

Bibliography. 78

Appendix A: Research Questionnaires. 85

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Background

Papua New Guinea is one of the countries in the world that has diverse culture and custom of about more than 800 different languages. According to health survey Papua New Guinea has an estimated population of around 6.7 million (2010), 38.2% under the age of 15. Around 800 languages are spoken in the country, each language group having a distinct culture, and there are large sociocultural differences between and within provinces. The official languages are English, Pidgin and Motu1. Access to widely scattered rural communities (87.5% of the country’s population is living in rural areas) is often difficult, slow and expensive. Only 3% of the roads are paved and many villages can only be reached on foot. Most travel between provinces is by air. The capital, Port Moresby, is not linked by road to the rest of the country.

Papua New Guinea is divided administratively into four regions: Southern Coastal (Papuan) Region, Northern Coastal (MoMaSe = Morobe, Madang and Sepik provinces) Region, Highlands Region, and New Guinea Islands Region. The governance system is a parliamentary democracy based on the Westminster model. As a member of the Commonwealth, the head of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea is Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by the Governor-General, who is elected by Parliament for a five-year term. The current single-chamber Parliament has 111 members, comprising one representative from each of the 21 provinces and the National Capital District, and one representative from each of the 89 open constituencies. Every five years, political leaders are elected to the two tiers of government: national and local. Presently, there is only one woman representative in the national Parliament. There is a decentralized system of government. At the subnational level, there are three levels of administration: provincial, district and local (including several communes, with their villages).2

The country is prone to numerous chronic natural hazards, as well as the occasional acute disaster situation, on a scale greater than any of its Pacific neighbours. The repertoire of hazards that continually hamper the development process in urban and rural remote locations of the country include volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones, large-scale landslides, flooding, sporadic droughts, frosts in highland areas, the impact of climate change and variability, and rising sea levels. There is also a high risk of technical and human-made disasters, such as oil spills, industrial pollution and unregulated and destructive land-use practices. Papua New Guinea is situated on the boundary between the Pacific and the Australian tectonic plates. The country has eight active volcanoes and is subject to regular earthquakes every year, with secondary effects of this activity including tsunamis and landslides. A major challenge to improving health is related to perceptions of illness and health among the general population. There is a widespread lack of awareness regarding risk-related and health-promoting behaviour, and little involvement by local communities in health-promoting activities. Key risks include behaviour and environments that increase the risks of communicable disease risks of Non -Communicable Disease, such as chewing betel and smoking tobacco; and the risks associated with unsafe sexual behaviour.

Papua New Guinea was actually discovered by the British and German missionaries and traders in the late 1900s. Colonised by German and British respectively during Pre-world war and handed over to Australia during Post World War, it has granted Independence from Australian government on 16th September 1975. The Nation of Papua New Guinea is now 40 years old in terms of self-government. During the period of 40 years, the country and its people have been rapidly growing and adapted western lifestyle and its modern way of living. People’s way of living has changed overtime. The way people eat, dress and act has all been changed to that of western life style. Thus, attracts both positive and negative consequences. Positive consequences are simply making everything easy and simple, may be someone might say life is full of pleasure and joy. However, on the other side, it has some negative effects like corruption, development of new type of diseases and rife in social problems, which is increase in crime rate and poverty.

Though, people having good time due to westernisation, yet they are not too close to outside world in terms of advance knowledge in the field of science research and development, advance industrial activities like manufacturing, lack of general sound economic climate compared to developed countries and other developing nations in the pacific. The living standards of the ordinary citizens are very low relatively, so as the GDP per person is also low because of 50-60% of population in the country is illiterate. Papua New Guinea has made some progress in social development over the last 30 years. For example, the literacy rate has risen from 32% to 58%. However, only half of all women aged 15 years and above and two thirds of all men aged 15 years and older have ever attended school. Enrolment rates vary significantly across provinces. Women have a very high fertility rate of 4.1 births per woman. Life expectancy has risen from 49 to 61years. In the 2000 population census, the crude death rate was 12.0 per 1000 population. The country’s Human Development Index (HDI) has decreased from 0.5 to 0.4, indicating that progress has slowed in recent years.

