Economic dip to hit PNG next year, Lupari says

National

CHIEF Secretary Isaac Lupari says next year will be a tough one for Papua New Guinea due to the financial situation of the country.
He reiterated what Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker, Finance Minister James Marape and Treasury Secretary Dairi Vele said at the time of the announcement of next year’s budget a few weeks ago.
“Next year’s budget is a tough budget for us,” he told The National after addressing staff of the Internal Revenue Commission in Port Moresby yesterday.
“It’s been put together in the face of many challenges, both on the global front as well as on the domestic front.
“I think it’s a budget that consolidates the past four years, consolidates many of the policies that the Government has introduced – education, health, law and order, infrastructure, empowerment of people, and more importantly giving service to our people through DSIP and PSIP (district and provincial funds).
“Those commitments have not been swiped.
“They are fully funded and there is an element of consistency in funding in all our budgets.”
Lupari said public servants’ wages alone expended almost K4 billion – about 30 per cent of the total annual budget.
“By anyone’s standard, that’s a lot of money,” he said.
“People are investing K4 billion in wages and salaries but are we getting the productivity?
“That’s the big question that we have to ask ourselves.
“I think the Government’s task is to reduce that wage bill.
“This is why the Government has made some decisions to abolish, transfer and merge some functions in the budget.
“My task is to coordinate with the Personnel Management secretary to make sure those decisions are implemented.
“Over time, we must reduce the wage bill.”
Lupari said a list of Government agencies had already been identified for culling.

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