PARLIAMENT has overwhelmingly passed the K15 billion national budget in its final sitting for the year, drowning out any opposition to it.
It was passed at 7.15pm last night straight after Opposition leader Belden Namahhad strongly criticised it as “not for the people of this country”.
There were 92 MPs in the House during the vote, including three Opposition members led by Namah.
Treasurer Don Polye described the budget as “not the best but the biggest and the best” in the country’s history.
He said it was based on the macroeconomic policies of the Government aimed to grow the economy and improve the lives of the people in the rural communities.
Presenting the Opposition’s reply to it, Namah said the 2014 budget was expected to create more problems for the people.
He rubbished the government’s claim that it the “best budget” focused on growing the economy.
Namah, pictured, said the economy would experience more problems because the debt level would go beyond the 35% debt level forecast as the Government needed to source financing from outside to finance the deficit of around 6%.
Namah said the Budget had failed to factor in falling commodity prices.
He said the gold prices were expected to remain stagnant and the deficit was expected to increase and continue to influence future budgets because Government revenue would be less.
He said to grow the economy, the Government must look at the domestic bond market to reduce the debt deficit.
He said some of the actions taken by the Government such as the proposed concessional K6 billion Exim Bank loan and loans to buy back the shares from Oil Search would create more uncertainty for the economy
and could incur more deficit in 2015 and beyond.
He raised concerns over the inflated cost of projects such as the Sir Hubert Murray Highway from K16 million to K75 million and Lae-Nazab highway from K160 million to K500 million.
Namah said to raise revenue and save costs, the Government must reduce the 117 state organisations to 100 as many of them were just duplicating jobs.
He said the tax threshold should be increased from K10,000 to K15,000 so the people could have more money in their pockets.
He suggested that PNG promote local companies to create more jobs while import tariffs should be put in place.