“In an extraordinary outburst on 22 March, PNG’s Treasurer Abel accused me of “blurting out speculations” and talking “nonsense”. With respect to the Treasurer, it would be more productive if we dealt with facts and the issues rather than issuing emotional comments. The facts are as I stated, and these are available directly from the Bank of PNG’s website. The fact is that the government has been mis-managing its cash and not taking up offers from the private sector to help deal with current cash shortages. This is very clear from the BPNG website – not speculation, just fact. Again I ask the Treasurer, try and explain to the people of PNG why you are not getting the needed funds to meet our emergency earthquake needs and paying valid bills from our PNG businesses” requested the Shadow Minister for Treasury & Finance Ian Ling-Stuckey.
“The Alternative Government considers that the 2018 Budget is supported by up to K2 billion in fake revenue. This has falsely justified a massive increase in government expenditure in 2018. PNG cannot afford such high levels of expenditure. We must live within our means. However, even when living within our means, we also need to be managing our cash properly. This is a normal part of business. But Treasurer Abel does not seem to understand that this is part of his job. Even though he of course does not attend the weekly cash auction, he fundamentally has responsibility for them as they are the primary means for financing the continuing pattern of the largest budget deficits in PNG’s history.” said the Shadow Treasurer.
“In terms of managing cash, this government is doing an appalling and incompetent job. We know that there are massive cash issues such as the pressing needs from the PNG earthquake as well as huge backlog of unpaid bills owed to PNG’s own businesses. Yet once again, in this week’s Treasury Bill auction, the government through the Treasurer, turned down K290 million in offered funding from PNG’s banks, finance companies and superannuation funds. Accepting such funds does not add to the budget deficit, it is simply providing the means for actually financing the deficit in the budget papers.
“The government asked for K340.93 million in the Treasury Bill auction that took place on Wednesday 22 March. The private sector offered K550.43 million. The government only accepted K260.43 million, K290 million less than offered by the private sector. Indeed, the government actually accepted less than the K285.93 million in Treasury Bills that were having to be re-financed on 21 March. The government actually went backwards in funding its deficit by K25.5 milion. As I asked last time, could you please explain why the government is acting in such a way? Of course there is a need to keep an eye on interest costs and bunching pressures, but failing to get the cash to pay bills when usually this is not available is an appalling judgement that hurts the people of PNG” said Mr Ling-Stuckey.
Shadow Minister for Treasury & Finance
23 March 2018