Political Motive behind Pruaitch Statement
**** Statement distributed for Hon. James Marape, MP, Minister for Finance, Member for Tari-Pori Open ****
“The Hon Patrick Pruaitch must take responsibility, as Treasurer and the chief economic minister of the O’Neill-Dion Government, who presided over the economy for the last few years, and he should not shy away for political convenience,” Minister for Finance, Hon James Marape said, in response to the National Alliance Parliamentary Leader’s public statement on the economy last Friday.
“The timing of his outburst cannot be more political than it is now as we confront 2017 national elections,” the Minister said.
“Whilst he is exercising his independence of mind, it now affirms in our mind as to how the country’s treasurer remains silent on matters of economic policies confronting our nation.
“We now know he had a political motive behind his lacklustre performance as Treasurer.
“The O’Neill-Dion Government is a consultative government and he was placed in the highest echelons to offer alternatives.
“If he ever had any alternatives, he chooses to remain passive, only to come out on the eve of the election with this huge campaign statement.
“The National Alliance Party can retrospectively try to claim resuscitating our economy in 2002 to 2007, and the massive gains of surplus in 2008 to 2010 exacerbated by the extraordinary prices of commodity in that corresponding period.
“But least we forget under that period a massive K8 Billion budget surplus was squandered in a centralized government manner when he equally presided as the Treasurer then.
“The question remains what infrastructural asset, what national legacy did he leave behind?
“History is littered with surplus budgets with no tangible development for our country.
“Years on, when he was recalled to Treasury, it baffles my mind that he has the audacity to attack his own work, an admittance that he was wasting our national time in that office.
“We took office in 2012, with deteriorating national infrastructure, and no new infrastructure to host the Pacific Games in 2015 – that the NA government had secured in 2006.
“We also brought to Government our national commitments like free education and free basic health.
“Our record on infrastructure and the delivery of key policies have been successfully delivered amidst the challenges of the global economy that was shocked with the commodity price fallout in 2014, and with contractions is most economic markets.
“We were beset by many other global economic challenges and phenomenon’s like drought related to the shut-down of Ok Tedi.
“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.
“No wonder we had a dysfunctional Treasury that is testament to weak and lacklustre leadership over that key ministry since 2013.
“The O’Neill-Dion Government has achieved much under a stressful global economy but such is the nature of politics.
“We will tell our story to the nation, including the positive growth we have had in 2013, 2014, and 2015 that the Treasurer himself admitted we had in his speech.
Hon. James Marape, MP
Minister for Finance