Papua New Guinea
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Laziness taking its toll

Take a stroll on any given day around Port Moresby and you will see some people living with disabilities (PLWDs) along with abled bodied individuals begging on the streets.

Every now and then, the kind hearted people who pass by throw a few coins at them and move on.

Some of these people are blind, others are crippled, and many are very small children.

Do you ever wonder how those with the disabilities ever get to those particular spots every day to carry on their businesses?

Do you ever ask why these children are not in school?

The children have their own reasons and usually their stories are heart wrenching.

For the PLWDs, it is really very hard to accept what these people are doing.

They are raising money every day for their able-bodied carers who take them to the city spots to beg and in the afternoon, collect them with their hard-earned money.

How could any abled bodied man in this land of plenty, take advantage of them in such a manner, to maintain their lives in the city when in our cultures, however diversified they are, always provided for the weak and disabled.

The answer is perhaps in the words of one senior politician, Sir Peter Ipatas, in his address to his people in Enga during the 48-independence anniversary celebration.

“We can be economically stable if only we control the mushroom of Asian shops at the confined locations where a local man could operate similar small businesses.

Why are we allowing Asians to come right into our villages and communities to engage in businesses even to the extent of selling betelnut on the tables?

That shows how lazy we are right from the community level to the towns and cities which results in our poverty,” Sir Peter was reported in this newspaper last Tuesday.

The forever reoccurring picture of people sitting all across the length and breadth of the nation waiting on handouts from their leaders.

A fault not of the people’s doing one might argue with so much denial of basic services, but a mutated culture of a quick buck has desensitised us to what real hard work can bring about.

Sir Peter concluded that it was time for people to start engaging in income generating activities to sustain their livelihoods and not to expect the government to provide everything for them.

Sir Peter has hit the nail on the head. We all must take ownership of our lives and work hard to sustain our livelihood. There is no other way or easy way.

PNG may be rich in natural resources that is attracting hordes of multinational investors but the country is also saddled with very serious challenges like the ever-present lawlessness, corruption, poverty and traditional barriers like the diverse cultures, languages and many others.

Our country is also up to its neck in debts, inflation is driving cost of living sky high and the economy is depressed.

Just take a look at the available statistics on the economy.

The bulk of our people depend on agriculture and yet this sector contributes only 26 per cent to the national gross domestic product (GDP).

This is from the large coffee, copra, cocoa, oil palm and rubber plantations.

The extractive industries (mineral, oil and gas sector) contribute 75 per cent.

There is very little contributed by the bulk of our people out there.

We do not need leaders like Sir Peter to remind us that we have to work hard.

We must allow the hunger for food, for money, for a better life and for a better PNG to drive us to work hard for ourselves and for our country, going forward.

There is just no other way or easy way.