POLITICIANS and their advisers should look at arguments and debate ideas from researchers and academics rather than suppress them, an academic from the National Research Institute (NRI) said.
Director Dr Thomas Webster expressed his concerns yesterday following criticism by politicians in regard to contributions and discussions by researchers and academics during the 2014 National Budget Forum in Port Moresby last Thursday. He said politicians and bureaucrats should put to the public their positions on the ideas and arguments. That way, the public could be better informed, likewise putting pressure on leaders to be accountable and to make better decisions for the country.
“The comments made by politicians in regard to discussions attributed to Paul Barker, the executive director of the Institute of National Affairs, were uncalled for,” Webster said.
“The budget forum was looking at the implications of the Government budget for the sound development of the country.
“The forum is a venue where the public was invited to hear the views of experts who carried out sound analysis of the 2014 budget.”
He said the aim of the forum was to inform the public and decision makers, such as politicians, to understand some of the dynamics and the possible outcomes of the budgets that were passed by Parliament.
Webster said three researchers who made a valuable contribution to the discussions on the recent UBS loan made by the Government to purchase Oil Search shares were criticised.
Webster said in a democratic country, various institutions had a role to play and their independence must be respected.
“We have a critical role to play in the community and the development of our country.”
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