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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 13) – Papua New Guinea’s 2008 Budget is a whopping PGK8.4 billion [US$3.1 billion], PGK3 billion [US$1 billion] more than the previous budget and a record-breaking money plan since Independence.

The budget proposal [up 33 percent over the current budget]was supposed to have been handed down this afternoon but has been deferred to next week due to problems associated with the frequent power blackouts in the city, according to Secretary for Treasury Simon Tosali.

Mr. Tosali told the Post-Courier yesterday the power blackouts had caused the computer systems some technical problems which had affected the figures and needed information technology people to correct the fault. He said the system was being worked on and it was hoped to have the budget ready for next Tuesday.

On November 6, Tosali took out a paid advertisement in the Post-Courier advising of the Budget lock-up to be held today at 10:30 a.m. In the notice, he also said there were to be only two representatives from each organization and that no phone calls would be allowed.

The unofficial budget figure was released by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Wabag MP Sam Abal in Wabag on Friday at the opening of the Bank South Pacific’s new building in that centre.

Abal announced there would be a K8.4 billion budget. The Somare Government’s 2007 budget was about PGK5.4 billion.

The director of the Institute of National Affairs, Paul Barker said the real budget for 2007 was PGK5.4 billion but the temporary borrowings increased it to about PGK7.7 billion after the supplementary budgets were handed down.

Mr. Barker said the same may have been said with this figure where the actual budget may be around PGK5 billion but the temporary borrowings like last year may have increased the figure to that amount.

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