THE Opposition has described the budget handed down by Treasurer Charles Abel on Tuesday as “fake news and a false, crumbling block” that would not sustain people’s hopes.
“The 2018 budget unfortunately lacks credibility. There is over K2 billion of fake revenues in this 2018 budget,” Shadow Minister for Treasury and Finance Ian Ling-Stuckey said.
“This is a false, crumbling building block which cannot sustain the hopes and dreams of the people of PNG.
“Unfortunately, both the history of this government in over-estimating revenues, and the specific unrealistic assumptions of this budget means it simply lacks the needed credibility to get this country going again.”
“Experience demonstrates that when these K2 billion in fake revenues do not come into government coffers, there will be big cuts in expenditure.
“While I welcome the big increases in health expenditure and smaller gains in education and transport, the likelihood is that they will be cut again in the inevitable 2018 supplementary budget.
“My preliminary view of this Abel budget is that it unfortunately:
- Fails the people of PNG;
- is not credible;
- will not deal with decline in jobs and standards of living of PNG’s people;
- will not deal with PNG’s crippling foreign exchange shortages; and; and,
- Is not honest enough to actually deal with PNG’s acute budget crisis.
“There has not yet been enough time to fully explore the simplistic games of this budget, the fudges and deceptions throughout this document. We will do so over coming days.
“My alternative government’s philosophy is not just to oppose but to propose.
“So within my response, I will clearly set out why I oppose parts of this un-credible budget. But I will go further.
“I will propose solutions to the critical issues facing this country – a jobs and standards of living crisis, a foreign exchange crisis and the underlying budget crisis.
“My initial concerns about this budget are the un-credible revenue forecasts. From a simple businessman’s perspective, if you don’t forecast your sales correctly, then the rest of your business is at risk. The 2018 budget’s revenue assumptions are, frankly, wrong. Given the state of the economy, you would be an ignorant businessman to assume your revenues were going to increase-by so much as 20 per cent, especially when business conditions are as tough as they are now.
“The 2018 budget assumes that in these tough times, revenues will increase from K10.5 billion in 2017 to K12.7 billion in 2018! This is just fake news.
“The starting point is this government over-estimated revenues by K1 billion in 2017. In 2016, they over-estimated by K2 billion.
“In 2015, they over-estimated by over K3 billion.
“If this government was a business, its shareholders would have sacked its directors.
“The 2018 budget has, based on my early analysis, some K2 billion in “fake revenue.
“And when you start with a revenue deception, the rest of your budget falls to pieces.
“Where is this K2 billion in “fake revenue”? Playing games by pretending just K24 million to the Internal Revenue Commission and Customs will produce an extra K755 million in revenue – a return of K31 for every extra K1 in admin costs? Just not credible – more fake news.
“Why not credible? The Government tried the same trick in the 2017 budget where it claimed K19 million to the IRC would generate K400 million in extra revenue – a fake return of K21 for every extra K1 in admin costs.
“Instead, revenue has gone backwards by K1 billion.”