Dedication Ceremony 17 February 2023 – APEC house

Ms Elizabeth Genia
Acting Governor

Dedication Ceremony 17 February 2023 – APEC house

Acknowledgement of Board Members, staff etc… 

Thank the leading Minster for words of encouragement

Good morning.

Welcome to the Bank of Papua New Guinea’s annual Dedication Service.

We stand here as one family to dedicate the Bank to God our creator to seek his blessings, his guidance, protection and strength as we start another new year.  

We do this every year by acknowledging that without God, we cannot do things in our own strength. God has called each of our staff to serve our people, our country in the area of central banking. It is only right to acknowledge his Lordship over us.

January tends to be a time of settling back into the routine, remembering how to juggle work requirements with family, friends and community responsibilities. 

The Dedication Service, traditionally held in February, has come to represent the real ‘let’s-get-down-to-business’ start of our working year. It is the ideal time to remind ourselves that our work is essential to PNG and why it’s so important that each and every one of us does our absolute best.

I think it’s fair to say that the word “dedication” has a different meaning or even several meanings for every individual in this room. 

For example, we might think about it as our commitment and strong sense of responsibility and protectiveness to our families and our communities. 

For many, dedication is another word for our strong faith and a way of thinking about how our spiritual beliefs help us to make sense of our world and our place in it and how we can contribute to the greater good.

And dedication in the workplace. I like to think of being dedicated at work is about having the right focus. It’s not a matter of working long hours for the sake of it. It’s more of the idea that you owe it to yourself to be the best you can be. And an aspect of being your best is stepping up every day to do the best job you can do, so your contribution can help your fellow staff do the best they can do. I think that’s a more healthy definition of dedication in the workplace.

Many of our staff are at their career milestone while some are just starting their journeys. On behalf of the Board and Management, we honor you for the part you play in maintaining our performance standards and commitment to excellence.  We also remember our colleagues who have gone before us

We know that achievement and success are not by accident. Achieving our vision and mission can only come through breakthroughs when we spend what seem like hours of hard work and trying new ideas. The successful growth of the Bank is the direct result of you, our valued employees. Your dedication and commitment is the vital link in the chain of our functional responsibilities and operations.

Let’s imagine BPNG as a motor vehicle. During January we found the keys, had a quick check to make sure there was air in the tyres and fuel in the tank, and looked at the map to start working out the best way to get to our destination. 

But time is moving on. Every year it seems to move faster and faster. Here we are, half-way through February already. It’s time to put the key in the ignition, start the engine, select the right gear and get the journey under way. 

Now, imagine BPNG as a particular type of motor vehicle, a bus that everyone – individuals, businesses, and even the government, needs to help them get to their individual destinations. 

A bus that needs the right people with the right attitude and qualifications to drive it. 

The right people to work out the best ways to get to the various destinations. Who also keep an eye on the future to be ready for changes to the roadways.

The right people to work out and operate a system for paying for the service. 

The right people to make sure the bus service operator has the ability to provide the service in challenging financial years as well as in booming economic times.

The right people to research and develop new ways to deal with a changing marketplace, and emerging technologies to enhance the bus service operator’s capabilities in the short term and keep it relevant into the future.

The right people to keep a close eye on the companies and businesses that provide middle man services between the bus and bus users, to make sure those agencies are reputable and responsible.

The right people to make sure the bus is kept in good condition and properly maintained, following the particular rules about bus maintenance and the responsibilities of the bus service provider. 

The right people to make sure that the jobs are designed properly and are filled by people with appropriate skills and talents.

The right people to make sure the bus system communicates effectively with its staff, its service providers, its customers, its peers, its advisors and so on.

Take a moment to think about how your own role within your functional area fits into this idea of BPNG as a bus service for all. Reflect on how your particular job is essential for the bus to work properly. And how important it is for everyone to work cooperatively to make sure the whole system provides the enormous service we are charged with by the nation. 

The BPNG bus service does not always run smoothly. 

If we look in the rear mirror, we see clearly that the road has been very bumpy in the last few years.

It has been a rough road for the Bank since the Central Banking Act was amended in 2021. However, this will not stop us to persevere in upholding who we are and why we exists. 

We have had to deal with the pandemic and all the disruption and suffering that caused. 

