Government to focus on growing income


The caretaker cabinet will focus on growing income to put more money into people’s pocket.
Deputy prime minister and Minister for Treasury Charles Abel, in response to questions on income tax, said they wanted to encourage small businesses to succeed by giving access to credit and by freeing up customary land for foreign investment to create jobs.
“There’s a misunderstanding about tax, in particular income tax. We talk about tax on wages, we want to give as much tax relief to our people as possible while at the same time we want to maintain some level of government revenue so that we can provide public services to our people,” Abel said.
“It was our government that increased the tax-free threshold from K6,000 to K10,000.
“It was our government that progressed the wagereview board and increased the minimum wage from K2.99 to K3.50.
“Many Papua New Guineans, of course, get paid more than that. But those two factors brought some relief,” he said.
Abel said the government had been trying to increase the minimum threshold up to K15,000, but that was subject for further consultation given some of the budget and revenue constraints.
He said another thing was that out of the income taxation review, one of the imperatives was to broaden the tax base because too much of an unfair burden sat on wage earners.
Abel said only about 300,000 or 500,000 wage earners in PNG carry the burden for the rest of the population in the informal economy who pay some tax through the GST system.
“We’re looking at options and how to broaden the tax base and share the burden more equitably while at the same time stimulating economic growth and promoting business activity.”
“We don’t have any specific proposal on the table as yet to reduce income tax, but there are certainly other provisions around promoting economic activities, business activities and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in particular.
“We want to better utilise and create value around natural resources. We should be utilising some of these resources to feed and energise ourselves to create jobs here.”

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