By ISAAC NICHOLAS
THE coalition government is confident of beating a looming vote of no-confidence mooted by the opposition during this session of parliament.
The government is so confident that both Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and his deputy Don Polye are out of the country attending to international commitments while the opposition is busy lobbying for numbers to move the vote this week.
Sir Michael and Polye will return today for the budget session tomorrow and facing a possible vote this week.
However, sources claimed that the government, in a move to avoid the vote, would adjourn parliament straight after Treasury and Finance Minister Peter O’Neill hands down his first supplementary and 2011 budgets and return for the opposition reply a week later.
The opposition had claimed that a notice paper on the vote had been given to Speaker Jeffrey Nape, and it was incumbent on Nape to carry out his duties with fairness and impartiality.
The deputy prime minister said in a media briefing, before leaving for Japan at the weekend, that the vote of no-confidence would do more harm than good for the country.
Polye said it was in the country’s interest that the current coalition remained in office until 2012.
Good government policies like the district service improvement programme, treasury roll-out, rural electrification and the transport infrastructure programme under the ADB multi-tranche finance facility were some projects most likely to be affected with a change of government.
Polye said a change would create confusion and uncertainty in the current healthy investment climate.
Of biggest concern was a change would affect the positive growth in foreign investment which, he claimed, was the result of favourable economic conditions created by government.
“A change now will make vulnerable the level of focus and certainty that the private sector has in the economy.
“We cannot afford to jeopardise mega projects that the government has brought on board, particularly in the gas and mineral sectors.”
He also said not much would be achieve by a new government, given the time remaining before the next elections in 2012.
Polye said experience had shown that, in PNG, a new government required at least three years to settle in office before getting on in its prime business of implementing its policies, programmes and strategies.
He said it would require another two years for effective and proper implementation, hence a full five years to effectively deliver.
“Any new government formed now will not achieve much for the people, given that only 12 months remain before the general elections.”
He also dismissed reports that there was a split within the ruling National Alliance party, although there appeared to be some cracks over the leadership issues of New Guinea Islands and Southern regions, when pledging the NA Highlands bloc’s loyalty and support for the government.