Vila Times

PNG’s Opposition: Government leads the country into financial trap

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The Papua New Guinea opposition has expressed reservations in so far as the 2018 Budget is concerned, hitting out at the government for not complying with the budget process.

PNG’s Opposition leader, Patrick Pruaitch, said the budget strategy paper that was supposed to have been published has not been done on time, Post Courier reports.

“It was supposed to be handed down three months ago. We only accessed the budget strategy paper on November 7, because we questioned the sincerity of the government in so far as complying with the budget process, and we feel that it is unfair for the government to release the budget strategy paper very late.”

Pruaitch said the budget strategy paper did not say much about the new measures that will be adopted by the government in addressing the economy, particularly in relation to what has happened in the last five years of the People’s National Congress-led government.

“We have seen the same story over and over again of huge expenditure blowouts. In fact, we could see the biggest expenditure captured in the 2018 Budget to be around the K14 billion (US$4.3 billion) mark.

“In fact, since PNC took over government in 2011, the expenditure has been increasing every year, with 2018 being the biggest. Along with the expenditure, the borrowing has not ended.

“You can borrow for investment purposes, but Papua New Guineans need to understand that this is not free money. If you borrow to invest and to make some returns, it is good for the country.

“But if you are borrowing to fix up infrastructure that is not making a direct contribution to growing the economy, then it is a waste of public money.”