2 Oct 2002

PNG Government seeks stay order on VAT decision

7:33 pm on 2 October 2002

The Papua New Guinea Cabinet, the NEC, is to seek a stay order on the judgement by the Supreme Court outlawing Value-Added Tax.

The Prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, says the State's legal team is currently finalising the neccessary court documentation and it is hoped the matter will be heard next week.

Sir Michael says the nation can not afford the loss of the tax revenues, which are estimated to be around 154-million US dollars a year.

He says mistakes had occurred in the past with legislation passed without the proper consultation with relevant authorities.

Sir Michael says this was for political convenience, and he wants to make sure such mistakes are not repeated.

Meanwhile the Morobe governor Luther Wenge, who brought the case challenging VAT, has called for the sacking of Internal Recenue Commission head, David Sode, and consultant John Lohberger.

Mr Wenge is also seeking legal advice on whether he can cite Mr Sode and the Commission for contempt of court, following Mr Sode's advice to businesses that they continue to collect VAT.

Yesterday Mr Weneg announced the Morobe province would implement its own goods and services tax.

He appointed lawyer John Dubian as tax collector and said the implementation would be effective immediately.