TREASURY Minister Don Polye is expected to hand down a K14 billion 2014 Budget in Parliament today.
The budget will cater for the deficit, which has now blown out to between K3.5 billion and K4 billion, a source close to the Treasury Department said yesterday.
However, the US$2 billion Exim Bank loan and Ok Tedi dividend payment of more than US$100 million have not been factored in next year’s money plan. The source said the budget would cater for a salary increase of 8-9% for public servants. This is likely to be paid next year.
The source said the costs of major infrastructure development, the 2015 Pacific Games and the 2018 APEC Leaders Summit had contributed to the deficit blowout of about K2 billion.
Major infrastructure projects include the Highlands Highway, Lae to Nadzab Highway, Lae and Port Moresby roads and the Southern Highlands Highway. These will cost less than the inflated figures that have been widely publicised recently.
The source said the Lae-Nazdab four-lane highway project would cost K160 million as indicated by Polye last week.
The media had been wrongly reporting that the Government would spend more than K500 million on the road project.
The Exim Bank loan had not been factored in the budget because of hiccups in the administrative processes such as delays in submissions for major road projects and other infrastructure development, the source said.
The source said Polye was adamant that commitments by ministers and MPs on additional and unbudgeted expenditure in 2014 would not be funded by the budget.
“Treasurer Polye is quite firm on unnecessary expenditure and commitments by ministers and MPs and he will not allow them to derail the 2014 budget,” the source said.
“He wants the 2014 budget to be a responsible and transparent budget that is part of his five-year rolling money plan.
“Furthermore, he wants Papua New Guineans to see this budget in a five-year context, which is to eventually achieve a balanced budget by 2017.”
The budget will focus on the Government’s key priorities of free education and free basic health care, infrastructure development, law and order and growing the economy.
The source said Polye, as chairman of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund board of governors, wanted the budget to be framed in the context of the global economy.
ONE PNG /The National