However, I personally think that the development of Papua New Guinea has been deprived or impended by the following keys issues which I will discuss in detail in the course of this paper. “Strong growth in the mining and resource sector has led to PNG becoming the seventh fastest-growing economy in the world as of 2011 (IMF). Despite this, the majority of the population still live in traditional societies and practice subsistence-based agriculture”.3

I will do some literature review on the topic; I will also discuss the result of my findings in this paper that will basically strengthen my argument and provide recommendations and strategies for the government and policy makers to look into it. This paper will basically answer the question mounted in the hypothesis. There are a lot of problems affecting the development of PNG but I have selected few notions in the discourse of this paper.

Table i: Key Development Indicators in Papua New Guinea 1996-2011
[Figures and tables are omitted from this preview.]
Source: World Health Organisation report Key Development Indicators –Human Development Index

The above table shows the general development indicators from different sources that seem to be major issues. However, I think the pressing issues needs immediate attention are as follows.

i. Lifestyle disease claiming lives of productive age group between 30-70 years affecting the human resource and the development of Papua New Guinea.

ii. Corruption is also another impediment that deprives the development of this nation as it is culturally found in the Melanesian Societies.

iii. High illiteracy rate in Papua New Guinea has affected development because a nation will develop and prosper only through education.

iv. Social problems and landowner issues in Papua New Guinea affecting development inevitable as land is culturally part of people’s life.

1.2 Objective and purpose

The objective of this paper is to identify and establish four key issues affecting the development of this great nation of Papua New Guinea. They are mentioned in the back ground above, I will discuss as to how they affect the development of Papua New Guinea. Propose strategies and recommend way forward to the relevant authorities and policy makers to address it through necessary legislative and policy reforms for the desired changes. This paper will basically discuss the cause, impact and address the implications of the above issues affecting the development of Papua New Guinea.

Identify the roots cause of issues, disclose the findings and admit the limitation for further research. I will recommend for further research to address the issues thoroughly because it is important to address it now before it is too late. The issues are systematically interconnected and it also part of moral problems that needs to be addressed both morally and systematically.

Chapter 2: Lifestyle disease affecting the development of Papua New Guinea

Lifestyle diseases or Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) are diseases such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney problem, heart failure and many more. In the late 1980s and 1990s, there were not many lifestyle diseases, the death rate of lifestyle disease were very low. However, due to modernisation and westernisation, today a lot of people are dying from lifestyle diseases. In the 1930s-1940s, health workers in Papua New Guinea were amazed at the nonexistence of atheroma in the blood vessels in the indigenous population. The major health issues were infectious diseases and under-nutrition (Isi, 2015). In high-income countries, heart disease, stroke, and cancer have long been the leading contributors to the overall disease burden. The burden from these diseases and other chronic and Non -Communicable Diseases are increasing in Middle- and Low-Income countries as well (Suzman and Berad, 2001).

Working class people in Papua New Guinea, the cream of the nation are now being affected by lifestyle diseases. It’s like a brain drain, NCD claiming a lot of lives who are the potential human resources, thus affecting the development of this nation. There are data on the death rates related to lifestyle diseases and NCD. About 65% of the deaths in Papua New Guinea are related to lifestyle diseases. The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) project estimates that, as at 2002, chronic or non-communicable conditions accounted for 54% of deaths in low- and middle income countries, compared with 36% attributed to communicable (i.e. infectious) (Suhrcke and Nugent ,2006). The growing prevalence of obesity leads to a range of associated disorders including some cancers, heart diseases, stroke, high blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes. A report from the WHO stated that obesity and lack of exercise contribute up to a third of cancers of the colon, kidney, breast and digestive system. A local study in 2001 documented that obesity in children is associated with impaired vascular function and early atherosclerosis. Cancer, heart diseases and cerebrovascular diseases (stroke) accounted for 59% of all deaths in Hong Kong in 19994. The government needs to do something about it to prevent before it’s too late, otherwise lifestyle disease will claim a lot of elite and working class people that will have a bigger impact on the development, progress and growth of this nation.5 The Non-Communicable Disease epidemic in Papua New Guinea is firmly established and increasing, but remains largely unrecognized in reported data.

