Treasurer reveals spending

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MORE than K400 million from the K5.7 billion Coronavirus (Covid-19) stimulus package has been used for programmes in response to the pandemic, Treasurer Ian Lin-Stuckey says.
“K214.8 million were allocated to provincial and district Covid-19 trust accounts established under the special finance instructions in 2020,” he said.
The breakdown:

  • K1 million allocated to all districts and provinces for agriculture programmes to ensure food security and maintain nutrition levels;
  • K500,000 given to all districts and provinces for water, sanitation and hygiene (Wash) programmes to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19; and,
  • K500,000 for all districts for micro, small and medium enterprises to keep small Papua New Guinea businesses operating.

Ling-Stuckey presented “The Marape Government’s Covid-19 economic response package on expenditure” on Friday.
He clarified that the direct budget financing was less than 10 per cent of the total economic stimulus response package and over 90 per cent was funded through innovative, flexible mechanism and not just a big Government spending of K5.7 billion Covid-19 direct spending as claimed by the Opposition.
Ling-Stuckey outlined how the remaining direct action funding would be spent:

  • K19 million for personal protective equipment;
  • K16.4 million for isolation ward set-up costs;
  • K30.7 million to provincial health authorities;
  • K71.8 million to the police to cover additional costs associated with the Covid-19 compliance;
  • K5.8 million to the Defence department to help strengthen PNG’s borders;
  • K2 million for Customs and K2 million for the National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority to help strengthen PNG’s borders;
  • K11.1 million to help cover the costs of bringing stranded citizens home;
  • K3 million to Port Moresby General Hospital; and,
  • K3 million for the National Control Centre to help coordinate the national Covid-19 response.

Ling-Stuckey said the remaining K5.7 billion consisted of two parts.
“First was the K2.8 billion in additional concessional financing,” he said.
“These funds replaced the tax revenue that was lost because of the Covid-19 impacts on the world such as lower oil prices as well as local impacts due to lockdowns driven by health concerns.
“A further K2.5 billion was raised through the Covid-19 bonds to finance budget expenditure, such bond financing had been built into the original budget 2020, but the uncertainty created by the global pandemic indicated it would be difficult to get this domestic financing.” Ling-Stuckey said all of the K5.7 billion supported budget 2020 to pay the wages of doctors, nurses, teachers and police.