PNG- POPULATION GROWTH: THE NATIONAL PACNEWS 2: Tues 15 July 2008
15 JULY 2008 PORT MORESBY (Pacnews) ------ Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) annual population growth rate of 2.3% is the highest by Asia-Pacific standards, reports The National.
Minister for Lands and Physical Planning and acting Prime Minister Dr Puka Temu told chief executive officers and directors of private sector organisations last Friday during the World Population Day corporate breakfast that at the current growth rate, PNG’s population was projected to reach 8.1 million in 20 years.
Dr Temu said if this was not seriously addressed it would pose a threat to the development aspirations. He said the theme of this year’s population day encompassed one of the most important issues for PNG’s economic and social development.
“The right to plan your family is among the rights and fundamental freedoms that apply to every person, everywhere while protection and promotion is the responsibility of governments,” he said.
Dr Temu said that in comparison to GDP growth, population growth was about 5.3% less, compared to real GDP growth of 7.6% this year.This indicated that the phase of economic progress was improving compared to the increase in population, he said.“However, this does not reflect the real picture because population pressure can place high demands on the public and private resources such as Government funds and land,” he said. “In the 2007-08 UNDP HDI report, PNG has slipped eight places from 137 to 145 ranking which indicates that social development is stagnant,” Dr Temu said.
“My challenge to you as the private sector of this country is to assist the Government in re-focusing your programmes on addressing the human face of development associated with high infant mortality, high maternal mortality, low literacy rates, high HIV/AIDS prevalence rates and so on,” he said. Dr Temu said effective development planning, growth of economy and a commitment by all levels of the Government to address basic services and infrastructure were vital to ensure that hospitals and schools would not be overcrowded or would not run out of vital drugs or textbooks.
The UN set aside this day to create awareness and provoke reflection on population…PNS (ENDS)