O’Neill warns of cuts

Main Stories, National

The National, Tuesday August 07th, 2012

GOVERNMENT departments and agencies can expect cuts, restructure or outright abolition, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told heads of departments in a meeting yesterday.
This is a result of a revenue shortfall of K500 million and cost over-runs in the general election.
O’Neill and his caretaker ministers were informed by Treasury Secretary Simon Tosali that revenue might fall by about K500 million due to fall in commodity prices and the appreciation of the kina against the US dollar.
A detailed report on the performance of the 2012 budget would be presented to cabinet when it is ready.
O’Neill and his caretaker ministers met with all departments and urged them to work harder and be prepared for austere measures to be announced with the budget.
“We have to roll up our sleeves and work harder.
“We have to be prepared to put in the long hours.
“You (public servants) will sack yourselves if you are not prepared for this,” the prime minister said.
The heads of departments, led by Chief Secretary Manasupe Zure­nuoc, assured O’Neill they were ready to work with his government.
The prime minister asked for the meeting to outline the broad policies of his government and what he expects from the public servants.
He said the LNG pro­ject promised a lot for the people, but there were dangers of missed opportunities.
“If we miss out, that will be because you and I have not been doing our jobs,” he told the public servants.
“We have spent billions of kina in education and health, but we are not making a difference. There is something wrong. That is why I am asking for the extra effort.”.
The prime minister is expected to announce his full cabinet tomorrow.
Caretaker ministers who attended the meeting included Don Polye, Patrick Pruaitch, Charles Abel, Ben Micah, Mao Zeming, Sir Puka Temu, William Duma and John Pundari.