Discipline, increased civic action activities, and a self-sustaining program would be the top priorities for the PNG Defence Force for the next three years, Defence Minister Saki Soloma announced yesterday.
In a ceremony at Murray Barracks to mark the handover of responsibilities from Solan Mirisim, Mr Soloma said the Government wanted the PNGDF to focus on these three areas.
“We want to maintain and improve discipline within the Defence Organisation. As Minister, I want to take a strong stand against ill discipline, as well as work on improving staff well being. This will lift moral, so we work towards achieving our goals,” he said.
“The second priority is to continue and expand our civic action and community engagement programs. We are already involved in some projects delivering excellent results, and we will expand that.
“I plan to solicit more support from the Government through the national budget so we can expand this program and have a wider coverage in communities throughout the country.
“In this way, we contribute directly to enhancing economic growth, and improving the lives of our people, mainly in rural areas.”
He said the Government also wanted the Defence Organisation to implement a program for self-sustainment in the long run.
“We must expand our Defence Commercialisation Program so that we seek less support from the government for some of the programs and projects were undertake here,” the Minister said.
He said there were ways for the Organisation to raise funds to support some of its activities, and those will be identified and implemented by the Defence Council.
He thanked outgoing Minister Mirisim for an excellent job undertaken in the last two years.
“I can assure you that we will continue what you have initiated here,” he told Mr Mirism, who is now Forest Minister.
During the ceremony, Commander Major General Gilbert Toropo and Acting Secretary Trevor Meauri formally welcomed Minister Soloma, and thanked Mirisim for the two years he was at the helm.
They briefed the Minister on all the branches in the force, and provided a brief on the financial position of the Organisation.