Pruaitch: 2018 Budget a ‘runaway train’

Opposition Leader, Patrick Pruaitch, has likened the Government’s 2018 Budget as a runaway train accelerating towards an untimely disaster.

When debating the 2018 Budget on Tuesday in Parliament, Pruaitch said the Budget was fueled by huge budget deficits and soaring public debt, which the Government refuses to put on any safeguards or breaks to lessen the coming shocks.

“This budget is the most fiscally irresponsible budget presented in this House in all my years in Parliament.

“The fake revenue numbers in the budget allow the Government to lift expenditure beyond prudent fiscal levels which is a total disregard for fiscal discipline.

He said twice in this nation’s history, the Government have created similar train wrecks to the detriment of the living standards of most Papua New Guineans.

“The O’Neill Government is repeating the journeys that led to the ‘lost decade’ in the 1990s and the political and economic recession that ended in late 2002.”

Pruaitch said although the National Government debt has skyrocketed out of control, and will consume the largest increase ¡n expenditure in 2018, the budget presented last week by the Treasurer, Charles Abel, is not heeding the danger signals.

Being a former Treasurer in the last government, Pruaitch said he was confronted by demands for several billion Kina in additional expenditure a few days before the handing down of the budget.

“It did not matter to the PNC leadership that Government spending was unsustainable.

“The PNC philosophy was to spend all the revenue available and to borrow as much as possible to expand the expenditure envelope.”

However, acting Prime Minister and Treasurer Charles Abel brushed aside this speculations and maintains that the 2018 Budget was the best the country has ever had.

He said the Budget was mainly focus on the people and nothing else.

Meanwhile the Government passed the K14.7b 2018 Budget on the floor of parliament on Tuesday.

Freddy Mou