PM must be realistic with APEC costs: Juffa

Northern Governor Gary Juffa has called on the Prime Minister to be realistic with the APEC figures and not blindly attack the Opposition.

In an email to Loop PNG, Juffa said those figures, K600m, was from APEC Minister Justin Tkatchenko, and not from the Opposition.

“The PM has accused the Opposition, or namely me, of plucking figures from thin air regarding hosting of APEC 2018.

“He has claimed that the Opposition has suddenly created a figure of K600m, which he says is not the true cost,” responds Juffa.

“However, these figures originate from the APEC Minister’s Office and was reported by media outlets.

“I do not deny we should host major events but at what cost and what benefit?

“Where are our priorities?

“My concern is that this is all occurring while 2017 will see budget cuts across the board for all provinces.

“We have just received budget ceilings for 2017 and you can see the cuts across the board on all Government programs.”

The Governor said in 2016, Oro’s health sector was allocated K5.206m and in 2017, K4.524m.

“That’s a drop of K68,2000, which will add to the woes of church-run health services, who have now stopped receiving funds since July 2016.

“How does the average PNG citizen benefit from APEC, which is a platform for the exceptionally wealthy to profit at the cost of the exceedingly poor, which is us?

“Most of PNG, about 85 percent who live in the rural areas, are already suffering from poor services, rising cost of living, dropping kina and no savings will not see benefits.

“Sure, a few workers and small businesses who have hire cars and security companies may benefit, but the majority of the benefits go to offshore accounts, even those who are advertising and marketing the event.

“This is a rich man’s feast funded at the expense of the poor man.

“Here the rich will discuss how to access the natural resources of the poor.”

However, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the budget for APEC in 2017 will be significantly less than the false K600 million that the Opposition has taken out of thin air.

“Figures are being worked through now by our budget teams and will be further revised for the 2018 budget.

“Half of the expenditure on APEC next year will be an investment in the military and security of our nation,” O’Neill said.

Freddy Mou