Category Archives: Budget

PM announces reform of overspending dept

August 18, 2017
                         Main Stories

By Gynnie Kero

 
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has announced a reform for the public service, saying the sector continues to overspend by more than K300 million a year.

 
Addressing the business community in Port Moresby yesterday, O’Neill said: “We are going to have a large reform in the public service structure. Public Service continues to overspend over K300 million a year on maintaining a public service structure in our country.

 
“This sort of expenditure is unsustainable for Papua New Guinea.
“That is why a large reform package will be set up where it will mean we will streamline some of the departments so that they can perform better with other departments that

 

 

are related and, we will want them to be bit more efficient, quality-driven. That would mean we may have to retrench some of our people into sectors where they are needed most.

 
“We are open to consultation during the reforms.
“Business and government need to work together for better outcomes.

 
“Our government is proud to have the mandate to continue driving positive change.
“We are grateful for the support given by our people to continue our core policy agenda.
“We are also grateful for the support of the business community for our government.
“We will again be a business-friendly government and consult with all stakeholders.”

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Special Committee Needed to Tackle Taxation Issue

By: Freddy Mou

Northern Governor Gary Juffa has called on the Government to set up a special parliamentary committee to address the taxation issue in the country.

 

He said the current tax regime is very hostile to Papua New Guineans and genuine investors with PNG’s tax rates currently the highest in the Pacific.

 

Juffa claimed that a significant portion of illegal and semi illegal businesses are earning profits, especially in the forestry and fisheries sectors as well as property and other poorly regulated businesses. 

 

He added that such illegal entities are avoiding taxes and getting away with it, leaving the shortfall to be met by genuine investors like PNG SMEs and PNG wage earners.

 

“These non-genuine transnational criminal type entities were engaged in elaborate tax avoidance schemes such as transfer pricing and undervaluation, avoiding taxes and getting away with serious tax crimes while those who fronted up to pay their taxes were being penalised and punished.”

 

Juffa further reiterated that the Government needed to take drastic measures, including setting up a special parliamentary committee comprising MPs from both sides of the House who have the experience and knowledge of such matters.

 

He added that this will effectively address the issue of declining State revenue mainly through leakage and ineffective taxation administration.

 

Meanwhile, Juffa said some mines were among those who barely paid their full portion of taxes and a few foreign wage earners were earning an income in PNG illegally while on business and tourist visas.

 

Source: Loop PNG, 17th August 2017.

We’ll Pick The Best: Marum

August 17, 2017

The National Sports

Article Views: 146

By ISAAC LIRI
PAPUA New Guinea Kumuls coach Michael Marum says he will consider all top level rugby league players in the Australian National Rugby League, the English Super League and the Q-Cup for spots in his World Cup squad.

 
With Port Moresby to host three World Cup matches for the first time against Wales (Oct 28), Ireland (Nov 5) and USA (Nov 12), several high profile players have already declared their availability for PNG.

 
Marum said he had no problem having NRL experienced players such as Cronulla Sharks hooker Segeyaro and Souths Sydney Rabbitohs back Alex Johnston in the Kumuls after the pair came out in the Australian media this month offering to play for PNG.
North Queensland Cowboys hooker/half Ray Thompson, who is set to retire at the end of the year has also put his hand up for a World Cup spot.

 
“Segeyaro and Johnston are both NRL experienced players. There are both playing in a level higher than the Hunters players and we all know that getting to that level is not easy,” Marum said.

 
“If there are both available for selection, their inclusion would boost our performance at the World Cup.
“Playing at home doesn’t mean that we will have it easy against Wales, Ireland and the USA because they will bring quality sides with some NRL talent.

 
“So whoever is fit and available and is playing well at the top level competitions, we will consider them, because we want the best for the country,” Marum said.
Nene Macdonald (St George Illawarra Dragons) and Kato Ottio (Canberra Raiders) are expected to be considered if fit and healthy.

 
Rod Griffin and Rhyse Martin (Canterbury Bulldogs) who played for PNG in the Pacific test against the Cook Islands earlier this year are also in the running.
Marum said the selectors would also consider players Europe with England-based Mark Mexico, Garry Lo, Jason Tali, Paul Aiton and Jessie Joe Nandye to come under consideration.

