Thankyou Mr Speaker,
My QWN refers to the announcement of a new economic team that the country has been eagerly awaiting, to solve the economic crisis that is causing very deep and even extreme, hardships for our people. It also refers to the recently gazetted ministerial determinations, which has been creating confusion as to who really, is in charge and vested with the powers, to conduct fiscal policy for the government.
My Questions are directed to the new Treasurer.
The Minister for Treasury has always been in charge of the PNG Fiscal & Responsibility Act (FRA) 2006 and therefore fiscal policy.Always! From day 1!
According to the official Ministerial responsibilities set out in the National Gazette G498 of 13 June, Treasurer Basil is not responsible for PNG’s Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA).Unbelievable!
This is the key piece of legislation that guides PNG’s budget and debt strategy, the Act that sets limits on debt and budget deficits. It is the Act, amended in 2017 by the former Treasurer, when he was unAble to control the level of debt, so they cheated and changed the rules by increased the debt to GDP limit to 35%. It was the Act amended by the former Treasurer Abel, to include a new fiscal anchor for the budget promised to the World Bank, as part of their budget support, a new anchor, that was exceeded and smashed by K1.3 billion in the 2019 budget.
Unbelievably, no one in our new government-the Treasurer-the Finance Minister nor the Planning Minister, is listed or gazetted, as having responsibility for this absolutely key piece of legislation!
My QWN are:
- Is this a simple typo? if it is a typing error, why hasn’t Treasurer Basil corrected this crucial error?
- Why didn’t the old Treasurer Abel cooperate with the new treasurer and just bring it to his attention? Why didn’t the Planning Minister do the same? Are the 3 economic ministers working as a team or are they still jealous of each other and fighting for power?
- If Treasurer Basil or indeed, his economic team, cannot or does not, correct such errors, how can we trust them in producing a credible economic update-which we still haven’t seen! A credible economic rescue plan-which we still haven’t seen and a credible budget-which we will never see!
- If Treasurer Basil or his economic team, cannot or does not, correct such errors, how can they possibly and genuinely, support the Prime Ministers vision for the richest black Christian nation in 10 years?
- Finally, if this was a very simple typing error, which could have been corrected immediately but wasn’t, it would seem that there are sinister motives at play-either by the economic team or perhaps their former boss lurking in the background, purposely, undermining Prime Minister Marape’s vision and quite frankly, embarrassing the new government.
Thankyou Mr Speaker.
SHADOW MINISTER FOR TREASURY & FINANCE
25 June 2019