14 Aug 2002

PNG's new Finance Minister promises big budget cuts

6:36 pm on 14 August 2002

Papua New Guinea's new finance minister, Bart Philemon, has warned of drastic budget cuts to cope with the country's financial woes.

Mr Philemon says a supplementary budget will be presented within weeks which he says will require a lot of sacrifices.

He says despite the previous government's tight fiscal policy, there was a budget blow out of more than 50 million US dollars in the first quarter of this year.

Mr Philemon says no new taxes will be introduced but the gap in the 2003 budget will have to be closed by finding 100 million US dollars externally.

The new finance minister also says priorities are the PNG to Queensland gas pipeline and the repair of the highlands highway which he says is the lifeline of Papua New Guinea.