“The front pages of our papers were filled with the announcement of our next Medium-Term Development Plan for the period 2018 to 2022 (MTDP III). This is a very important five year planning document that should reflect the government’s key priorities over the next five years. Given its importance, why is it that the plan is not available to the public? The National Planning Department’s website has only the old five-year plan? Its states the new one, MTDP III, is “comming soon”. Given this spelling mistake, one wonders what other mistakes may be in the plan. Surely our people deserve access to such important information as soon as the government does a big announcement” stated the Shadow Minister for Treasury & Finance Ian Ling-Stuckey.
“Indeed, the Plan is a year late. The plan should cover the period 2018-22. The Alternative Government can understand a new plan, including comprehensive consultation, wasn’t ready in time to feed into the 2018 Budget. However, the current Treasurer introduced legislation in 2016 that required an Annual Budget Framework Paper, based on the MTDP, to be produced at least four months before the budget. This Annual Budget Framework Paper was supposed to be prepared before the 2019 Budget Strategy paper. So the plan is already too late to meet the required legislative framework for the 2019 budget!
“The Treasurer is familiar with changing the names of plans. In his latest Budget Strategy, we saw the “100 Day Plan” re-titled the “25 Point Plan”. Having missed the formal 2018 and 2019 annual budget planning processes, this plan should be re-titled the “2020-22 Partial Medium-Term Development Plan” suggested the Shadow Treasurer.
“This is another example of the government’s failure to provide good transparency to key documents. The Alternative Government would like to be able to examine the documents and provide the public with its views on such an important plan. These may support the government’s approach. However, from the scant information available, there will likely be concerns, especially in terms of available resources given the government’s general economic mismanagement.
“This failure in sharing information with the PNG people is becoming a feature of this government. The government has failed to release the latest audited accounts for the state-owned enterprises, breaking point 19 of its “25 Point Plan”. It has failed to release the detailed tables behind the extraordinary reduction in 2015 GDP measurement of nearly one-tenth by the National Statistics Office. Back in March, the website promised the tables would be “coming shortly” (at least it was spelt properly). And it is very likely that more detailed information on the PNG economy was released to those considering financing the Sovereign Bond. Why can international investors get better access to what is going on in the PNG economy than the PNG people?” asked Mr Ling-Stuckey.
“The national government should organise to immediately release the plan – preferably retitled to the “2020-22 Partial Medium Term Development Plan”. A healthy democracy needs good and timely information flows. Once again, there is a need for the government to lift its game for the sake of the people of PNG” said Mr Ling-Stuckey.
Shadow Minister for Treasury & Finance
3 October 2018
The following is the front page of the Department of National Planning and Monitory website accessed on the afternoon of 2 October. Note the new planning document is “comming soon”. The second document on the left hand side is the old plan. Available at http://www.planning.gov.pg/
This failure to provide the plan as soon as it is available (as is done for the Annual Budget and the BPNG monetary policy statements) contrasts with the commitment from the Secretary in the following statement to wide communication.
The following is an extract from the 2016 PNG Planning and Monitoring Responsibility Act that was passed by Parliament when the current Treasurer was Minister for Planning and Monitoring. He should have known the timetable for the new MTDP should have been completed at least four months prior to the November budget (so back in early July). Full act available at http://www.planning.gov.pg/images/dnpm/pdf/PlanningAct2016.pdf