“Our PNG people live in a world subject to natural disasters. As the new Treasurer Sam Basil presented PNG’s Economic Update, the Ulawun volcano erupted in the Province next to mine. PNG lives on what is called the Pacific’s “rim of fire”. Eruptions and earthquakes are part of our daily lives – such as the devastating one in PNG’s Highlands in February 2018. Some see spiritual links to these natural events and the policies and actions of people. My fear after listening to the Treasurer Basil’s poor presentation in Parliament on Wednesday 26 June is that we are adding the risks of natural disasters with the risks of man-made disasters. Unfortunately for the people of all of PNG, the Treasurer’s statement is a path to disaster. It is a path that defies his own Prime Minister. It is a path that defies logic. It is a path that fails against all the key performance indicators (KPIs) I set out earlier. 26 June 2019 will go down as a day of disasters for PNG” stated the Shadow Treasurer, Mr Ian Ling-Stuckey.
“The Economic Statement is a poor update of the earlier PNC strategies. There is no attempt to respect the wider vision of Prime Minister Marape. Who is actually pulling the strings? Prime Minister Marape has publicly called for no more borrowings and no more debt. Treasurer Basil talks of three more borrowing options in line with the O’Neill/Abel disaster years. Immediately after tabling his update, Prime Minister Marape in his response to the Update, stressed again as he has been publicly, that the new government must live within its means and directly contradicting the Treasurer. Who is actually running the new Government?” asked the Shadow Treasurer.
“So the Economic Statement confirms the fake revenue that I have talked about in earlier Budget replies. The Economic Statement confirms that the wages budget is still out of control. The Economic Statement confirms that PNG was in an economic recession in 2018. The Economic Statement totally failed to include the full debts of other State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in the updated debt numbers. So the people of PNG still do not know the true economic and fiscal situation facing PNG. They still do not know how deep the debt holes are, dug by the O’Neill/Abel regime. No new figures on the real comprehensive debt situation are revealed including SOEs.Why not? Basil failed to deliver a comprehensive statement. And Abel failed to deliver on his 100 day plan to give all updated DOE figures by 2018. How can we trust this new Treasurer? He seems just like the old Treasurer? Are they both just following the O’Neill lead? How is the true puppet-master of economic policy in PNG?
“In consultations with the government, a formal opposition reply to the governments economic update, is anticipated for next weeks parliament sitting. It is so much less than what was reasonably expected and what I thought would be delivered. Who is really in control of the economic team? What a potential on-going economic disaster for PNG. The people of PNG rightly expected better. Our new Prime Minister of PNG rightly expected better” stated Ian Ling-Stuckey.
Shadow Minister for Treasury & Finance
26 June 2019