Opposition maintains stance on ‘fake’ budget

The Opposition has again criticised the acting Prime Minister and Treasurer, Charles Abel, for not being honest about the 2018 Budget.

In a joint statement, the Opposition reaffirmed that the 2018 Budget was ‘fake’ and was not passed unanimously; no votes were taken.

The Opposition maintains that revenue figures quoted by Treasurer Abel for 2017 were based purely on estimates in the Supplementary Budget and Budget Strategy paper, which were up to K408 million lower in the final tally. 

Shadow Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey said the final figures, to be released by the end of March, will most likely show an even larger drop in revenue. 

He added that the Treasurer has misled Parliament by stating that the 2017 budget deficit would be K1,876 million or 2.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 

He said if the final revenue figures disclosed in the 2018 budget papers were used, the correct 2017 deficit figure would have been 3.1 percent of GDP.

The Opposition urges Treasurer Abel to stop deluding himself and the nation with his "hard work" in producing statistics that bear all the hallmarks of creative accounting.

On the other hand, members of the business community praised the Budget, describing it as stable and consistent.

ANZ PNG CEO, Mark Baker, said consistency was shown by the Government to deal with the current economic situation.

He said while there are challenges, the Budget gives a realistic view on what should be done to address many of the current problems.


Freddy Mou