PNG Government Releases $5.35 Billion Budget

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Treasure: Deficit, debt, inflation ‘well under control’

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Nov. 19, 2014) – The Papua New Guinean government has announced its $6.14 billion [US$5.35 billion] budget for 2015, with ambitious funding to electorates and a push to reduce deficit.

PNG treasurer Patrick Pruaitch said the budget, an increase by 7 per cent from 2014, identified major revenue sources within the mining, agriculture, and resource sectors.

He said there would be increases in taxes to finance the budget.

Deficit and debt levels including inflation are said to be well under control.

[PIR editor’s note: RNZI reported that ‘Debate on Papua New Guinea's 2015 national budget has been adjourned to next week because the government didn't furnish MPs with complete documents for the budget. ... Debate on the budget themed Building Our Nation has been adjourned to next Tuesday while the government seeks to have the complete booklet printed.’]

Professor Stephen Howes, the director of ANU's Development Policy Centre, said it was a significant budget for the Pacific nation.

"PNG has been in a very expansionary fiscal mode really for the last decade since the resource boom started," he said.

"But in this budget we see an increase in expenditure but only slightly more than the rate of inflation.

"So it is a very restrained budget."

However, Mr Howes said the one exception were some large increases to "district spending" for building schools and health clinics.

"It sounds good but normally in PNG if funds are allocated to the district that means they are control of the MP," he said.

"PNG has gotten into the practise of putting substantial amounts of funding at the discretion of MPs."

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