Tobacco-related and alcohol-related illnesses, diabetes and hypertension are on the increase, as there are three leading cancers (oral, hepatic and cervical), along with breast and lung cancers.

2.1 Cause of lifestyle disease or NCD

Lifestyle disease are caused by a lot of factors, basically it’s because of westernisation and industrialisation. It has a big impact on the society and impedes the development of nations around the world including Papua New Guinean. Lifestyle diseases, as the name implies, result from a less than healthy lifestyle. These used to be mainly diseases of the affluent and occur more predominantly in developed countries in the West. (Sassi and Hurst, 2008, p. 7) “Industrialisation and prosperity have been accompanied by increase in the incidence of a number of chronic diseases”. However, with the adoption of some western dietary and daily habits by developing countries, these conditions are now important health issues worldwide. Together they generate high disease and death and have a huge impact on society both in terms of health and economic burden6. A lot of people especially working class people migrating to the cities and town have changed their diet to western dietary. Medical experts have long recognized the effects of diet on the risk of CVD, but the relationship between diet and many other conditions, including specific cancers, diabetes, cataracts, macular degeneration, cholelithiasis, renal stones, dental disease, and birth defects, have been documented more recently. The following list discusses six aspects of diet for which strong evidence indicates important health implications. These goals are consistent with a detailed 2003 World Health Organization report (WHO and FAO 2003). Too much salt intake and fats, soft drink with excessive sugar and processed food with different types of chemicals harm the body. Thus, caused diseases in the body subsequent to chemical imbalance in the body systems, also obesity and lack of exercise is another cause of lifestyle disease.

Too many working class people hardly walk, they drive to work and drive home, whole day siting in the office from morning to late afternoon. Contemporary life in the developed nations has markedly reduced people's opportunities to expend energy, whether in moving from place to place, in the work environment, or at home (Koplan and Dietz, 1999). Dramatic reductions in physical activity are also occurring in developing countries because of urbanization, increased availability of motorized transportation to replace walking and bicycle riding, and mechanization of labour (IARC 2002; Swinburne et al, 2004). A lot people owned cars and moving around on the car, thus motor vehicle is another cause of lifestyle disease because people use to move around on the car and do not want to walk. In wealthy countries, the automobile has strongly influenced the trend toward low-density, automobile-based suburban developments, many built without sidewalks. These expansive settlements tend to have few services within walking distance and are usually not linked to public transportation. Dependence on automobiles affects physical activity (Bell, and Popkin, 2002).

Alcohol and Tobacco is another cause of lifestyle disease, there are also increasing cases for cancer associated with alcohol and tobacco. Cases of tobacco-related and alcohol-related illness appear to be increasing, while data from Port Moresby General Hospital suggest that diabetes and hypertension are also on the increase alongside with tobacco and alcohol. The leading cancer in Papua New Guinea—oral—has a largely preventable cause (betel chewing and tobacco smoking)7. Tobacco and alcohol are sometimes culturally related because it’s becoming part of people’s culture in Papua New Guinea and its part of their lifestyle. For instance, if you go to any sort of party or gathering, alcohol is part of celebration. Out of 100 social gathering 99 will still serve alcohol. Consequently, most lifestyle related cases of deaths are associated with tobacco and alcohol. It is evident that tobacco is the main cause of cancer and other related NCD.

Too much time spent on television watching is another cause of Live Style Disease because that involves not much physical activities. The number of hours of television watched per day is associated with increased obesity rates among both children and adults (Hernandez et al, 1999), (Ruangdaraganon et al, 2002), With a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and gallstones ( Hua and Leitzmann, 2001). This association is likely attributable both to reduced physical activity and to increased consumption of foods and beverages high in calories, which are typically those promoted on television”. Vast majority of deaths at all ages relating to NCDs among men and women in all parts of the world. They include tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and low intake of fruits and vegetables. These common behavioural risk factors contribute largely to high blood pressure, obesity, high blood glucose and cholesterol levels, which in turn cause major NCDs such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes mellitus and chronic lung diseases. (Bam et al, 2000).

