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PNG 2017 Supplementary Budget top of agenda as Parliament resumes today

The 2017 Supplementary Budget tops the government agenda when Papua New Guinea Parliament resumes at 2 o’clock this afternoon.

Deputy Prime Minister, Charles Abel, is expected to hand down the mini budget during this session.

Leader of Government Business, James Marape, could not be reached for comments, but the government has indicated bringing in the Independent Commission Against Corruption Bill (ICAC) to at least test the numbers in this session.

The government is also expected to bring through legislations including the National Energy Authority Bill, for the creation of the similar entity like the Mineral Resource Authority, to aggressively drive LNG projects.

The House will start with Ministers giving their statements and entertain questions without notice.

The tabling of the 2017 Supplementary Budget is point 1 in the 25-point 100-day plan of the O’Neill Government.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, said cabinet had decided to support a supplementary budget to maintain the parametres of the 2017 Budget proper.

O’Neill said after a period of sustained high economic growth spurred by the PNG LNG Project construction phase and sustained increases in government spending, circumstances such as the collapse of the price of oil and the El Nino drought, and a slowdown in global growth had dampened economic growth.

He said the mid-year economic fiscal outlook report from Treasury has highlighted these emerging issues with a downturn in government revenues as well as an increase in public service wages, interest costs and rentals, and the rationing of foreign currency.

He said the supplementary budget maintains a 2.5 percent budget deficit and 32 percent debt to GDP ratio in the 2017 Budget proper by deferral in the Service Improvement Program and cuts to the capital and recurrent budgets.

“The SIPs (DSIP/PSIP) are a very important pillar to our government, however, the cabinet has recognised the need for discipline during tough times. The deferral to SIPs will be replaced in subsequent budgets,” Mr O’Neill said.

He said the Supplementary Budget will also boost medicine procurement, coffee berry borer response and more funds to the Department of Works.

He said a range of other measures are also brought to support and give direction around the 100-day, 25-point plan.

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