“The Government failed to meet yet another promise in its 100 Day Plan when audited accounts for SOEs and Statutory Authorities for the 2017 financial year were not tabled in Parliament by June. This was Point 19 of the plan – and becomes yet another broken promise. The Alternative Government would fulfil this promise as it is vital for helping to re-build confidence in the PNG economy” said the Shadow Treasurer, Ian Ling-Stuckey.

“Budget transparency is a necessary part of a government’s accountability back to its people. The Open Government Partnership meeting held in Port Moresby this week considered PNG’s poor and declining performance on budget transparency. Indeed, PNG only got 50 out of 100 in its score overall – a drop from 55 in 2015. In the area of public participation in the budget, the score was only 6 out of 100 – matched by communist China! PNG also performed poorly in areas such as budget oversight by the parliament and audit bodies. A lack of such transparency creates the opportunity for corruption and poor use of our people’s taxes” said Mr Ling-Stuckey.

“There has been a lack of transparency on how our vital SOEs and statutory authorities are operating. Why has Kumul Petroleum apparently got audited statement for 2014 and 2015, but these have not been tabled in parliament? Furthermore, where is the 2016 and 2017 audited statements promised under the 100 day plan so we can see if the huge gap between reported tax payments and actual tax payments has continued? The 2016 report for Kumul Minerals indicated it had made a net loss of K354 million in 2016 and its liabilities were now greater than its assets. How much did they lose in 2017? Where are the reports on key SOEs such as PNG Power, MVIL, PNG Ports, Telikom, Water PNG, the National Development Bank, Air Nuigini, Post PNG, and bmobile? Where are the statements from Statutory Authorities such as the Mineral Resources Authority, the National Airports Corporation, the National Fisheries Authorities (vital for understanding the extra “sweep” revenues), the National Forest Authority and many others. There are reports that many SOEs are simply taking on huge levels of debt simply to pay unrealistic levels of dividends that are then mis-spent by the government. The people of PNG have a right to know what is going on” said Mr Ling-Stuckey.

“The Alternative Government welcomed this commitment for transparency, although we also wanted previous statements to be immediately tabled in Parliament and would have preferred 2017 statements to have been made earlier. I am not aware of a single 2017 audited account being tabled in parliament. This is an appalling performance. The Alternative Government would dramatically improve budget transparency and supports recommendations for change from the 2017 Open Budget Survey such as allowing the people of PNG more participation in the budget process through CMIC type councils extending down to district levels. This is in contrast to the continuing broken promises and lack of transparency from Treasurer Abel” said the Shadow Treasurer.

Hon.Ian Ling-Stuckey,CMG.MP
Shadow Minister for Treasury & Finance

 29 June 2018

 

Further information on the Alternative Government’s approach to budget transparency was contained in press release 6 February 2018 available at http://www.opposition.gov.pg/2018/02/06/alternative-government-supports-better-budget-transparency/

Details of the Open Budget Survery are available at https://www.internationalbudget.org/wp-content/uploads/papua-new-guinea-open-budget-survey-2017-summary.pdf