He made this statement on Thursday after Treasury Minister Patrick Pruaitch tabled the 2016 Supplementary Budget.
“Coming to Parliament in 2002 under Somare Government, we inherited an economy which was projected to be in surplus by the previous government, (but) we inherited an K800 million deficit and the strategy at that time is to return to surplus as possible,” O’Neill said.
“In 2002, we changed the strategy to get into a deliberate deficit budget. When we introduced the budget, it had a deficit under 5.9 percent, 2013 we came under 5 percent, 2014 and 2015 we came under 4 percent, this year’s budget and this supplementary adjustment tried to make sure we continue in this decline but in a structured manner.
“So the outcome for 2016 we are projecting is under 3 percent deficit for our economy, 2017 is 2 percent and eventually we will go down to a balanced budget. We are doing this in a structured manner so we will not cut services,” PM said.
O’Neill added that decreases on government expenditures to meet the shortfall in projected revenues, to implement the 2016 National Budget, will not affect its key policy areas of free education, free health care, support to churches and all our partners, infrastructure development and DSIP and PSIP funding.
Caption: File picture of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.