Patrick Pruaitch

Opposition renewed calls on Government to amend 2017 Budget

Opposition Leader Don Polye in a statement said the alternative government proposes that a harsh taxation regime for housing allowances should be abolished.

He has described the government’s new taxation strategy for housing allowance as desperate and harsh.

“This is what I said in our Budget Reply. Taxation strategy for housing allowance is so harsh at the wrong time.

“It is a desperate action by the government to raise revenue when it has mismanaged the economy and country’s cash flow.

PNG set to exploit potential developments

Treasurer, Patrick Pruaitch when delivering his speech today at the 14th Mining conference in Sydney, Australia echoed these sentiments.

He said as interest rates in advanced countries normalised, global economic conditions will also improve and become more predictable.

He added that the 2017 budgets are highly conservative and do not take into account PNG’s increased economic resilience as well as the remaining potential for major new resource projects.

Government yet to negotiate for construction of P’nyang

Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch said the construction might start in 2018 or 2019.

Speaking at the 14th Mining Conference in Sydney this morning, Pruaitch said: “With the benefit of hindsight, I assure you we would have done things differently if we had known commodity prices were primed to fall. Instead we went for expansionary budgets.”

He said PNG’s total borrowings would have been far less in 2014 and 2015 when the government accounted for almost half the total debt raised during this five-year term.

Treasurer clears confusion on Appropriation Bill

Pruaitch issued a statement after confusion arose from the Opposition about the figures in the Appropriation Bill for 2017.

“These are the figures provided in my budget address, last week and included in Volume 2 and 3 of the budget documents released in Parliament, which uses standardised Government Financial Statistics 1986 data,” Pruaitch said.

Pruaitch defends DSIP funding

He was answering a series of questions about the relevance of DSIP funds after revealing the 2017 National Budget at the press lock-up on Monday.

After savings measures were introduced with declining revenue, all government priority areas experience cuts in the K12.9 billion budget handed down, except the DSIP component.  

But Provincial Service Improvement Program (PSIP) money allocated to provincial government to support their districts got a K10 million slice.

Weakening commodity prices affects 2017 Budget

This has resulted in the Government handing down a 2017 deficit budget of K12.9b on Tuesday.

Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch when handing down the budget said it has been no secret that the country have been facing economic crisis.

“We have been forced by circumstances to tighten our budgetary situation further through Supplementary Budgets in 2015 and 2016.

“In doing so we have maintained a conservative course in terms of fiscal sustainability and will be well placed to capitalise on developments when global economic conditions improve.”

Government imposes huge tax on cigarettes and alcohol

The Government has imposed  this tax burden to encourage people to be mindful of their health and take ownership of their lifestyle.

Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch when presenting the 2017 Budget in Parliament today said the consumption of alcohol and tobacco has associated social implications which the Government continues to face through increased funding for law and order, manpower, free primary health care, social awareness and education.

More so, he said the consumption of such goods contributes to poverty and wasteful expenditure.

K12.9b budget for 2017

This comprise of K9,182.2 million in tax revenue, K1,045.3 million in grants and K1,245.7 million from other sources of revenue.

Pruaitch, when announcing the 2017 Budget in a Budget Lock-up session today said the Budget has been framed in a way that will still prioritise the key government areas which include the education and health sector.

Function grants to increase

This was stated in Parliament on Wednesday October 27 by Treasurer, Patrick Pruaitch, when presenting the National Economic and Fiscal Commission Annual Reports from 2010 to 2014.

Pruaitch said function grants increased significantly from K250 million in 2010 to K520 million in 2014.

This is due to the adoption of a new inter-governmental finance system which allows for district’s to have access to more funding based on the cost of services in their districts.

Do not press a panic button: Treasurer

Kua directed his questions to Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch during Parliament on Tuesday asking for an assurance about the 2017 Budget before the Government tabled it.

He claimed that the revenue had not been keeping phase with the expenditure component of the Budget.

“Can the Treasurer give us some assurance that he will be able to align the expenditure with the revenue so that we can be fully execute the budget before the end of the year?”