THE Government claims it will have a balanced budget this year.
The Opposition party has highlighted many key areas the Government has missed out, or given low priority to in its money plan.
Many sectors are also complaining this year’s budget is far from being a balanced budget.
What is a balanced budget anyway?
Every government will always claim they have a balanced budget. There is no such thing as a balanced budget as many critics will always pick holes in any budget.
They will always find many needy areas that the Government has missed out when drawing up its budget.
In future, the Government must substantially do more.
Many priority areas are underfunded from previous years.
There are important areas the budget failed to cover by successive governments.
I call on our Government to make the necessary adjustments.
For many years, successive governments have failed to address job creation, urban migration, health care and education.
The Government can increase our revenue stream through developing new business opportunities in industry and others.
In addition, the Government must do more than increased revenues.
It should first of all put PNG’s “fiscal house” in order that will always require sound fiscal management of Government’s current expenses.
Its fiscal policies should be aimed to keep a tight rein on Government spending and focus on key priority areas that will boost sustainable economic growth.
The Government must also provide real financial management, transparency and accountability.
A new approach must now be found to stabilise the Government’s fiscal position.
It must also ensure value for money by eliminating ineffective and inefficient programmes.
To do this, it should set objectives for programme spending and tracking results.
Another financial strategy is stopping the practice of year-end spending to use up unspent budgetary allocations, and assign any unanticipated budget surplus to debt reduction.
So by reviewing financing arrangements to service the country’s debt, the Government can also immediately review all financing arrangements in all departments to cut the country’s debt and reduce interest cost.
For many years now, successive governments had spent up to some 80% of its budget on salaries and employees’ benefits.
In the next five to 10 years, it must use this period to rationalise the workforce by reducing the size of its public sector through rationalisation strategies.
Another good strategy is to conduct a review of all Government-registered vehicles and determine how many are necessary for operations and downsize the fleet accordingly.
As such, it will be able to accurately determine whether these vehicles should be purchased or leased.
All travel expenditures for elected and non-elected officials must also be reviewed and reduced.