In part two of his analysis of tariff increase (first part published last week), Ling-Stuckey said in its 2019 Budget, through 37 pages of detailed information, the government has snuck in or confirmed tax tariff increases on 664 items.
“This is on top of the 254 tariff increases introduced last year! This includes new taxes on canned tuna and mackerel of 25 percent, taxes on imported chicken more than doubling to K3.50 per kg, taxes on milk products of 25 percent, taxes on cooking oils of 25 percent, increased taxes on tinned meat of 20 percent and the list goes on.
“Tax tariff increases mean increased prices even for locally produced items because it removes price competition. Most of the tax tariff increases are on family food products, although there are major increases on other household necessities such as soaps, toilet paper and laundry detergents as well as clothes and building products.
“Doesn’t the government understand that people are already struggling under PNG’s high cost living?”
However, Ling-Stuckey says there is some good news.
“At least for the besties of the Prime Minister and Treasurer. The government has also decided to cut some excise taxes. Treasurer Abel stated when introducing the 2019 budget that he was cutting excise on 11 formerly ‘luxury’ items that are now considered household ‘necessities’.
“While increasing taxes on family food and household products, the PNC government has decided to cut excise taxes from 30 percent to zero for perfumes, Sony Playbox consoles, microwaves, electric clothes dryers, TVs, camera lenses, binoculars, projectors and even electric hair stylers. Treasurer, don’t you understand that the vast majority of the people of PNG don’t even have access to a reliable electricity supply?
“Don’t you understand that when we buy our loved one some perfume that we know that it is a luxurious gift? Don’t you understand that most people in PNG have to dry their washing on a clothes line rather than in an electric clothes dryer?
“Don’t you understand that most of our children would prefer access to medicines rather than cheaper access to a Sony Playstation games console?” asked the Shadow Treasurer.
“How can the O’Neill/Abel PNC justify increasing taxes by 25 percent on basic household food items and then reduce taxes by 30 percent on what are still ‘luxury’ goods to the vast majority of people in PNG?
“This is a government that is totally out of touch with the cost of living burden on PNG families,” stated Ling-Stuckey.