K600 million for APEC unwise: Juffa

Oro Governor Garry Juffa has raise concerns on the current states of government services in the country while continuing to invest in major developments in the nation’s capital.

“Why is the National Government spending K600 million to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ summit when many government services are on life support?” Juffa asked.  

He said with the current economy condition and expected cuts to government expenditures in the 2017 National Budget, the money can be put to good use.

“K50 million allocated to this vital effort by churches came to a grinding halt in July and has already caused greater misery to those needing basic health care in remote areas that were often only serviced by church programs.

“In 2017, every province will be receiving far less than they have requested for.

“They will be getting less than the 2016 allocation.  

“Reduced services in health are a certain death sentence to many of our people in rural PNG, a staggering 85 per cent of our population.

“The Government has assured us that it is not overspending before the elections, however, that has been the trend in the past. It is claiming that it is being "cautious and prudent".

“How is spending K600m for an event that will not benefit the average Papua New Guinean in anyway other than wages for those employed in some way "cautious and prudent"?

“For PNG, APEC does nothing whatsoever to improve the quality of health or education services for the average person,” Juffa said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said APEC offers a great opportunity for the nation to promote its culture and economy to the world.

Minister for Sports, National Events and APEC Justin Tkatchenko said the cost not only covers the 2018 APEC Leaders’ Summit but also APEC Ministerial Meetings which started last year and will  run until the main Leaders’ Summit in Port Moresby.

He said Petroleum Company, Oil Search will give K120 million under its Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme to support the country host some of the most powerful world leaders who will all come to the country at one time.

The participating APEC economies are: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong-China, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam.

Charles Yapumi