Chan tags budget as ‘flat and dead document’

National, Normal


THE opposition has criticised the government’s biggest national budget, announced by Treasurer Peter O’Neill on Tuesday, as “a flat and dead document”.
New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan said although the 2011 budget may look big, he was doubtful if it would ever be implemented.
“As I see it, the budget does not belong to the people; its implementation will not  work because nobody is going to implement it,” he said.
Speaking from experiences with mining projects in his province, Sir Julius warned landowners from the gas-rich Southern Highlands and pipeline route provinces Gulf and Central not to trust the government and its sweet talks “until they have given you what you want”.
“Only then can you put pen to paper any agreements required for the project.”
He said for the last 15 years, New Ireland had been contributing K500 million annually to the national coffers but nothing had gone back to the New Ireland people and their provincial government.
Opposition spokesman on finance and treasury and member for Lae Bart Philemon said while the budget was the biggest ever, it lacked structures.
He claimed since independence, PNG had spend more than K125 billion with 51% of that used during the reign of Sir Michael Somare as prime minister.
Philemon said the K10 million district support improvement programme funds was not enough.
He said he would respond to the budget next Tuesday when parliament resumes.