PNG ANNOUNCES RECORD $240 MILLION SURPLUS

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By James Kila

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Sept. 6) - Treasurer Sir Rabbie Namaliu announced yesterday that the supplementary budget, tabled last month, was a result of a "record surplus" of PGK682 million [US$240 million].

These surplus funds will be used to fund important priority areas spelt out in the National Government Medium Term Development Strategy (MTDS).

Sir Rabbie made this known when he led a Government delegation to Kainantu and Aiyura prior to the National Executive Council meeting, scheduled to start today, in Goroka, Eastern Highlands province.

He was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Don Polye.

Sir Rabbie told those that gathered at the two locations that PNG once only had PGK200 million [US$70 million] in foreign reserves. However, when the Somare Government took office, the figure had jumped to a record PGK3.9 billion [US$1.3 billion] in foreign reserve.

He said the country had also experienced a positive economic growth of 3.7 percent.

Sir Rabbie said the Government, since 2002, had maintained its outlook on better and sound physical management policies as well as maintaining stability at micro-level.

Accompanying these monetary plans was the development of the MTDS to address priority areas, he said.

The surplus would go towards priority areas such as improving health services, education in primary level, road and infrastructure, addressing of law and order problems and tackling HIV/AIDS.

"An additional PGK682 million [US$240 million] from the supplementary budget was diverted to these important development areas," Sir Rabbie said.

He also acknowledged his predecessor and Lae Member of Parliament Bart Philemon when stating that the surplus was a result of better physical management plans and good prices in mineral resources exports.

He also told the people in Kainantu that because of the surplus, the National Government had allocated an additional PGK70 million [US$25 million] for the resealing of the Highlands Highway.

This was apart from the PGK50 million [US$9 million] the Government allocated last year.

"We are allocating PGK140 million [US$50 million] for the upgrading and resealing of the Highlands Highway as far as Koroba-Lake Kopiago."

Other allocations include an additional PGK500,000 [US$176,000] to each district throughout PNG to support the District Road Improvement Program. This was apart from the PGK400,000 [US$141,000] allocated last year.

Funds have also been allocated to improve police barracks and major hospitals around the country.

September 7, 2006

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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