PNG Parliament Adjourned For A Month

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More consultation on major legislation needed

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 25, 2014) – PNG’s Parliament has been adjourned for a month to allow for more consultation on two major legislations and Government’s involvement in regional activities which Port Moresby is hosting.

Leader of Government Business and Finance Minister James Marape said the decision to adjourn Parliament came after a caucus meeting on Monday night.

He said a total of 56 members of the People’s National Congress party met and agreed to defer the introduction of the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates, the Kumul Structures and the Sovereign Wealth Fund Law.

He said the caucus agreed to allow the Registrar of Political Parties to do further consultation.

"So we brought that resolution into Government caucus today and the whole of government accepted that there will be wider consultation before bringing the matter back to Parliament," Marappe told reporters after the session.

"One thing we agreed upon today is that even if we pass the amendment as it is today, the full implementation of this amendment will take place after the 2017 election. So whoever comes into office in 2017 will have the benefit of operating the full meaning and intent of this."

[PIR editor's note: Radio New Zealand International reported that "The prime minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O'Neill, has backed away from pushing through controversial amendment to the country's constitution. ... In parliament in Port Moresby on Tuesday, Mr O'Neill announced the amendments would be withdrawn to allow more debate."]

National Planning and Monitoring Minister Charles Abel elaborated on the Kumul Trust Structure and the Sovereign Wealth Fund Law.

"As we approach the revenues from the first gas, the Sovereign Wealth Fund is a critical machinery that our government is going to use to ensure that the impacts of these revenues that come into the country don’t have too much of a negative short term effect on the local economy," Abel said.

"These resources are non-renewable and it is important that we don’t squander them because we’re bringing them too suddenly into the country."

Abel said some government institutions were not ready for this sort of funding and from past experiences in terms of some of the windfall revenues in trust accounts, a lot of that money was wasted.

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