Papua New Guinea’s fiscal decentralisation: A means ahead


Monetary capabilities turned extra centralised with the introduction of the Natural Legislation on Provincial Governments and Native Degree Governments (OLPLLG) in 1995, which repealed the OLPG of 1977. The brand new legislation launched a 3rd tier of presidency — Native Degree Governments (LLGs) — and was later amended so as to add one other tier in 2013 known as District Growth Authorities (DDAs). Though the provinces retained entry to grants from nationwide authorities, assortment of enormous income sources corresponding to gross sales taxes was subsumed by nationwide authorities and customarily noticed PNG’s sub-national fiscal association transfer in direction of a hybrid between a regional and federal association.

Heavy dependence on nationwide authorities meant that nationwide grants expanded to incorporate provincial and native degree administration, provincial infrastructure growth, native degree authorities and village providers, city and concrete providers, provincial and local-level staffing, and a grant equal to exports sourced from the province (5 per cent of the province’s export worth). The native degree authorities and village grant, and the city and concrete providers grant, had been allotted primarily based on inhabitants. A significant drawback was that sub-national grants had been variable and disbursed too slowly, impeding service supply. By 2006, the Nationwide Analysis Institute noticed that the majority provinces and native degree authorities administrations had been insufficient in “scale, finance, or perform”, arguing that the capabilities devolved to those ranges had been too fragmented for providers to be delivered appropriately.

Revenues expanded with the introduction of Worth Added Tax in 1998, however income inequities endured among the many provinces. Worth Added Tax was later rebranded the Items and Providers Tax (GST) in 2003. GST added one other vital income stream for provincial governments. The funds are collected by the nationwide authorities and distributed in line with the place they had been generated, not the place wanted. Thus, the majority of GST stays with Nationwide Capital District and Morobe, the 2 provinces with probably the most financial exercise, leaving provincial inequities unsolved. Moreover, unstable nationwide authorities revenues on this interval meant provincial wants went unmet as revenues didn’t match the devolved service prices.

As of 2023, PNG’s sub-national governments have expanded to comprise 22 provincial governments, 96 district authorities, and 333 native degree governments. Sadly, extra didn’t show to be higher.

One enchancment to governance got here by the Intergovernmental Relations (Capabilities and Funding) Act launched in 2009, which unified all transfers to the provinces below a single switch termed the Perform Grant. The brand new Act established the Nationwide Financial and Fiscal Fee (NEFC), whose accountability was to help sub-national governments formulate budgets and assess efficiency. Nevertheless, governance typically deteriorated and by 2014, it was famous that although fiscal methods had been passable, administration, accounting, and reporting on the provincial degree had been “very weak”. 

Provincial governments failed to supply oversight of district planning. Poor accountability was not stunning, given provinces suffered an absence of administrative capability, poor dedication by authorities officers, political appointments and interference in administration, extreme spending on employees remuneration, and excessive numbers of employees working in non permanent positions. With this section of decentralisation, the variety of sub-national governments elevated with out addressing systemic weaknesses corresponding to administrative capability, monetary reporting, and auditing.

In 2014, parliament amended the 1995 legislation to additional empower native authorities. It eliminated the Joint District Planning and Price range Priorities Committee, with an accompanying Act to create District Growth Authorities with larger decision-making energy. These authorities have successfully added a fourth tier of presidency. However governance and repair supply safeguards for district authorities are poor. Districts don’t possess revenue-raising powers and rely solely on MP slush funds for spending. The Division of Implementation and Rural Growth, tasked with monitoring MP slush fund tasks, has solely been in a position to go to 16 of the then 89 districts, with its most up-to-date venture web site go to performed in 2016. A examine in 2014 surveying eight provinces discovered that spending below MP slush funds reached solely 20 per cent of faculties and 12 per cent of well being clinics. Additional, many tasks initiated below the slush funds had been discovered incomplete or of poor high quality. As soon as once more, decentralisation had didn’t ship.

As of 2023, PNG’s sub-national governments have expanded to comprise 22 provincial governments, 96 district authorities, and 333 native degree governments. Sadly, extra didn’t show to be higher. Of the 4 areas, the Islands fared higher in governance and repair supply, possible resulting from their smaller measurement and comparatively stronger administrative capability.


Regardless of efforts to enhance the standard of fiscal decentralisation, PNG’s sub-national governments stay largely depending on transfers from nationwide authorities, administrative weaknesses persist, and new challenges are rising. Most provinces will not be in a position to elevate funds and handle their affairs successfully. A extra centralised mannequin appears probably the most environment friendly resolution given institutional, capability, and useful resource constraints at decrease ranges of presidency.

PNG stays largely centralised with respect to its monetary and administrative governance preparations in comparison with Organisation for Financial Growth and Co-operation (OECD) excessive and higher middle-income nations. As proven by Determine 4, PNG’s sub-national governments stay closely depending on transfers from nationwide authorities. For a poor nation, this degree of centralisation is probably going higher suited to PNG’s degree of growth.

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