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Submitted by An Observer on

How often shall we cry for PNG? A touching article indeed but how does it explain the failure of the World Bank and its donor partners (Australia, Japan, Asian Development Bank and more recently China) to put in place a maintainable basic road network managed by a half-decent road organization. This despite decades of providing massive amounts of financial aid for road building and technical assistance and advisers for institution building. What has emerged in PNG is an aid industry that perpetuates itself through armies of expatriate consultants, who bemoan and groan about the corrupt and inept national administration, but participate in and benefit from the corruption that surrounds them. PNG is moreover an experimental laboratory for aid agencies to try out every possible fad in the road sector ranging from road funds, road boards, road authorities whose mandate and purpose is only known and clear to the supporting aid donor, performance based contracting when no one is sure what performance means in the context of PNG, and an elaborate sector planning process run by expatriates that produces massive volumes of planning data and reports; that only looks into the future and never assesses what was accomplished in the past - the plan just completed. And despite all the planning, no one knows how many vehicles ply PNG's roads and despite the availability of beautifully rendered road maps, no one for sure knows how many passable kilometers of road there really are in PNG. Could there be a greater planning travesty than this? And the business of development goes forward shamelessly in the name of the people of PNG.