Govt to pay ‘all’ overdue rent

National

The government will pay in full  all overdue rent of buildings and offices leased by its departments and agencies, Finance Secretary Dr Ken Ngangan says.
Commenting on reports of government departments being locked out of their offices, Ngangan said the delay in payments was due to a budgetary oversight, rather than cash flow problems.
He said the annual budget of K230 million for rentals was reduced to K75 million for this year because of the availability of the newly refurbished Central Government Offices at Waigani.
However, not every department and agency could be accommodated there, so there is continuation of commercial rentals.
The K75 million budgeted for 2017 was exhausted in the first quarter of the year and new injection of funds would be made in the supplementary budget to be handed down later this month to cater for the outstanding rentals, Ngangan said.
“It is not a cash-flow problem, it’s a budgeting issue which will now be corrected in the supplementary budget.
“So, what we’ve been doing is over the weeks, every week, when the budget management committee meets we start looking for funds within the budget system to make money available to pay for office rentals.”
Ngangan appealed to landlords to allow government departments and agencies to continue their public service duties without interruption.
He the government would continue to honour its responsibilities, including rental payments.

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