On 27 January 2018, we turned 21 years old. After 21 years, countless awareness programs and stories – one thing remains central to the TIPNG identity, and that is PEOPLE. People are at the heart of what we do and what is needed to create a country free from corruption.
Since our foundation in 1997, the TIPNG network has had many success and losses. On our 21st anniversary, we celebrated those victories even as we continue to learn from our losses. But the work is far from over. We need to keep on keeping on, in order to realise our vision: A country where individuals and organisations live and operate within the Rule of Law and are subject to good governance.
We launched three campaigns that we will focus on in 2018:
1. Independent Commission Against Corruption – TIPNG as part of the ICAC Technical Working group and through partnership with the Department of Justice & Attorney General will be advocating for the enabling legislation for ICAC to be tabled and enacted by Parliament. The ICAC is necessary for compliance with the Government’s commitment to the UN Convention Against Corruption and our own National Anti-Corruption Strategy.
2. The National Identity Project – The PNG NID card project was launched in November 2014 and slated to become a universal ID card for all Papua New Guinean citizens. To date over K200m has been spent and only 2% of the national population has been registered. There have been allegations of mismanagement by the Director of the National Statistical Office (NSO), syndicates within Civil Registry have been selling NIDs and the current Minister for National Planning has said no reports on how the funds have been presented to Parliament.
TIPNG will be campaigning on two fronts; for funding to NID to cease until a full audit report is furnished to the public and additionally, in line with remarks by Deputy PM Charles Abel when he was Minister National Planning, for the Director of the NSO to step down and be investigated by the authorities.
3. Access to Information – TIPNG will be advocating for the drafting of enabling legislation to allow citizens Access to Information as provided for in Section 51 of the National Constitution. The Government has signed up to international initiatives such as Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the Open Government Partnership (OGP) without creating a legal framework for citizens to access information from the Government, this will prove to be a stumbling block for the integrity of these initiatives and indeed national development if not rectified.
TIPNG is campaigning for greater integrity to be displayed by our leaders. We are campaigning for laws that benefit all of society. We are campaigning not only to have our voices heard but to make our leaders listen.
Progress, made together with the support of Papua New Guineans is critical. This work protects our democracy.