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Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape has called for “sacrifice” as Government plans to cut funding to major programmes so it can fund its Supplementary Budget to be tabled in Parliament next month.
He told The National that budgetary allocations to major public-funded programmes such as the Provincial Service Improvement Programme (PSIP) and District Service Improvement Programme (DSIP) would bear the brunt of the cost cut.
“PSIP and DSIP funding will be slashed. All (MPs should be) willing to make that sacrifice to fund the supplementary budget,” he said.
He explained that the Government is in a situation where government revenue has shrunk while expenditure has increased so the Government will be making adjustments to fund a supplementary budget.
“Treasury will be making a review and for the first time the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund will be part of that review to establish what our revenue is and what our expenditure is as we want to be transparent with our numbers,” Marape said.
“But in any situation where the revenue is smaller than the expenditure, there will be cuts made. So after the review is made, any wastage in public service will be cut.”
The supplementary budget is expected to be tabled in Parliament on 08 October.
Marape reminded everyone that “we must help ourselves” by tightening up on expenditure.
“No one (else) would help us,” he said.
“We’re giving our new Treasurer (Ian Ling-Stuckey) one more month to look through the numbers and reconcile. So it’s about taking control of our revenue, correcting and tidying the balance for this year.”
The supplementary budget is to readjust the Government’s financial plan as outlined in the 2019 national budget approved by Parliament last November.
Marape had said earlier that the current economic situation warranted a readjustment to the financial roadmap for the year before the 2020 national budget is tabled in November.
Former prime minister and finance minister Sir Mekere Morauta recently joined Marape’s team from the Opposition to assist in addressing the dire economic situation.
Meanwhile, former prime minister and Member for Ialibu-Pangia Peter O’Neill has decried the Marape government’s move to slash DSIP and PSIP.
O’Neill said the slashing of DSIPs and PSIPs is unnecessary and will hurt our people, particularly in remote and rural communities.
“DSIPs and PSIPs were established and maintained by our government, with James Marape as Finance Minister, so that government services could be planned and delivered at the local level, and not simply imposed by Waigani,” he said.
“This is the only funding that goes directly to our districts and provinces.
“For many years now through these programs, the districts and provinces have been able to work with communities to deliver services and projects that were needed by the people.
“Slashing of these funds will mean services in healthcare, education and community development and security will go into decline.
“Every district and province in our country has planned for the delivery of these promised funds for the remainder of 2019 for the betterment of their people.
“Now every member and governor has to explain to their people why these services will be slashed by the government in 2019 and likely not continued in 2020 according the news we see today.
“In over seven years in government we ensured that DSIPs and PSIPs were paid despite the trying economic times.
“The government already has within its means the cost savings that are required to fund the budget, such as the reforms in government salaries.
“These public service reforms that we initiated in previous years are now coming to fruition and should be fully implemented without fail.
“After so much talk, what we need to do is to work together at the higher level, and get back to the implementation of coherent policies and strategies and certainty for our people.“The government must be capable of managing this budget without taking drastic measures that are not properly thought through and can only hurt our people,” he said.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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