Ling-Stuckey queries payroll claims

National

Shadow Minister for Treasury and Finance Ian Ling-Stuckey has asked the Government to explain what he calls a blowout by nearly K1 billion of the public service’ payroll.
“This budget blowout once again demonstrates the PNC government’s incompetence in managing the nation’s public service payroll,” Ling-Stuckey claimed.
“There are reliable reports from the 2019 Budget process that senior public servants estimate the cost over-run in 2018 is nearly K1 billion. This would be about 20 per cent over-run of the initial budgeted amount.
“No wonder they can’t pay teachers on time with such budget mismanagement.”
He said the government payroll was the largest single cost item in the budget, even larger than the massive public debt interest costs being imposed on the people of PNG.
“The Treasurer promised that as part of his so-called 100 days’ plan, as point 3, that the new government would get the government payroll under control. In regards to the 2018 Budget, it was estimated that the compensation of employees was K4137 million for 2018.
“However, as part of the budget process, the September out-turn report from round 3 indicated the payroll was expected to reach over K5062 million in 2018.
More specifically, the government was informed that there was an expected salary over-run of K944 million, nearly one billion kina of incompetent budget management.”
Ling-Stuckey said this pattern of budget “incompetence” was evident from two earlier facts – first, the 2018 mid-year economic and fiscal outlook revealed that there was an additional K418 million paid in section 4 transfers on Jan 4.
These massive payments were described as: “To offset salary over-run” a clear example of simply delaying a payment until the very start of 2018 to make the 2017 deficit look better.

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