2.2 Lifestyle disease and economic development impact

Non-Communicable-Disease is caused by lifestyle choice having a major impact around the world especially in the pacific island countries including Papua New Guinea. It’s affecting the development of this nation through losing a lot of skilled human resource. Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are increasingly being recognised as a global issue which threatens economic development and imposes heavy financial costs on households (Gouda et al, 2013). The global epidemic of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) is now widely acknowledged as a major development challenge in the 21st century and a significant threat to achieving internationally agreed development goals8. NCDs are the leading causes of death worldwide it has an economic impact which is very costly in combating and prevents it. It has cost the government so much money to find means and ways to prevent Non- Communicable Disease. High disease burden can reduce productivity. (Spolaore and Wacziarg, 2001)

Recent estimates taken from the WHO 2009 western pacific regional action plan for the prevention and control of Non-Communicable Diseases (2014-2020). (Lozano et al, 2012) suggest that NCDs are leading cause of death in Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) and responsible for over 70 per cent of all deaths annually. Many of these deaths are preventable and share common risk factors. NCDs such as stroke and diabetes can result in many years of chronic illness and place a debilitating burden on families and health systems.

Most developed countries in the last 100 years or so have experienced increase life expectancy and age longevity due to good health facilities and systems. However, now it has an adverse effect because of increased prevalence in Non- Communicable Diseases which has major impact on economic burden the burden is measured by estimating the loss of healthy years of life due to a specific cause based on detailed epidemiological information. In 2008, Non-Communicable Diseases accounted for an estimated 86 precent of the burden of disease in high-income countries. (Suzman and Berad, 2001 ).

2.2.1 Economic burden and development

Figure i: Economic loss of lifestyle disease (Heart Disease, Stroke and Diabetes)
[Figures and tables are omitted from this preview.]
Source: World Health Organisation

The governments around the world have spent a lot of money trying to combat and prevent the increasing prevalence of lifestyle disease, thus it cost the nation’s economy. Advances in medical care have in some cases prevented increasing incidence from translating into higher mortality, but industrialised societies bear growing burdens of disability contributing to rising health care expenditures (Sassi and Hurst, 2008). Most developed countries like US and United Kingdom have increased their budget in preventing lifestyle diseases. To measure the economic impact of shifting disease profiles in developing countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated the loss of economic output associated with chronic disease in 23 low- and middle-income nations, which together account for about 80 precent of the total chronic disease mortality in the developing world (Suzman and Berad, 2001).

There is increasing recognition that NCDs are an important international and development issue globally, undermining health gains and imposing financial and economic costs on government and households. If nothing is done to reduce the risk of chronic disease, an estimated $ 84 billion of economic production would be lost from heart disease, stroke, and diabetes between 2006 and 2015 in the 23 low and middle income countries accounting for around 80 precent of chronic disease mortality. Diabetes – an NCD prevalent in the pacific ‐ caused an estimated $ 465 billion in health care expenditure globally in 2011, 11 per cent of total health care expenditure of adults. The economic burden of four major NCDs in island economies of the Caribbean reached $27 million, 2.8 per cent of the island’s GDP in 20069

2.3 NCD affecting human resource development

Papua New Guinea is losing its elites including academics to lifestyle diseases causing a brain drain in human resource, according to the National Research Institute NRI). Lifestyle diseases are impediments to the development of this nation, if elites suffered from lifestyle diseases they became useless and did not contribute to the development of the country (Webster, 2015). Good health plays vital role in economic and human development and it is a crucial part of wellbeing (Ahmad and Majeed, 2008)

Webster was concerned that there might not be replacements of elites who possessed valuable knowledge and expertise in various fields of study in PNG. It was important for people to recognise the value of the return rate in terms of human resource participation in the economy when elites suffered or died from these diseases they put everyone at risk, including their families. We want Papua New Guineans to know the importance of looking after ourselves (Webster, 2015).If people are healthy they contribute a lot to the development of our country. Thus, there is a need to address these issues and improve the life expectancy of every citizen. Papua New Guinea has one of the lowest life expectancy in the world. In the next few years’ time Papua New Guinea will lose a lot of its elites and working class people through lifestyle disease. (Port Moresby, 10 August 2010 –Post courier)“ Lifestyle diseases are damaging through our people now in a way that we could not have imagined 50 years ago. Medical authorities are worried about the trend. They see people dropping like flies with diseases brought on by the food and drink they consume and by the lack of suitable exercise in their lives”. It is a sign that the trend is gathering speed and taking more lives as it grows. Very sadly, such a trend does not elude the health professionals over the next 10 to 15 years, people in every world region will suffer more death and disability from such Non-Communicable Diseases as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes than from infectious disease (Suzman and Berad, 2001).

