Budget passed, Parlt adjourns to next March

National, Normal

THE 2010 Budget has been approved and Parliament adjourned to March next year after more than five hours of debate.
The budget was unanimously passed 71-0 votes by both sides of the House in a marathon session from 2pm to 7pm yesterday when it adjourned for the Christmas and New Year break.
The K7.5 billion money plan for next year was handed down by Treasurer and Finance Minister Patrick Pruaitch last week.
The Opposition was given the opportunity to reply with Opposition Shadow Treasurer Bart Philemon responding in describing the 2010 Budget as nothing more than a fast money scheme and an inflation time bomb.
He said said the budget gave the people false hope (see separate story).
However, Government ministers including National Planning Minister Paul Tiensten, CS Minister Tony Aimo, Fisheries Minister Ben Semri, Public Service Minister Peter O’Neill, Anglimp-South Waghi MP Jamie Maxtone-Graham and Nawaeb MP Timothy Bonga all spoke highly of the budget that was now making a difference in the rural districts.
Mr Aimo, who is Ambunti-Dreikikir MP, said the district service improvement programme had assisted in education, health and road infrastructure in the district level.
He said by next year, districts would have access to at least K3 million, which is the make-up of the DSIP funds of K2 million and agriculture funds of K1 million.
Mr Aimo said although his Correctional Service Department did not get the funding that they wanted, the CS would work within its budget to carry out its programmes.
He commended the Government for the K10 million for Baisu jail rehabilitation.
Mr Semri said the Somare-Temu Government was the first to fund small coastal fishing projects.
He said people in Manus province, the atolls of Bougainville and Milne Bay did not have agriculture but fisheries as their main source of income.