Chamber describes budget as ‘conservative’


The Papua New Guinea Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc (PNGCCI) has described the 2018 Budget as “conservative” as it does not factor in any resource project next year but still depends on assumed revenue growth.
PNGCCI president John Leahy said the significant increase in tax on diesel would impact all sectors but transport and agriculture in particular.
He hoped that the Government’s optimistic talk on foreign exchange relief would materialise.
Looking at the budget at a glance, Leahy said:

  • Debt to be under statutory cap, but servicing remained a drain on the budget;
  • significant increase in development spending should result in some much-needed stimulus;
  • big increase in funding for the Internal Revenue Commission targeting wider enforcement was in line with calls from PNGCCI but this was in context of collapse in company tax collections, (offset in part by GST increases);
  • big focus on State-owned enterprises, sweep of accounts to pull in revenue;
  • agriculture equity fund of K100 million (again, and this time earmarked in part for rice production);
  • plantation rehabilitation mooted but only a small budget allocation which won’t go far;
  • subtle but meaningful change in priority from education to economic growth, a belated realisation that you have to make money before you can spend it;
  • enlarged ports for Kikori, Vanimo and Wewak;
  • of concern was an apparent reduction in spending on police; and,
  • Recognition of opportunity with Apec to showcase the country to visiting chief executive quite apart from the world leaders.