Figure ii: The increasing burden of chronic Non- communicable Diseases: 2008 and 2030
[Figures and tables are omitted from this preview.]
Source: World Health Organization, Projections of Mortality and Burden of Disease, 2004-2030. Available at:

Hence, by 2030 a lot of working class people will be claimed by Non- Communicable Diseases. By then all the brains will be gone, if that happens who will develop this nation, it will have an adverse impact on the development of this nation. All the elites and academics will be gone; all the politicians will be gone and the nation will be in chaos. In order for the nation to develop, there must be a healthy human resource as it is stated in (Vision 2050 Document Page 4) that “Improved distribution of public goods and better trained human capital, will lead to the increased participation of people who are healthy, skilled and knowledgeable. This will ensure that rural and remote communities contribute positively to the development process”. It is human capital or human being who drives the development process, not just an ordinary human being but knowledgeable, skilled and healthy human being. If a person is disabled or sick, he or she cannot perform the tasks effectively or efficiently. Rather if a person dies from Non- Communicable Disease then he or she goes with his/her skills and knowledge. Hence, there is a gap in the community, society or nation as a whole. It is very hard to replace someone. Thus, it contributes to the down fall of the economy and nation building and development generally.

The success of Vision 2050 is depending upon the competencies of the country’s workforce. A well-educated, healthy, appropriately skilled, and honest work force that is committed, proactive and innovative is the kind of workforce required to implement Vision 205010. The government development plan of Vision 2050 promotes healthy workforce as the key focus on the development and nation building. Economic growth under the four described scenarios will provide means for the government to deliver on its seven pillar activities.

In turn, improved infrastructure, human resource development, improved health and educational facilities and institutions and improved life expectancy will empower the people of Papua New Guinea, to be wise, fair, smart, healthy and happy. Healthy work force or society is key because if workforce is fit and healthy, productivity of a nation will grow, thus increase the GDP of household, individual and family. However, the health of workforce is now affected by lifestyle disease or Non-Communicable Disease, which is the fact and cannot be denied. It is proven from different sources that it will affect development of the nations around the world including Papua New Guinea.

Chapter 3: Corruption-An impediment to development in Papua New Guinea

Corruption can be defined as abusing the set process for self-gain or self-interest or put self-interest a priority than serving the people. Most academics in the world defined corruption as abuse of public office for private gain. (Shleifer and Vishny, 1993) defined government corruption as the sale by government officials of government property for personal gain. (Nathaniel), a Harvard researcher who wrote one of the earliest pieces in the academic literature on corruption—at a time when it was not on the radar screen of either the IMF, or the World Bank, or bilateral donors—said that “corruption is an extra-legal institution used by individuals or groups to gain influence over the actions of the bureaucracy”. (Nye, 1967, p. 418), “Corruption is a behaviour which deviates from the formal duties of a public role because of private-regarding (personal, close family, private clique) pecuniary or status gains, and includes bribery, nepotism and misappropriation”. Corruption is like a cancer, retarding economic development. Systemic corruption also referred to as entrenched corruption, occurs where bribery (money in cash or in kind) is taken or given in a corrupt relationship. These include kickbacks, pay-off, sweeteners, greasing palms, etc) on a large or small scale. It is regularly experienced when a license or a service is sought from government officials.(Gray and Kaufmann, 2005) made a strong case for a broader definition of corruption, not necessarily restricted to an exclusive concern with illegal acts involving the public sector In Africa

