5 Sep 2007

PNG prime minister confirms intention to increase size of Cabinet

10:20 am on 5 September 2007

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, is going ahead with his plans to increase the size of Cabinet to accommodate more of his huge coalition.

Sir Michael retained power in July's general election after 14 independents joined his National Alliance and he got the support of another 13 small parties.

It will increase the number of ministries to 34 and requires a constitutional amendment, but our correspondent, Alex Rheeney, says Sir Michael easily has the numbers to make such changes.

"The question is the matter of cost to the taxpayers in Papua New Guinea. The opposition has been raising concerns about it, saying that Papua New Guinea could not afford to have seven extra ministries created on top of the 27 that are currently in place."

Alex Rheeney says the Prime Minister plans to make the necessary amendment to the constitution in November.