Supplementary budget will add more problems

Letters

I FOUND it hard to believe that the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said last week during the passing of the third Supplementary Budget in Parliament that the Government had deliberately planned to have a deficit budget from the start after having surplus budgets in past years.
In particular, O’Neill said: “Yes, we had surplus budgets. Internationally we were looking good, the budget figures were excellent, but the reality on the ground was absent. As a result of that, when we came in Government in 2012, we changed the strategy – and that was to get into a deliberate deficit budget.”
Is this a joke? If it is not, are we not going to be mocked by foreign governments for making such
statements?
I am not an economist but I know enough to sustain myself and my people by living on common sense, living within my means and some Biblical wisdom, as suggested by Shadow Finance Minister and Goroka MP Bire Kimisopa who said in Parliament that we should learn from the story of Joseph in the Old Testament to plan for our nation and save for bad times.
Such basic planning and saving on a micro scale has helped me and my family and friends survive in today’s world.
It was for this reason that when I read O’Neill’s statement, I was quite shocked. I have never heard any foreign prime minister or president saying things like that – planning for deficits. If they did, it is possible I was not listening.
As far as I am concerned the prime minister or president of a country must plan to cut down on debts and increase earnings or revenue. That is the right thing to do.
As a commoner, I asked myself: Which individuals aim at going out and working themselves to debt?
Which firms deliberately and strategically plan to make losses for two or more years in a row?
Which firms plan to incur a debt that is more than its annual budget hanging over its head?
As I see it, a CEO who espouses such a plan would be removed by the shareholders immediately because he is not planning for the best of the firm.
That led me to ask other questions, like: Is the Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch qualified? If he is, what kind of advisers has he?
Because as it is, it looks like the Government’s decision makers do not know the basics of good economics – practical and almost Biblical.
The Parliament was told last week that the public debt (which really should have been termed the Government’s debt) is now at K19.7 billion and that is against a K14.2 billion 2016 budget that was passed in November.
Taxpayers were hoping for the passing of new laws to take the tax burden off us, but it seems we will be paying for the bad decision making by the Government.
The whole supplementary budget session is a disaster and the statements made continue to mock PNG in the face of the world.

Pro Surplus, via email

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