21 Oct 2004

PNG Minister rejects reports that MPs slush funds will be increased

3:00 pm on 21 October 2004

Papua New Guinea's National Planning Minister, Sir Moi Avei, says he is not aware of any planned increase in District Support Grants.

Earlier this week, reports from PNG said the prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, had announced that the 2005 budget would include an increase in MPs' provincial and district support grants, often referred to as MPs slush funds.

The government slashed those funds when it came to power midway through 2002.

Sir Moi Avei, whose portfolio includes responsibility for setting district support grants, says he knows nothing of any increase and suggested that the Prime Minister did not announce any increase or was "misunderstood".

He says he thinks Sir Michael may have been referring to money for the district road improvement programme.

Sir Moi says district support grants will remain at their present levels.