In his review of the literature on corruption (Bardhan 1997, p. 1321) says that in most cases “corruption ordinarily refers to the use of public office for private gains, where an official (the agent) entrusted with carrying out a task by the public (the principal) engages in some sort of malfeasance for private enrichment which is difficult to monitor for the principal.” (Klitgaard, 1988, p. 22) draws on the principal/agent formulation to say that corrupt behaviour occurs when “the agent is betraying her role as a public servant for her own private interests.” (Banfield, 1975, p.587) establishes an interesting distinction between personal corruption, in which the agent “sacrifices his principal’s interest to his own, that is, he betrays his trust” and official corruption in which the agent violates a law and “acts illegally or unethically albeit in his principal’s interest.” More recently, the principal/agent formulation has been adopted by (Banerjee, Mullainathan and Hanna 2012) to develop a new theoretical framework for analysing corruption. In their model, corruption is a consequence of the interaction between the task being performed by the bureaucrat, his/her private incentives and what the principal can observe and control.

In this chapter I will discuss how corruption affects the development of the nations around the world and off course this great nation of ours Papua New Guinea. To begin with, according to (Claros, 2013, p.1) “Removing impediments to sustainable economic development: The case of corruption”. That’s confirms from some sources of literature that corruption is a real impediment to development. This argument is further affirmed by (Rushton, 2011, p.2) “Corruption and its impediment of development are global problems; however despite their international dimensions, they are, by their very nature, issues that need to be addressed locally and responsively”. Further supported by (Dix and Walton 2013, p.8) “Corruption is a key impediment to the country’s development”. (Lawal, 2007, p.1) “Corruption has been at the centre of development an impediment of true and real development in the society”. As part of the reason why citizens and policymakers often talk past each other is that corruption is still under-researched in Papua New Guinea. As the topic of this Thesis implies, hypothetically ask this question of what are some of the impediments affecting the development of this nation of Papua New Guinea. I believe, corruption is one of the major impediments that affecting the development of Papua New Guinea. Corruption poses one of the gravest threats to economic growth, democracy, and political stability, in countries across the globe at all stages of political and economic development (Thornton, 2001). Corruption occurs at all levels, at the community level, church, government or bureaucratic level and at the political level and off course at the international level such as money laundering cross borders. In the (National Newspaper dated 28th April), Transparency International chairman Lawrence Stephen said “Money laundering through real estate company in Australia is adding to the corruption distresses to this Country”. There are a lot of corrupt cases in the government systems and political level, lots of Member of Parliament are referred to leadership tribunal by corruption watchdog and whistle blowers especially Ombudsman Commission.

“There are no specific laws on corruption covering the entire civil service except the Leadership Code and other criminal laws. However, there are laws on governing the management of public funds and appointments criteria. These are the Public Finance Management Act, The Public Service Management Act and the Auditor-General Act. However the implementation and impact of these acts have been impeded by incapacity and blatantly abused by public officers” (Mallam and Aloi, 2003, p.25)

3.1 Causes and consequences of corruption in terms of economic development

Massive corruption, lack of commitment, the dominant role of public sector in the economic life of the nation, as such, this country has lost opportunities for growth and sustainable development. Corruption has become a common phenomenon in many developing economies (Abul et al, 2014). “Corruption poses one of the gravest threats to economic growth, democracy, and political stability, in countries across the globe at all stages of political and economic development” (Thorton, 2002, p.2). Corruption occurs when wealth distribution is not properly done and set systems and process are by passed. “Grant corruption at a political level related to greed for power and money while petty corruption arises from cultural and economic factor” (Mana, 1999, p.6). From my observation, corruption is part of our culture but most importantly people practise corruption to be greedy and accumulate wealth. People also practise corruption to be in power, that’s the only causes of corruption. Corruption is defined as offering, giving, receiving or soliciting either directly or indirectly, anything of value to influence the action of a public official involved in government procurement. It is motivated by greed for money or power (The National Thursday March 26 2015). “The allocation of public procurement contracts through a corrupt system may lead to a lower quality of public infrastructure and services”. Rather than choosing contractors by merit and the best potential outcome, corrupt bureaucrats could harm development by awarding contracts which resulted in substandard outcomes (Political Corruption | L2046)

