Sir Mekere welcomes PNC’s admission, wants debts revealed

National

MORESBY North-West MP Sir Mekere Morauta says some members of the People’s National Congress government have at last admitted that the economy is in difficulty.
Sir Mekere said that while referring to a media statement by deputy prime minister and caretaker Treasurer Charles Abel who said that the focus of the government in its first 100 days would be on “economic recovery”.
He said it was interesting to admit this because the prime minister had consistently refused to recognise that the economy was in recession, and had mismanaged public finances in such a way that allowed the recession to intensify.
“My advice to Abel is that before he launches into any recovery measures, he needs to repair the budget and reform his prime minister and curb his extravagant and uncontrolled spending and borrowing,” Sir Mekere said.
“The non-mining sector, on which the majority of businesses and Papua New Guineans depend, has been in recession for some years.
“Companies are not making profit and therefore collection of company taxes is down.
“Companies have retrenched staff and therefore personal income tax payments are down.
“Company turnover and disposable income in the hands of employees are reduced and therefore GST payments are down.”
Sir Mekere said in the last two years, internal revenue (excluding grants and loans) had fallen by over K2 billion.
“Despite this, the prime minister continued his wild spending spree, financed through printing money and other commercial debt.
“The present and future generations of Papua New Guineans are burdened by the cost of Peter O’Neill’s extravaganzas,” Sir Mekere said.
Sir Mekere said that it was important for Abel to find out and reveal to the public the full extent of PNG’s public debt and liabilities.
“As I have been saying for some time, the debt disclosed by Treasury does not include off-balance-sheet items such as the borrowings of state-owned enterprises, including the loan for the Oil Search shares, the massive and growing Chinese Exim Bank loans, the large borrowings by state agencies from the Bank of South Pacific, unpaid superannuation contributions or unpaid bills to the private sector for the provision of goods and services to the Government,” Sir Mekere said.
“The deputy prime minister should instruct Treasury, Finance and Kumul Consolidated Holdings to tell him exactly what the Government’s total liabilities are, so that he sees the full and true picture of our debt problem.”

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