12 Nov 2016

PNG Treasurer defends non-cash component of budget

11:39 am on 12 November 2016

Papua New Guinea's Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch says the opposition has misunderstood the budget appropriations bill.

The opposition was seeking a court interpretation of what it claims are inconsistencies in the figures in the 2017 budget papers and the appropriation bill.

The opposition had zeroed in on $US 2.6 billion it said was not figured into the initial budget presentation.

Mr Pruaitch however said this was a short term public sector debt that needed to be rolled over in 2017.

He said in accounting terms it's called the "non-cash component" and includes almost $US600 million in new debt to be funded in the budget deficit next year.

"The data is collated on the basis of international accounting standards for government's reporting set by the IMF. So as far as I'm concerned, on the part of government, the budget is framed consistent with worldwide accounting practice," he said.

"The budget has been framed according to standard world-wide accounting practice," according to Mr Pruaitch.

He said he thinks the opposition's claims are more political than any substantive matter.

"We are approaching the end of the term of parliament. And it is mischievous on their part. If they care to read the budget explanatory notes, they should be able to understand," he said.