Sir Mekere weighs in on forex shortage


MORESBY North-West MP Sir Mekere Morauta has criticised the government for failing to fix, among other things, the shortage in foreign currency which is constraining growth.
Commenting on the 2018 Budget tabled by Treasurer Charles Abel last week, he said it should be clear to everyone now “that our economy is facing serious difficulties”, something Abel “went some way towards acknowledging as much”.
Sir Mekere said foreign exchange shortages were at least K2 billion. And 60 per cent of chief executive officers of companies “report this as their biggest constraint”.
Sir Mekere said public debts, as reported in the budget, had risen to K25 billion.
“There are large off-budget debts, such as K2 billion in superannuation arrears, K2.5 billion in State-owned enterprises debts (in Kumul Consolidated Holdings), and K14 billion more Chinese debt,” he said.
Sir Mekere pointed out that revenue shortfalls of K3 billion in 2015, K2 billion in 2016 and close to K2 billion this year had caused “cash flow problems, budget implementation chaos and the build-up of arrears, estimated at over K2 billion”.
He said the budget needed to fully disclose the state of the economy in quantifiable terms: the debts, arrears and foreign exchange shortages.