Non-payment to UN ‘another sign’ of economic crisis

The country’s non-payment of annual membership to the United Nations Organisation is yet another sign of the cash flow crisis.

Opposition Leader Don Polye said this following a suspension of Papua New Guinea’s voting right in the UNO, due to non-payment of its membership fee of US$180,000 (K571,000).

Polye claimed the suspension culminated with the country’s overseas missions being at the brink of closure associated with the same.

“The government pays more than K300 million as membership fees to similar other international organisations. I will not be surprised to see them facing the same issue in the months ahead,” Polye said.

The government, he said, has been resorting to using the trust funds to sort out such debt after all other normal fund reservoirs were depleted due to the economic crisis.

Polye, a former Foreign Affairs Minister, criticised Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for adding pressure on the Department of Foreign Affairs for this.

“He is the CEO of the country. He must be the one calling the shots through his minister responsible in a timely manner to avoid international shame such as this.”

He said the suspension emerged at a time when PNG is striving to become an international player, adding it brought the country’s capacity to host the APEC summit next year into question.

Polye cited that PNG Power Limited had cut electricity supply to several fellow state agencies, including the Governor-General’s office and the National Parliament.

The government, he claimed, also failed to pay its debts owed to several consultant firms from New Zealand.

“Amongst the government’s debt list is the reported food shortage at Baisu jail in Western Highlands and an unprecedented delay in public service salary,” he said.

The Opposition Leader is calling on PNG to brace itself for tougher economic conditions ahead.

(United Nations General Assembly Hall)

Press release