19 Oct 2004

PNG parliamentarians to get slush fund boost

8:14 pm on 19 October 2004

Papua New Guinea's prime minister says the 2005 budget next month will include an increase in MPs' provincial and district support grants.

No figure was supplied by Sir Michael Somare, but opposition members claimed the amount would be a twenty-five per cent increase on last year's 192 thousand US dollars.

The Post-Courier newspaper says the announcement is a major turn-around in government policy following its slashing of district development grants when it came to power midway through 2002.

The paper quotes a spokesman for Opposition leader, Peter O'Neill, as saying the government's announcement is a cleverly calculated move to sway political support in the government's favour.

Sir Michael is quoted as saying one of the main objectives of his government is to improve the delivery of essential services to all areas of the country.