PM defends supplementary budget

The Prime Minister defended the Supplementary Budget again in Parliament on October 15th.

More in particular the K392.6 billion in additional gains that Leader of the Opposition Belden Namah alluded to.

In his series of questions in parliament, the Leader of the Opposition and member for Vanimo-Green wanted the Prime Minister to explain the K392.6 million mentioned in Part 3 of the Supplementary Budget Appropriation.

“Issues surround the K392.6 million. This is part of the deficit which is K3.5 billion,” stated Namah.

“On the budget papers, you say you will fund the K392 million as debt financing, and on the other hand you are now directing the treasury to access that from consolidated revenue…Can the Prime Minister explain where the K392.6 million additional gains in revenue came from? Is it a grant, and if so, what is the source. We thought it’s part of the K3.5 billion for debt financing?”

The Prime Minister asked that Namah present to him the several questions he raised and he would give a detailed answer in parliament within this week.

However, he did respond to Namah, saying the K392.6 million was not new money.

“Treasurer indicated there’ll be debt financing. K392.6 million is from within shrunk revenue base and PIP (public investment program) envelope re-allocation – allocated to disaster, Bougainville…We allocate within constraint of what we can raise or afford,” said the PM.

Rejection of the 2019 Mid-Year Economic & Fiscal Outlook by the Treasurer was also under scrutiny by the Opposition.

“Can Prime Minister accept that Treasurer’s actions to reject the Mid-Year Economic Financial Outlook report produced and tabled by the treasurer in 2019, which is revised budget deficit of K2.3 billion and budget blowout of K506 million?”

In response, Marape said: “No one was ignorant of MYEFO. MYEFO established status quo of this year midway through.

“MYEFO took place in June. Supplementary budget in October. The numbers will be concluded in December, focusing on how 2019 will end. Our Supplementary Budget embraces and treats certain issues of debt. For example the valuation of total debts that are now matured for repayment, (like) Forex issues.”

(Parliament in session file)

Salome Vincent