Treasurer says good news for budget repair

On the floor of parliament yesterday, Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey highlighted the Financial Budgetary Report stating ‘good news’ of budget repair.

“The hard work of the Marape-Rosso Government continues to see our budget books look healthier and we have our 13 year budget repair plan which gives our country a path to a fixed budget and no more debt.

“Once again the government has delivered a healthier budget bottom line, we have a lower budget deficit then expected when this house passed the 2022 budget and the 2022 supplementary budget. This means; less build of debt, increase confidence in our economy and more funds available for the private sector,” stated Stuckey.  

The budget deficit has been reduced from 8.6% GDP to 5.4% in just 2 years. The Treasurer elaborated that in 2022 they invested K9,871.9 million capital budget which is an increase of 2.5billion on the 2021 outcome. Under the Marape-Rosso government the public investment program (PIP) has grown from K2,041 million in 2018 to K6,952.3million in 2022 and delivering on a healthier budget.

He included the Household assistance during Covid-19 worth K587 million last year, said to be the largest package assistance to PNG families in the country’s history. In the 2023 budget, they built on a package of assistance with a further K590million.

 “There are two key numbers to explain budget repair first is total revenues and grants increased by K4677 million compared to 2021 outcome, this strong growth reflects the revenue strategies and international engagements. Second is PNG Government expenditures increased by K4259.1 million compared to 2021 outcome.”

“Most of this is going to an increased capital budget for projects a fast 33.7% increase compared with a lower 21.9 expenditure increase, this is the path of budget repair. The budget deficit meant the level of debt increased to 53,067.9 million lower than the 2022 supplementary budget. This is well below the fiscal responsibility act limit of 60%, this lower debt level will feed into slightly lower debt estimates for 2023 and three years ahead,” stated Treasurer Ling-Stuckey. 

Treasurer Stuckey said this should not mean we become complacent. There will be a need to move more funds towards operational budget to support nurses, teachers for new infrastructure; a stronger expenditure control especially of wages; better revenue collection performance, and increase in non-tax revenue performance.

Deputy Opposition Leader, Douglas Tomuriesa, who was impressed with the Budget repair statement adjourned the debate of the budget repair to a later sitting date.

“We are happy to hear a lot of positive words from the Treasurer. However the paper itself that is presented has got a lot of detail that needs to be seen by us and later on we can have a detailed response. I ask if we can adjourn debate for this paper to a subsequent sitting,” said Tomuriesa.