MP slams call to curb debate on the economy

National

THE leader of the PNG National Party, Sinasina-Yongomugl MP Kerenga Kua (pictured), has dismissed comments by Bank of PNG governor Loi Bakani that candidates should not commenton the economy.
“Freedom of expression is a constitutional right and the performance of the economy remains of paramount concern to the people of PNG and for my party. This, together with the performance of the Government and indeed of the Bank of PNG, occupies a central position in the election debates,” Kua said.
“The well-travelled central bank governor surely understands that the economy takes centre position in elections around the world and PNG is no different. A growing economy remains a necessary condition to improve the wellbeing of Papua New Guineans through income and job creation. The Government through its policy choices can make a substantive difference to whether this growth is inclusive and sustainable.
“The nature of investments and the policy and regulatory environment can determine as well the pattern of growth and how the gains from economic growth are distributed amongst industries and our people.”
He said it was “completely improper for Bakani to inject himself into the political debate”.
“I note that Mr Bakani was re-appointed last year and that only a week or two ago the caretaker government decided to extend his new term from five years to seven years. The timing of Bakani’s public statement is clearly inauspicious and misguided,” Kua said.
“It raises the obvious question of the independence of the central bank and of a possible conflict in the discharge of the duties of Loi Bakani as the governor.
“I note that Bakani has been the principal economic cheerleader for the O’Neill government, usurping the role of the sacked Treasurer, Patrick Pruaitch, and even that of the Department of Treasury secretary in recent years,” Kua said.

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