Morauta says PNG Budget repair has to be first step

4:04 pm on 8 August 2017

A former Papua New Guinea prime minister, Sir Mekere Morauta, who returned to parliament in last month's election, says it is good to hear the new government has finally admitted the economy is in difficulty.

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Photo: linkedin

The caretaker treasurer, Charles Abel, said the focus of the government in its first 100 days in office would be on "economic recovery".

But Sir Mekere said before launching recovery measures, Mr Abel needed to repair the budget, and curb the extravagant, uncontrolled spending and borrowing of prime minister Peter O'Neill.

Sir Mekere said the debt disclosed by Treasury did not include the borrowings of state-owned enterprises from the Chinese Exim Bank and the Bank South Pacific.

He said it also failed to include unpaid superannuation contributions and bills for goods services as well as the government's loan to buy shares in Oil Search.

Sir Mekere said he was pleased Mr Abel was planning a supplementary budget, but warned that indiscriminate cuts would deepen PNG's recession.

The new government could not afford to borrow more or increase taxes, according to Sir Makere, who said what money the government had needed to be used to protect basic services while repaying debts on time and in full.

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