O’Neill Assures 2014 PNG Budget Won’t Be Blocked

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O’Neill Assures 2014 PNG Budget Won’t Be Blocked Coalition remains intact, budget will be fiscally responsible: PM

By Isaac Nicholas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 12, 2013) – Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his coalition partner leaders have assured the nation that the 2014 Budget will be handed down next week without being blocked.

The PM fronted up at a press conference yesterday with his key coalition partners Don Polye (Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party), Patrick Pruaitch (National Alliance Party) and William Duma (United Resource Party) in a show of solidarity in Parliament.

He rubbished reports of attempts to block the budget and remove him as Prime Minister, claiming the People’s National Congress Party and major coalition partners are intact and cannot be moved by those with wishful thinking.

Parliament resumes this afternoon at 2pm with the Leader of Government Business and Finance Minister, James Marape, confirming major bills to go before the House this week. These include legislation on the Sovereign Wealth Fund, Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and Public Service Amendment bills to remove bottlenecks at the district and provincial level.

Mr O’Neill, when commenting on the attempts to block the budget, said: "Let’s talk sense and let’s talk on credible issues, on what we can do for our country and not how we can get into power."

"Now there is talk about blocking the budget. Listen this is not going to happen and so let us not waste our time and have wishful thinking, let us talk about constructive things that can make a difference for our country.

Investors are travelling to the country every day and it only took one negative comment from the Opposition leader to tarnish the positivity, he said.

The budget is on target and in line with the terms set in the 2013 Budget, the prime minister said.

"It will be a fiscally responsible budget. It will be a budget that will be framed over the next four to five years that will be consistent with the priorities of government," he said

Mr O’Neill also said the budget deficit will be reduced, from the current levels of almost 7 to less than 6 per cent of the GDP.

"The debt levels will be maintain at 35 per cent or below of GDP as per the law," he said.

"The inflation rates are stable, we want to continue that stability and the economy is projected to grow at around 6 per cent and the Treasurer and his team are doing an excellent job under very extreme circumstances, where global economic conditions are on a decline, commodity prices are on a decline, so these are the environments that we are trying to manage our economy in the country."

The coalition partners had a meeting with the Prime Minister following reports that the Opposition would block the 2014 Budget and force a change of government.

"The government remains intact and focused on delivering its key priorities in education, health, infrastructure development, law and order, fighting corruption, and growing small businesses.

"Our policies lay real foundation for change that this country deserve, and we intend to ensure they are fully implemented during the term of this government and life of this Parliament," he said.

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