We have had to deal with the challenges of being part of the global economy, affected by economic downturns in other countries, contributing to a slowing down of PNG growth. 

We have had to deal with serious public criticism of our service. We will continue with our projects and programs to accomplish our cycle of strategic plans. It is important for us to stay as a team and I encourage you all to make a difference by raising your standard of commitment to a higher level this year.

We have had to deal with major changes to our leadership structure, which has caused significant upheaval. We hope to make appointments to fill senior management positions this year and also fill vacancies in some of our functional areas. 

And deal with them we do. Dedication is also about being presented with a major challenge and working through the issues to get to the other side, the positive side.

Look again into the rear view mirror. We have been able to deal with some of these major service-disruptive issues because we had plans of what to do in case of crisis. And for day-to-day operations, we have policies that form a fundamental part of who we are and what we do. 

The Bank’s Business Continuity Plans have certainly been tested in the last few years. The tests were very tough for everyone, particularly through the pandemic. But with the BCP working and the enormous level of dedication from all staff, the Bank’s service was able to stick to the road and keep customers travelling towards their destinations. 

Yes, we have had, and no doubt will continue to have, significant challenges. 

Back to the bus analogy, the roads we are travelling are not all in safe condition. Consider this in the context of workplace harassment and family violence. It was clear from staff feedback that these issues are of serious concern. 

As an organisation we recognised these problems needed serious solutions, sooner rather than later. As the project’s sponsor I am very proud of how well you have all responded to the introduction of our gender equity and social inclusion and family sexual violence policies. In a relatively short time GESI and FSV procedures have been embedded into the culture of BPNG. Better still, they have been working effectively. Several people have been in touch with the support services in place and have received meaningful support, including legal assistance.

From time to time major incidents disrupt the flow of traffic, such as the organisational upheaval resulting from the implementation of the amendments to the Central Banking Act, at a time when there was not a clear way forward to restore effective leadership. 

We are still working through the solution to this significant challenge. My appointment to the position of Acting Governor is part of the ‘working through’ process. I am personally dedicated to doing my absolute best to make sure all our business-as-usual responsibilities are met and project development also progresses. This is not the time to step on the brakes. This is the time for keeping the foot firmly and consistently on the accelerator to keep our service going smoothly. 

We have access to very valuable resources who can help recommend the best routes. These include our Board members, each of whom has a wealth of knowledge and experience, our external fund managers, advisors from organisations like the IMF and IFC, peer assistance such as from other central banks from around our region, as well as our own highly skilled in house research team.

BPNG has always had a strong focus on building the capacity of its staff. This focus must continue, to make sure we are equipped to manage ongoing changes across all areas of the Bank. 

The service we provide does not have a final destination. For example, not everyone who needs the services we provide or facilitate has access to those services yet. Our service area has certainly expanded in the last few years, as a result of the focus and dedication the Bank has devoted to financial inclusion. But there are still many individuals and businesses in remote communities that have not yet been able to board the BPNG bus.

Thanks to the work we have done over the last few years, people in these remote places will be able to access financial services, as the use of our world-first ID product spreads far and wide.

As we celebrate our Dedication Service in 2023, the message is very positive. Each of us is important. To our families. To our friends. To our communities. To our workplace. 

And each of us will experience good times, and even great times. We will all have to face bad times, and even times of disaster. But we’re not alone. 

And we have all types of resources to call on. Internal strengths – intellectual, emotional, spiritual. External support – family, friends, church, community, culture. And in the workplace we have structural safeguards such as workplace rules and policies, and support services, as well as informal assistance we can call on from fellow staff and workmates.

Our dedication to each of these resources provides the balance we need in our lives. Dedication to getting things back on track when conditions are rough, whether at home or in the workplace. 

Dedication to being the best we can in all aspects of our life and bringing our best self to every task we have.

I’m going to close my remarks by reminding everyone that 2023 is the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Bank of Papua New Guinea.

In a year that commemorates an event that was an essential element that enabled the birth of PNG as an independent nation, I look forward to working with you all. Together we will move the Bank forward to a place where we can be proud of the results our hard work and dedication have produced.

Make this dedication service be a moment to reflect on the many challenges that lay ahead.  Let us also be of good cheers in what we plan to deliver on our mandate for the benefit of our people and country.

May God bless us and our families

Thank you.