Opps queries K125m ‘loan’

National, Normal

The National – Friday, February 11, 2011

THE opposition has called on Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and the government to clear the air on the K125 million supposedly “borrowed” from the National Superannuation Fund (Nasfund).
Deputy opposition leader and Lae MP Bart Philemon also asked why the nation should carry debts for community projects in only one district – Kokopo – arising from the issuance of special purpose securities.
“I am calling on the prime minister to clear the air whether cabinet was involved; where this K125 million featured in the 2011 budget process and documents; and if Kokopo district received that amount and whether all 88 other districts can expect the same,” Philemon said.
He said the main question was whether the Department of Treasury was involved with this process on securities borrowed domestically.
The Lae MP was a former treasurer and finance minister spanning 20 years in parliament. He was responsible for establishing the inscribed stocks to raise K200 million in the 2004 budget to help fund rehabilitation of the Highlands Highway.
“The inscribed stock was necessary given the difficulties of securing World Bank funding to rehabilitate what is, without question, the economic lifeline of Papua New Guinea,” Philemon said.
“Why is it that Kokopo is the sole beneficiary?”
He said this kind of fundraising should only be pursued if it supported the nationwide district services improvement programme.