Finance Minister defends PNG govt's economic management

5:34 am on 4 April 2017

Papua New Guinea's Finance Minister James Marape has defended the People's National Congress-led government's economic management.

The Papua New Guinea government has tabled a $US6.6 billion Budget.

The Papua New Guinea government has tabled a $US6.6 billion Budget. Photo: RNZI/Johnny Blades

This follows a scathing attack on prime minister Peter O'Neill's handling of the economy from the Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch after releasing the Final Budget Outcome 2016 report last Friday.

Mr Pruaitch said the economy had "fallen off a cliff" with total government debt at US$6.6 billion, which he partly blamed on PNG borrowing beyond its means and spending on extravagant projects built at highly inflated costs.

However, in a statement, Mr Marape defended the government's record of developing infrastructure and free education and health policies.

"We were beset by many other global economic challenges and phenomenon's like drought related to the shut-down of Ok Tedi," he said.

"We embarked upon a five-year money plan that had deficit as part of the way forward. The Treasurer we had in this term knew of this money plan that would bring the budget back to balance around this time."

James Marape has characterised Mr Pruaitch's claims as a political ploy on the eve of general elections.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs