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OPPOSITION MPs were left confused yesterday when a vital budget document which was supposed to provide details of the 2022 national budget, was not tabled.
Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey tabled a K5.9 billion deficit budget for 2022 (K22 billion in expenditure and K16.1 billion in revenue), with one of the biggest allocations – K2.5 billion – going to Health.
Former treasurer and Alotau MP Charles Abel said without the document called Volume One, “the budget is incomplete”.
“The physical frameworks, the policy framework and the summary of the budget which is always contained in Volume One, were not tabled,” Abel said.
“It certainly wasn’t given to us (in) Parliament. So we cannot respond properly (to the budget) as the Opposition. We are in suspense because we don’t know what the substance of the budget is. We want the truth so we can comment on it properly.”

Members of the Opposition at a press conference after the presentation of the budget at Parliament house in Port Moresby yesterday. – Nationalpic by KENNEDY BANI

Efforts to get a comment yesterday on the issue from Ling-Stuckey and Treasury secretary Dairi Vele were not successful.
But Prime Minister James Marape said last night everything had been printed and distributed to the MPs.
Opposition Leader Belden Namah, who is expected to make a formal response next week when Parliament resumes, said the substantive Volume One should have been tabled.
Shadow Treasurer Joseph Lelang said when budget documents were distributed to MPs, “the critical Volume One” was missing.
“It contains the policies and plans of the government that shapes the allocation of K22 billion in terms of public funds,” he said.
“It contains information on the revenue, expenditure, debt financing and how much to come from external or domestic sources, it contains all the information on the reforms that the Treasurer (Ling- Stuckey) is talking about in his speech. We want to know what reforms are contained in the budget.
“They have just introduced tariff measures. We want to know what these measures are and how they are going to affect our people, and business houses out there.”
Ling-Stuckey said education and health were priority areas which was expected to be funded through external (K3.6bil) and domestic (K2.3bil) borrowings.
The projected revenue for 2022 is K16.19bil – up K12.9bil from this year. The expenditure of K22bil is bigger compared to K19bil this year.

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