19 Nov 2013

Emphasis on accountability in PNG national budget

10:14 pm on 19 November 2013

There's an emphasis on greater accountability in the use of public funds in Papua New Guinea's 2014 national budget.

The 15 billion kina, or 5.6 billion US dollar, budget was released in parliament today by the Treasurer Don Polye who says the government is setting foundations for PNG's future growth.

However the Treasurer has introduced legislation for amendment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act in order for the official debt ceiling to be broken.

While government revenue is set to increase to 4.5 billion US dollars, over 1 billion US dollars will be financed by debt.

The budget deficit will bring the debt to around 6% of GDP.

But in his delivery of the budget, Mr Polye indicated the government is determined to weed out systemic corruption in public office.

He told parliament that there will be a major review of the Financial services sector, and that there will be a crackdown on so-called ghost employees on the public service payroll.

Mr Polye also said the government will look to improve data collection with help from Australia's aid programme and the International Monetary Fund.

This budget has maintained last year's massive 1.5 billion kina direct allocation to provinces, districts and local level government.

However there is little official information available as to how these funds have been accounted for.

Meanwhile, the opposition leader Belden Namah moved a motion for debate on the 2014 budget to be adjourned.