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PNG PM dismiss IMF report on APEC

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has described the recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) Article 4 Report that states, 2018 APEC Summit will cost K3billion (US$946 million), as utterly rubbish, inaccurate and not true.

And PM O’Neill has warned international organisations not to present misleading reports that will cause unnecessary debates in Papua New Guinea and abroad.

He was responding to questions raised by Rabaul MP Dr Allan Marat requesting confirmation and acceptance from the Government on the IMF assessment of the cost of the APEC Conference in this report.

Marat said that the IMF report noted the Government plans to spend K3 billion on APEC, which in three years is approximately 7 per cent in Government expenditure.

He also said that the report stated further, that close to half a billion kina needs to be found to finance next year’s general elections.

But Prime Minister O’Neill defended his Government, rejecting the report and singling out that the amounts mentioned were totally incorrect.

“The amounts that are being mentioned by IMF is utterly rubbish, inaccurate and not true,” O’Neill said.

“How can you spend K3billion, when the country has only K12billion budget every year?” O’Neill asked. “It’s nonsense. Absolutely incorrect. The Budget reflects every time, how much we spend on APEC.

“Last year’s budget reflected that, next year’s budget will be presented in Parliament next week and you will see whether we are spending K3billion or how much.

“We are not silly, we know what we can afford and what we cannot afford. I want to stress very clearly that these misleading kind of statements are just going to create unnecessary debate based on not facts but some innuendo that this is sort of a figure that we will spend on APEC.

“K120million we are spending on APEC Haus is the only major spending we have, the rest is only about hosting meetings and we are hosting meetings in East New Britain, Madang, Goroka so that the rest of Papua New Guinea can also experience and of course it is our opportunity to showcase our country to the visitors who are coming.

“This Government has always stated very clearly, we will protect free health care, education – those core services will be continued to be maintained in the Budget.”

He said the Government always reflects the cost of APEC in every Budget. He added that the Government is not crazy in dealing with the APEC costings.

“We know what we can afford and what we cannot afford. APEC is not going to consume that kind of money,” he said.

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