Basil: Expenditure leakages, unnecessary spending will stop

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THE Government will ensure leakages in expenditure are blocked and unnecessary spending are stopped, Treasurer Sam Basil says.
Basil, speaking during grievance debate on Friday, said monies that come from donors and muli-lateral partners needed to have an impact.
“We want to make sure that our multi-lateral partners are not allowed to cook up something and bring it for us to swallow.
“Our line departments must be fully consulted in the ruling out of those programmes.
“Whatever we do in borrowed money in future we have to make sure it has impact,” he said.
Basil said there were multi-lateral partners like the China Development Bank, ADB, Credit Suisse, World Bank and acknowledged the hard work by previous treasurers in raising the sovereign bond.
“We do have those options in place that we can do tapping on the current bond but whatever arrangement we make must have a better rate.
“The confidence given to us by those financial institutions, our multi-lateral partners, hinges on our commitments to those projects.
“Whatever commitments made will come back to affect how we manage the economy going forward,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Basil said he would address workers’ wages and housings conditions for the staff of PNG Customs Services and Internal Revenue Commission.
“They are collecting taxes and levies for the country and they make up almost 80 per cent of what they gain.
“I understand that 70 per cent of those workers live in settlements. How do we expect them to carry the fight against counterfeit products, to open up containers and inspect the contents? They charge some big companies to ask for taxes and to make them responsible and it’s a very hard task.
“We do not expect to treat those IRC and customs staff like any other ordinary staff.
“I would see increased wages for the workers and proper housing and hold them liable if they comprise with big tax payers then we come down hard on them.
“We will make sure that we amend laws that when we criminally prosecute them, it must be higher than the normal public servants.
“I’ve been tasked to go back and squeeze more out of those state agencies but at the same time we must take care of those people who are heading those institutions.”