MURKY PNG PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET QUESTIONED

admin's picture

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 27) - Funding for the Papua New Guinea National Parliament should be reduced, an advisory body called the Rightsizing the Public Sector Working Group has recommended.

The report is critical of the lack of transparency in the way Parliament spends it money.

The report states, "The National Parliament is using a disproportionately large share of public resources, given the limited resources available."

It also states that spending in the government sector is not transparent.

Agencies in this sector currently allocate substantial proportions of their annual budgets to expenditures under the line item "Other Operational Expenses" or receive the entire annual appropriations in the form of single line grants with no detail surrounding the actual or intended use of these funds or other relevance to agencies’ core functions, the group’s report says.

"For example, under the 2005 Budget, the National Parliament received a single line appropriation of PGK56 million [US$19.4 million] – with limited information on the purpose of these funds," the report said. "Limited budgetary oversight and poor accountability means that it is often difficult to support the notion that these funds – like those allocated to Parliament – are going to core priorities and/or being used efficiently. "It is therefore recommended that these agencies be subjected to the normal budgetary scrutiny and justification process required of the rest of government."

The report states that a 10 percent reduction in the National Parliament budget would save the Government around PGK4 million [US$1.3 million] annually.

"In accordance with the Government’s desire to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Government spending, expenditure undertaken by the National Parliament should be made more transparent," the report said. "The National Parliament should provide detailed information regarding expenditures as do other agencies during the budget process, and it should be subject to the same financial monitoring as other institutions. In addition, practices such as the payment of allowances to members of Parliament for membership of committees at the start of the year should cease. Payment of such allowances should be made only after the committees have met and the member has attended."

[PIR editor’s note: Last October, the European Commission’s Director for the Pacific, Anders Henriksson, said the Commission had concerns about governance, the poor use of resources and the level of transparency and efficiency in the public service sector of Papua New Guinea (read related story).]

February 28, 2006

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment