He said there was an error that saw the contribution funds used for ongoing operations, and this is being resolved through the transfer of additional funds.
“If the journalist behind the article had checked with appropriate sources, the article on UNGA funds would not have been a story,” the Foreign Minister said in a statement.
“The remittance of funds to overseas missions involves payments for different diplomatic purposes.
“In the case of the UN contributions, the funds were simply used for other operational areas.
“This had been realised and by Friday, the transfer of additional funds was underway with the allocation due to arrive in PNG UN Mission account over the weekend.”
Pato says the misunderstanding was likely also compounded due to reform and change being undertaken in foreign missions, which can take time for systems to adjust.
“I am working towards a leaner and more effective Papua New Guinea diplomatic corps, with better-trained personnel and systems that reduce and eliminate wastage.
“These reforms will see enhanced operations in area overseas representation, greater engagement with international and regional organisations as well as ensuring the maintenance of our state assets in good working condition.”
The Foreign Minister said the start of the financial year, from January to February, was often fiscally tighter than later months for the Government, but to use this to talk-down the Papua New Guinea economy is misleading.
“If the foreign reporter had sought to check the facts, the sensationalism could have been avoided,” states the Foreign Minister.
“Instead they created a story that linked an electricity payment issue of a separate department, a company with contested contractual arrangements in another country, and from this created a negative story.
“The ABC is a news agency with a proud history of integrity and I hope they check the facts in the future.
“We have to have open lines of communication so misinformation can be avoided.”
(Picture: General Assembly of the United Nations)