Economic info hidden: Pruaitch

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Opposition Leader Patrick Pruaitch, pictured, says dismal of economic performance of the Government has been hidden from public scrutiny because the Prime Minister’s Office has muzzled institutions such as Central Bank and the media.
“The Central Bank and the print media have been cheering the performance of the O’Neill Government during the past six years as the livelihoods of at least 120,000 families were destroyed as a result of economic mismanagement,” Pruaitch claimed.
“The job losses are well documented by the Central Bank, which has played a subservient role to government and offered no policy recommendations.
“We know that when a Papua New Guinean loses a job, five or six other people are affected, especially when only one member of a household has regular income.
“While 120,000 may not seem a large figure in a country with more than eight million people, the total number of formal sector jobs in the public and private sectors only totals around half a million. This suggests that over a six-year period, something like one out of every four or five workers have lost their jobs.”
Data published in the quarterly bulletins of the Bank of PNG shows that in the year to September 2018, the latest figures available, total employment in the non-resources sector had fallen by 2.3 per cent.
This followed a devastating 5.3 per cent loss of jobs in 2017, a stagnant jobs situation in 2016 and falling employment levels of 4.2 per cent in 2015 and 2.9 per cent in 2014.
“This is why we believe the downgrading of economic growth for 2015 by the National Statistical Office (NSO) is accurate,” he said.
“The NSO has calculated that nominal GDP in 2015 only grew 0.7 per cent compared with Treasury’s heavily inflated figure of 9.8 per cent.”
Commenting on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s statement in Parliament on Tuesday that his government’s “achievements have been understated by many”, Pruaitch said the two national dailies in particular have been ignoring negative employment trends that are publicised every quarter by the Bank of PNG.