O’Neill hands down first mini-budget

National, Normal

WINDFALL revenue totalling more than K600 million was handed down in a supplementary budget targeting  government’s unfunded expenditure pressures and high priority initiatives for 2010.
Treasurer and Finance Minister Peter O’Neill, when handing down his first mini-budget, said the government had foreshadowed at the time of the mid-year economic fiscal outlook that it would prepare a supplementary budget for the purpose.
“In fulfilling this undertaking, the government is delivering the supplementary budget of K653.3 million while still ensuring a balance budget in 2010, consistent with the medium term fiscal strategy,” he said.
In the supplementary budget, the PNG LNG umbrella benefits sharing agreement (UBSA) commitments received the highest allocation of K170 million; Highlands highways gets K100 million; Port Moresby roads – K70 million; Lae roads – K50 million; rural district roads – K50 million; provincial service improvement programme – K40 million; district offices rehabilitation – K30 million; National Parliament – K20 million; National Development Bank equity retail banking – K20 million; business growth centres and other high priority initiatives K83.3 million.
Other high priority spending initiatives include : Internal Revenue Commission for income tax refunds (K15 million); Electoral Commission (K10 million); prime minister’s commitment to coastal areas (K10 million); Small Business Development Corporation (K10 million); Defence ex-servicemen entitlements (K9 million); Prime Minister’s Department (K5 million); mobile police barracks (K5 million); REDD programme (K3.3 million); incentive fund support (K3 million); audit and legal team support – Department of Finance (K2 million), mining legal costs (K2 million); mining office rehabilitation (K2 million), cooperative societies programme (K2 million); and Variarata National Park rehabilitation (K1 million).
O’Neill said a large part of the supplementary budget was directly or indirectly related to facilitating advancement of the PNG LNG project.
This includes financing the UBSA and outstanding MoA commitments.
From the K170 million allocated, K100 million will go towards meeting outstanding LNG liabilities under the MoA commitments for Kutubu, Gobe, Moran Central and Hides gas to electricity, K40 million is for PNG LNG high impact infrastructure projects including Komo township, Margarima township, Hela city development, Tari International Airport and K20 million for ILG and Issues Committee.
O’Neill said there was also substantial funding for roads especially the Highlands Highway, in Lae, Port Moresby and in districts that would help to improve the transportation infrastructure that was required to support the project.
He said more funding provided to the provinces would assist them to provide better services to rural residents.
“Funding for business growth centres will help business to flourish, especially small and medium-size businesses in response to the opportunities that have arisen.”