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Papua New Guinea

Pre-independence teacher says national loans are for building not decorating

BY FRANKLIN KOLMA

ONE of the country’s first ever teachers during the colonial age has come out saying loans should be procured to build the country and not decorate it.

He said that he had worked in rural Papua New Guinea for over forty years with missionaries building up small schools, churches and basic infrastructure in the hopes that one day, PNG would be able to blaze its own path to modernity and that it was sad to see all that “going to the dogs.”

Mr Mange said that he had recently criticised the flying of PNG’s flag on light posts as a sign of disrespect and was now seeing the media to further critic the government on its use of loans for excessively concentrated development.

“Why must all the vital infrastructure be built in Port Moresby?” asked the old teacher.

“We have had so many ground breaking ceremonies around the country since independence, the ground remains untouched.

“I cry for our people because they want development more than anything but their government is more interested in decorating the main city for potentially positive outcomes,” said Mr Mange.

He added that nothing was wrong with bettering ourselves on the international front and maintaining ties but that the work he and many others had started a long time ago was still not complete as there remains thousands of villages untouched by the modern hand of development.

“We say we have to build roads and then say we have to source funds from donors or such, than when an international event occurs, we go and borrow millions just to ensure we are viewed in a positive light,” said the elder.

He said that it was time the government revisits its whole development strategy to refocus on the logical borrowing to grow a nation and not embellish it.

“The logical thing to do is to borrow money to invest in tangible and absolute development like a bridge in Madang or a proper boating dock in Western Province. Borrowing to please outsiders is not my idea of caring for the people, but what do I know I’m just a teacher,” said the learned Mr Mange in concluding.

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