Wenge wants Morobe budget approved quickly

Lae News, Normal

MOROBE Governor Luther Wenge wants Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch to endorse the 2010 Morobe provincial budget quickly so that implementation can start.
Mr Wenge is travelling to Port Moresby today to see Mr Pruaitch about the Morobe budget.
The K150 million budget was submitted last year.
Mr Wenge said the Morobe provincial government needed the budget approved quickly so that it could pay the K4 million school subsidies to the schools in time for the start of the school year.
“We are committed to this and must pay,” he said.
As he spoke of his travel plans, Mr Wenge expressed concern that a large province like Morobe never has enough money to implement its development plans and deliver basic services such as health, education and infrastructure to its people.
The province is the biggest in Papua New Guinea now, with Southern Highlands and Western Highlands now split to create the new provinces of Jiwaka and Hela respectively.
“We need a yearly budget of K500 million minimum,” Mr Wenge said.
He said Morobe province was robbed by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) law of the revenue it raised annually.
Out of the K600 million it raises annually through GST, a mere K30 million is sent back to Lae for the province.
 “It is not the question of Morobe not having the money.
“We have the revenue but we are being robbed each year by the GST law,” he said.
“Revenue is coming from mining, from city businesses, the whole of Highlands does business in Lae so we have the revenue but GST is robbing us.”
He said of the K30 million the provincial government is expected to allocate funds for health, education, roads and other development programmes.
The Lae City council receives around K9 million of the total K30 million for city development.
“If I spend all of the K30 million on Lae roads where will I get money for the rest of the province?” he asked.