Reports by Sheila Lasibori and Ronald Bulum
THE Government has stressed that private sector investment was an important part of economic development and growth in the country.
As the Government acknowledged and supported the benefits of increasing competition in key service sectors because of the positive impact this had on the economy in increasing proficiency, productivity, lowering prices and improving the quality of service delivery and promoted innovation.
These were part of the remarks of Treasurer and Finance Minister Patrick Pruaitch when he addressed the Budget Breakfast yesterday in Port Moresby.
The event was sponsored by the Badili Club and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“The Government will continue to pursue initiatives to structural reforms to encourage investments and remove impediments to doing business and investment and promoting a competitive and dynamic private sector.
“These are the keys to reducing poverty, generating income and employment, promoting PNG’s economic and social development and stimulating economic growth,” he said.
Mr Pruaitch said in recent years the benefits from competition in telecommunication and aviation industry had been large and prices had been driven down as a result.
“The Government will continue to build on these gains next year.”
Mr Pruaitch also revealed there were several tax proposals submitted by various organisations, but these could not be accommodated in the 2010 Budget due to expenditure priorities in the Budget.
“But the Government values industry’s input to the Budget process and thanks you for taking the time to prepare submissions.”
He said the 2010 Budget included only a minor technical change that had no cost to revenue and that the budget also further deferred the consideration of the tariff reduction programme to 2011.
Mr Pruaitch said the overall outlook next year was continued political and economic stability.
But there were risks which PNG needed to be mindful of and these included the start of the LNG project being delayed; unforeseen shutdowns in the mineral sector, volatility of falls in commodity prices and an unforeseen stalling in the global economic recovery.
“Government will continue to monitor these risks very closely.”