The National, Tuesday 16th April 2013
By GYNNIE KERO
TAXES and charges imposed on the resource sector have to be fair to resource companies, landowners and citizens, says Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
He said a panel of experts would be reviewing the taxation system, including a comprehensive review of the mining, oil and gas sectors’ taxes and charges.
“This is one of the most important reviews we have undertaken since Independence,” he said.
“I hope the members of the business councils will take the opportunity to contribute constructively to this process.
“It is also part of the government’s commitment last year to ensure the country’s economy lifted and encourage competition among export industry.”
O’Neill said infrastructure was a huge challenge for the government, the people and stakeholders.
“But it is also a budget that makes a real medium term commitment to spending on economic infrastructure.
“The challenge is actually on how we deliver these massive spending commitments to the nation.
“By decentralising, devolving, decision-making and resources to agencies closest to the people, the country can get better outcomes.
“We simply cannot continue the wait-and-see approach that has placed us in our current state of affairs – a collapsing education system, poor health care, increasing lawlessness and certainly aging infrastructure.”
In the 2013 budget, the government planned to borrow within the guidelines set under the Fiscal Responsibility Act, with a certainty of increase in revenue in the medium term.
“We must get the balance right – and we must get an outcome where all stakeholders are happy.
“The national interest must come first. We must secure a long-term investment model in our resource sector that is sustainable and meets the expectations of our people,” O’Neill said.