Namah calls for audit into COVID-19 funds

Leader of the Opposition Belden Namah is calling on the Government to clarify the usage of the K23 million COVID-19 funds released to fight the pandemic in the country.

Namah made this call in a press conference in Port Moresby.

Leader of the Opposition Belden Namah is calling on the Government to tell the people of the country how the 23 million Kina COVID-19 funds is being spent as there is no supplementary budget to cater for the expenses.

Mr Namah made this call after Treasurer Ian Ling Stuckey announced an additional K600 million to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

“Whilst all the rest of the world is scaling down on its response on COVID-19, PNG is scaling up with its response.

The Treasurer, Ian Ling-Stuckey in his recent announcement on the COVID-19 response, said K600 million will start to flow to the health, security and economic sectors.

This follows the NEC’s approval of two major elements of the Government’s K5.6 billion coronavirus Economic Stimulus Package.

The Treasurer stated that this is K100 million more than initially planned to ensure the Government can respond flexibly in this war against this hidden virus.

About K280 million will go towards health and security measures, and K320 million will be spent on supporting the economic sector - agriculture, households and business.

Minister Ling-Stuckey added that the K600 million is a significant and timely boost to front-line support for our fight against coronavirus.

However, Namah said the Government hasn’t approved a supplementary budget yet, to give them powers to go out to financial markets to raise or borrow funds.

“Why are we announcing additional funds when we don’t passed a supplementary budget?”

In an earlier interview with this newsroom, the Treasurer said there is no need for a supplementary budget.

He said they don’t need to pass the Supplementary budget to give effect to the K5.6b Stimulus package.

The Treasurer said passing the supplementary budget means recalling of Parliament which involves a huge expense.

He clarified that he stimulus package is based on smart economic stimulus options with minimum impacts on the budget and maximum gains for our people and economy.

Freddy Mou