3 Dec 2012

Lack of robust debate about PNG's budget worries former Deputy PM

4:53 am on 3 December 2012

Papua New Guinea's former Deputy Prime Minister says the lack of opportunity afforded in parliament to debating the national budget reflects how the role of the country's opposition is undermined.

Sam Abal, whose petition challenging his recent election defeat in Wabag is currently in the courts, says PNG's opposition has been weakened for some years due to a lack of funding and resources.

Currently the O'Neill led government has there support of around 90 percent of the 111 MPs in parliament.

Some opposition members claimed that the government denied them the chance to fully prepare to respond to the budget.

Mr Abal says this is a concern given the unprecedented budget deficit of 2-point-6 billion kina.

"It's worrying because you've got to set down the whole infractrusture, the capacity issues need to be answered before you in for large expenditure. That can spell disaster for us economically. So someone in parliament should be raising some questions about the pitfalls and all those types of things."

Sam Abal.