PNG: No New Taxes In The 2017 Supplementary Budget

PM: continued focus of his coalition government would be to maintain the quality of government expenditure, manage debt levels and to maximize growth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 18, 2017) – There will be no new taxes in the 2017 Supplementary Budget planned by the Government, says Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

The announcement was made yesterday at the 2017 Prime Minister’s Breakfast which was held at Stanley Hotel in Port Moresby, and before a packed room of private sector and government leaders.

Mr O’Neill also assured the business community that the Government was aware of the ongoing concerns that they had about foreign exchange shortage and that it was working to ease these pressures in a timely manner.

Mr O’Neill said as it was natural for any new government settling in to deliver a Supplementary Budget.

He said this would ease financing pressures while also ensure the on-going delivery of essential services.

“We will work hard to ensure we meet the deficit targets that we have set in this year’s budget. We are not contemplating any new taxes as part of the 2017 Supplementary Budget.

“While we know there are critics out there who continue to suggest that there will be some new form of taxes, I think they should be guided by history and what we have been able to do so in the past six years. We certainly did not increase any new taxes while in government,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the continued focus of his coalition government would be to maintain the quality of government expenditure, manage debt levels and to maximise growth.

In this regard, government’s engagement with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are continuing.

“We are currently reviewing a strategy for the medium term so that we can continue to be able to maintain budgets in prudent manner. In 2018 the budget will again have a renewed focus on the implementation of a fair revenue system which is more efficient, more responsive to the needs of our country meaning that we are not necessarily going to try and increase taxes but trying to make it fair and capture those who are not paying their way in our country,” Mr O’Neill said.

On the ongoing issue of the shortage of foreign exchange, “We will work closely with the banks but the central bank (Bank of PNG) has got carriage of that. Treasury and a team are already starting to talk the World Bank and Asian Development Bank in particular.

“There will be some announcement over the next few weeks, I would assume as part of the 100-day plan that the deputy prime minister is talking about but I would like that these discussions are concluded as quickly as possible,” he said.

PNG Post-Courier
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