 
Other players in the Q-Cup outside of the Hunters are the Pandia brothers Richard and Sebastian (Ipswich Jets) who have already represented PNG, incumbent Kumuls prop Luke Page (Burleigh Bears), Tommy Butterfield (Easts Tigers).

 
The latest player to be eligible to play for PNG is Cowboys squad member and Townsville Blackhawks five-eighth Kyle Laybutt.

 
Kumul selectors have already begun their task monitoring players to finalise a train-on squad that will be used for selection.
“With 73 days to go before the World Cup we are on track with our preparations making sure all the small things are sorted out for the World Cup, the PM’s 13 and the Tri-Series in Fiji,” Marum added

 
Meanwhile Marum said the PM’s 13 team for this year in Sept 23 might draw in players from the Digicel Cup to take up spots due to the Hunters focus on the Q-Cup finals.

 

Tertiary Students to borrow money [Interest-Free ] Themselves to Pay their School Fees

A tertiary education assistance fund will be established to support students whose parents are unable to pay for their tuition fees.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said his People’s National Congress Party will push for the funds establishment if it forms government in September.

He said the fund will be built on the Free Education Policy the Government has funded in the last 6 years.

“Also, we want to expand the program up to the tertiary education, we cannot only educate our kids up to year 12 and allow them to run around and do their own thing, which is what our system has been doing in the last 40 plus years,” O’Neill said on FM 100 Talk Back show on Thursday.

“So what we have to do is expand on it, and we have our team to look at some of the examples around the world, and we have come up with a new issue of establishing a ‘Government Endeavour Fund’.”

O’Neill side the fund will be independently managed and will be self-financing.

“If parents are unable to afford to send their kids to universities or technical colleges, their children can borrow the money themselves and will be interest free, and most flexible repayment term when they start working and earning income over their life time,” PM said.

“This means that they repay the original amount of money back to the fund and the fund will be able to educate future kids because the funds money are not been depleted.”

Loop PNG Charles Yapumi May 26, 2017 at 12.12 pm

 

DSIP Stopped

Ombudsman Commission freezes all DSIP accounts to prevent funds being used in bribery or inducements during the election period as nominations officially open

BY GORETHY KENNETH

LEADERSHIP watchdog Ombudsman Commission has issued directions to stop the release of all development funds in provinces and districts as writs for the National Election are issued.

It takes effect immediately to prevent bribery and inducements during the election period up to the end of September, Chief Ombudsman Michael Dick and Ombudsman Richard Pagen said yesterday.

It will be lifted when the new government is formed, according to the Ombudsman Commission.

The announcement comes hours after Governor-General Bob Dadae signed instruments at Government House to declare nominations open for the 2017 National Election.

It is directed at provincial governors, members of Open electorates and state institutions and persons who handle development funds for districts and provinces.

The Bank of PNG Governor and all heads of commercial banks have also been notified.

Mr Dick and Mr Pagen warned that persons who do not comply with this direction will be guilty of misconduct in office and be liable to prosecution before a leadership tribunal.

“The Ombudsman Commission was also mindful of election-related laws under the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections, especially section 208 relating to bribery and inducements during the campaign period,” Mr Dick said.

The Ombudsman Commission has formed a working committee comprising Department of Rural Development and Implementation and the Department of Finance that will work with it to ensure that requests are cleared after due compliance with the applicable laws, guidelines and financial instructions.

Mr Dick said the ongoing projects would continue and that the remaining district and provincial services improvement programs funds, if released, should be parked in the right trust account and not elsewhere but would be strictly monitored.

“It has been an ongoing public concern that the period up to and inclusive of the national election to the parliament serious concerns arise regarding the release; disbursement, transfer and receipt of public money purporting to be in the form of electoral (services improvement program) and constitutional grants (district and provincial support grants) funds and various development funds under Provincial Support Grants and District Support Grants,” he said.

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“The Ombudsman Commission is concerned that the distribution of substantial public funds to the district treasuries and the provincial treasuries in such a time when the 2017 national election is commencing, there is insufficient time for the funds to be properly applied to development purposes as intended and therefore, these substantial public funds may be misapplied or misused contrary to law and the relevant guidelines.

“Under the directions, the concerned funds will not be released unless clearance has been sought from the Ombudsman Commission for the release, disbursement, transfer and/or receipt or the payment of such public monies, cheques or warrants,” he said.