There was a study done in Nigeria and the result of the study shows that, there have been significant reductions in the level of corruption in the country through introduction of government anti-corruption instruments. “In addition, this study found a negative correlation between levels of corruption and economic growth thereby making it difficult for Nigeria to develop fast” (Obayelu, 2007, p.1). Bribery usually leads to inefficient economic outcomes. “It impedes long-term foreign and domestic investment, misallocates talent to rent-seeking activities, and distorts sectoral priorities and technology choices, for example, creating incentives to contract for large defence projects rather than rural health clinics specializing in preventive care". (Gary and Kaufmann, 1998, p.8). (Ake, 1996) felt that Nigeria's deepening crisis of underdevelopment at this period was as a result of bad leadership and public corruption.

There is newspaper reports everyday about Member of Parliament being reported for corrupt practises, like misuse of public funds. Nearly 99% of the cases reported are stealing and misuse of public funds. These funds are development budgets for improving schools, hospitals and other economic development but diverted through corrupt dealing for their own benefit, thus, dragging the progress and development of this nation.

Corruption creates negative national image and loss of much needed revenue. It devalues the quality of human life, robs schools, agricultural sectors, hospitals and welfare services of funds (Elijah, 2007). It discourages foreign investments leading to decrease in Foreign Direct Investment. It exacerbates inequality, desecrates the rule of law and undermines the legitimacy and stability of democratic regimes (Obayelu, 2007). The consequence of corruption in any one nation around the world is nothing but just slowing down and depriving the development of a Nation. The manifestations and problems associated with corruption have various dimensions which have constrained authentic entrepreneurial development in both urban and rural communities (Abul et al, 2014).

People engage in corrupt practices as a result of high level of poverty, high unemployment rate, under-remuneration of workers, financial hardship, persuasion by friends and colleagues in public offices, desire to please kinsmen, late payment of contractors by government, over-concentration of power and resources at the centre, unregulated informal economy, nepotism, tribalism in the administration of justice and lack of honest leaders. Thus, all these things happen subsequent to corruption. According to (Eigen, 2001) corruption is seen as a daunting obstacle to sustainable development. Constraints on education, health care and poverty alleviation, and great impediment to the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing by half the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015. Hence, donor agencies and financial institutions like World Bank have cut lending. (Wolfensohn, 1997, p.2) “Sometimes World Bank cut lending drastically, where poor governance, including systemic corruption, has affected Bank projects. And the structural adjustment programs it has supported in many countries, as well as improving economic performance, has reduced economic rents that are the source of much corruption”.

3.2 Corruption and culture

Sharing and caring is synonymous with leadership in Melanesian culture. Amongst traditional leaders, mobilization and distribution of wealth is an essential component of their responsibilities. It further enhances their status within the tribe ( Aloi and Malam, 2003). However, upon being elected, leaders and appointed officials fail to draw differences between traditional culture and the rules and regulations governing public office and public resources .Under this notion, I would like to point out that, the covert part that is obvious in our society is called wantok system. It is part of cultural practises of corruption that affect the development of this nation. Culturally, wantok system, sharing and caring is also part of encouraging corruption. Bribery is one of the obvious causes of corruption. A recent empirical paper by (Fan and Treisman 2012), using survey data from 80 countries, provides evidence that firms are more likely to report bribery in countries with more government tiers, or with a larger number of local government employees. The social bond of tribal loyalty and kingship inherit in Melanesian culture have made their way into the management public resources and other functions of the public administrative (Mana, 1999). Wantok System is a corrupt practises which affect most major projects and weaken the government public service machineries in Papua New Guinea, it is kind of a traditional and cultural system which has been rooted in the minds and hearts of people for so long since independence and even prior to independence. “Corruption in Africa is a development and social issue which becomes an impediment to change and a serious constraint on economic growth and poverty reduction” (Lawal, 2007, p.3). According to Vision 2050 (2008,Page 9) Papua New Guinea’s ranking from 158 out of 180 countries in 2012 on the Corruption Perception Index to a ranking of above 50.

