Papua New Guinea
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Clean out Labour Department first

Our high unemployment is a ticking time-bomb that has been venting its fuse in a dangerous manner since 1975.

It seems, no single government has ever taken employment of its people seriously. And no single government since Independence has seriously considered the implications of its unemployed youth and school leavers. Lip service has been common.

Jobs creation is left to big industry. Government has had very few domestic ideas on job creation while peddling the same line, Agriculture is the architect to a healthy and wealthy nation.

Yesterday, the question of high unemployment, high influx of foreigners holding jobs that are reserved for Papua New Guineans, was raised on the floor of Parliament in questions directed at the new Minister for Labour and Employment Ms Kessy Sawang.

Ms Sawang’s response was that on record, there are 50,000 foreigners employed in various sectors in the country. That is according to records kept at Labour and Employment.

And the Government intends to deport 10,000 foreigners and take back their jobs and give these to Papua New Guineans. Now, this may sound good, and at least the government is acting after hearing the cries and plight of our unemployed youth and young graduates.

But seriously, this is plain absurd. In what areas are these 10,000 going to be culled? And especially since the number of unemployed Papua New Guineans far exceeds 10,000.

We have so many university graduates with degree papers and no jobs. We have university, college and year 12 school leavers all on the streets – nogad wok. What is well known is that there are far more foreigners already in the country with no proper documentation.

And if they have any form of ID, it might list that person as a manager, but in reality, he or she will be driving a truck or welcoming guests at the front desk of a 5-star hotel.

Ms Sawang is a career public servant, who formerly held senior posts at the Department of National Planning before contesting the National General Elections.

So, she is well versed in public policy and the processes of Government and its failures in dealing with its human resources. She is the right minister to bring back the job employment opportunities for many of our young people.

While you are at it, Ms Sawang, may we suggest that you actually take the broom and give your whole department a total shakedown.

Many Papua New Guineans are unemployed because of the systematic and systemic corruption in your department. How did those 10,000 expats get into PNG in the first place?

There are too many sinister back door deals at your department, Ms Sawang. This is the very reason why there are so many foreigners in our country performing menial tasks and holding jobs that any PNG grade 10 or 12 can do on a daily basis.

Once you clean out your department of the corruption that has become so obnoxious and nauseous, the job of keeping jobs for our next generation of hopefuls will be restored.

Our children are tired of seeing the signs: Sorry, Nogat Wok, Gaukara Lasi!