The Ombudsman is concerned that some districts may have transferred funds from development accounts to operating accounts to avoid this direction, Mr Dick said, adding that this was contrary to the operating laws and guidelines, and those provinces and/or districts in this situation should immediately transfer funds back to the development accounts.

“Whatever clearance the Ombudsman Commission gives for the use of the funds to a sitting member of parliament, should in no way be construed as indemnifying him or her from observing election laws and any precedent National or Supreme Court Decisions,” he said.

http://postcourier.com.pg/dsip-stopped/

Marape: K75m TFF to be released today

BY LYNETTE KIL

FINANCE Minister James Marape is adamant that the first quarter payment of K75 million from the Tuition Fee Free fund will be paid directly to schools account by the end of this week.

He gave the undertaking yesterday following reports that Government and agency schools had not received the first quarter payments as schools nationwide started on Monday.

school-students-pom

 

“The TFF fund is being worked on and by the end of this week, first batch of K75 million would be dispatched to all school accounts. “Mr. Marape said.

Education Secretary Uke Kombra early this week said the Finance Department had not released the TFF funds.

“Treasury will release the TFF funds soon in two allotments, and through scheduled phases, to the Bank of PNG where the funds will further be disbursed to commercial banks where respective schools maintain their accounts,” Dr Kombra said.

He said TFF has been “faithfully funded” in the past four years and was captured in the 2017 Budget priorities with the allocation of K602 million.

“The tuition free fee covers the annual unit-cost of the total cost operations of a school in a year,” Dr Kombra said.

He added that the operation cost is done by the education board based on an average unit cost.

“In other words, the education board sets fee limits of respective schools for the distribution of TFF funds.

Dr Kombra has urged parents to submit the names of the schools who are charging fees to parents for inspectors to investigate the school.

“We have made it clear in the media that schools should not be charging fees to parents.”

 

http://www.postcourier.com.pg/Stories/marape-k75m-tff-to-be-released-today/#.WJO7oFN96Ul

Non-timely release of IMF raises concern: Barker

IMF Report

The non-timely release of the International Monetary Fund Article IV Report is almost unprecedented around the world and certainly in the Asia/Pacific to withhold from public viewing.

It also raises a lot of concern and suggests that the IMF has provided figures and commentary which express concern over the state of the economy and presumably over management aspects affecting the balance of payment says an economist.

Director of the Institute of National Affairs (INA) Paul Barker was responding to the explanation by Bank of PNG Governor Loi Bakani and the continued delay of the release of the report.

capture

                                                                                                                                                                                           Picture from Business PNG- EMTV

This is despite the assurance by the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill last week at the PNG Media Council’s inaugural luncheon that the report would be released by relevant authorities.

“Last week the PM said he had no issues with the report and that he would ask the central bank to endorse its release.

The bank has now produced this unheralded condemnation of aspects of the Article IV Report and stated that it will consider authorising its release, but only basically after it (IMF) uses figures that concur with those of the Central Bank.

“It’s almost unprecedented around the world and certainly in the Asia/Pacific region to seek to withhold the IMF report from public viewing and therefore also the market.

“It would be better to have the report released and reduce negative speculation. “BPNG has highlighted the areas of its key concerns so has in effect revealed some of the content of the IMF report.

“It is odd that some of the issues apparently raised were also contained in the 2015 Report which was released,” Mr Barker said.

The economist says the issues that may have been raised thus resulting in the non-release, notably may be the use of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and debt figures, while also the management of the exchange rate and foreign exchange.

Nonetheless he said the private sector is well aware of the issues and particularly the impact. “They realise the kina value was raised by some 17 per cent in 2013 with a negative impact on agricultural producers and the tourism sector.

All busineses are aware also aware of the impact of the foreign exchange squeeze on their operations. “Imports were reduced dramatically by the restrain on import figures as the measure of months of foreign exchange reserve held,” he said.

The economists argues figures had been revised adding that if they had been then the bank and the National Statistics office may need to explain and defend the basis of the new data provided, not just to IMF but the wider community.

Treasury Secretary Dairi Vele said yesterday that he would be releasing a statement explaining the issues on the IMF  report.

 

http://www.postcourier.com.pg/Stories/non-timely-release-of-imf-raises-concern-barker/#.WJAvPFN96Ul

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