There are couple of classical examples, especially projects failed due to corrupt practises by the politicians and top bureaucrats. Petty corruption is rife throughout all facets of public life refer to administrative corruption within government departmental offices and their provincial outpost, petty corruption involves bribery, tax evasion, fraud and forgery, and include the use of public facilities for private business by Wantoks and friends in Tok Pisin ( Manna, 1999). In Asian Development Bank perspectives of corruption as cited by (Agbu, 2001), corruption is defined as the behaviour of public and private officers who improperly and unlawfully enrich themselves and/or those closely related to them, or induce others to do so, by misusing the position in which they are placed. Thus, a person who engages in nepotism has committed an act of corruption by putting his family interests over those of the larger society (Gire, 1999).

Contracts are awarded to cronies and wantoks without going through normal tendering process, at the end of the day providing substandard job. Takes the money and goes away without successful delivery of projects. The government time and time again spent money on the same project, that’s why you will see that most developing countries even though rich with resources but will never develop rapidly because of those issues highlighted above.

3.3 Impact of corruption

Corruption is a big concern now in Papua New Guinea because it is becoming a global phenomenon affecting the development of both developed and developing nations around the world, it is not only found in developing countries. “Corruption exists throughout the world, in developed and developing countries alike” (Lawal, 2007, p.1). Port Moresby General Hospital runs out of TB drugs see (Post courier Page 4, April 21 2015) “The hospital nurse told the mother of a baby that, they do not have the vaccine to give it to the baby who was diagnosed with TB, she was told to pay K50 to get BCG jab for her baby”. “We cannot say whether health and education are getting so little because other sectors are getting a lot more or because of waste and corruption” (Webster et al, 2014, p. 28). The impact that corruption has on this country is very simple terms every K1 million lost through corruption is at least worth the cost of 8 houses for health workers or teachers in remote areas. It can keep 25 rural airstrips open and there is much more. K7 billion lost from trust funds equates to at least 28,000 double classrooms for 2.2 million school kids. Every life lost due to lack of access to medical care is a development loss11.

Increase in poverty level, high mortality rate, low life expectancy, high illiteracy rate is all indicators of human development which is caused by corruption and the corrupt practises. If the human development index and economic development in terms of GDP per capita is high then it is a clear sign of progressing. However, according to the human development in index, PNG is 137 out of 169 countries, its way below. A cancer that hinders and imped PNG to progress and move forward is corruption and it needs to be removed. The current status of the sector is depicted by low life expectancy brought about by unfavourable human development indicators such as high infant and neonatal mortality rates, high maternal mortality ratio, low literacy rates of adults as well as deteriorating conditions of infrastructure such as roads and bridges, health centres and hospitals. Unfavourable economic conditions in terms of access to markets and opportunities for economic activities (mainly through paid jobs) also contribute towards the status of the quality of lives of the people12.


1 Papua New Demographic Health Survey 2006-Country Health Information Profile Page 321

2 Health Information Profile

3 Health Service Delivery Profile Papua New Guinea 2012 -WHO

4 Materials for this article are taken from lessons written for a Secondary level “Health Module” for the Education Department in 2002

5 Papua New Demographic Health Survey 2006-Country Health Information Profile Page 321

6 Materials for this article are taken from lessons written for a Secondary level “Health Module” for the Education Department in 2002.


8 See

9 THE ECONOMIC COSTS OF NON‐ COMMUNICABLE DISEASES IN THE PACIFIC ISLANDS. A Rapid Stocktake of the situation in Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu. Final Report 2012

10 Vision 2050 Human Resource Development-Healthy work force Pages 12

11 Information obtained from Transparency International Chairman Lawrence Stephen

12 Achieve an efficient health system which can deliver an internationally acceptable standard of health services. MTD

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Major Impediments to the Development of Papua New Guinea. Non-Communicable Diseases (Lifestyle Disease), High Illiteracy Rate, Corruption and Landowner Compensation (Conflict)
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papua new guinea, development, corruption, landowner conflict, diseases, illiteracy
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Joseph Bossip (Author), 2015, Major Impediments to the Development of Papua New Guinea. Non-Communicable Diseases (Lifestyle Disease), High Illiteracy Rate, Corruption and Landowner Compensation (Conflict), Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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