PORT MORESBY, (POST COURIER) – Papua New Guinea New Guinea is not broke – that’s official and from Finance Minister James Marape.
He assured Parliament during its first session on Wednesday afternoon that the Government was implementing cost-cutting measures to cushion the drop in world commodity prices.
“In light of the falling oil and gas prices in the international market the Government is prudent in its spending and that there is no need for panic,” Marape said.
He said public servants were getting paid on time, Parliament was functioning as a result of paying its electricity bills and 40 per cent of service improvement program funds had been remitted to districts and provinces.
These were signs of sufficient liquidity in the system, the Finance Minister said. Marape was responding during Question Time to questions by Southern Highlands Governor William Powi who wanted assurance that the Government had enough money to fulfil budget requirements when the country was facing the effects of the downfall as a result of falling oil prices.
Powi had also asked if the world economic crisis had affected PNG and what strategies the Government had to offset it.
Marape responded that PNG was affected but the Government had been controlling the expenditure.
Critics had been giving false hope to the nation when really the Government was managing the expenditures well, he added.
He reiterated that operational grants to the districts and provinces had been given, 40 per cent of provincial services and district service improvement program funds had been disbursed, electricity bills had been paid and the tuition fee free education funds had also been released. He said critics had been raising concerns but the Government had successfully implemented the 2014 Budget.