Category Archives: Budget

State assures landlords all rentals will be paid

Source: The National

By LUKE KAMA 
ALL rentals for State agencies and statutory authorities will be paid before December, Finance Secretary Dr Ken Ngangan says.

 
He issued a statement yesterday after staff of a government ministry and a statutory authority were locked out of their office by the property owner because of  non-payment of rentals or lease by the Government amounting to several millions of kina.

 
Steamships, through its joint venture partner Kelton Investments, which is managing Pacific Rumana, locked out the staff of the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Climate Change and the staff and management of the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (Cepa) from their office at bmobile Building in Waigani this week.

 
Steamships general manager corporate affairs, David Toua told The National yesterday that numerous attempts to collect rental arrears totalling several million kinas from the State were unsuccessful and the only option they had was to lock the office.

 
“Cepa has indeed been locked out by the property manager, Kelton Investments, due to non-payment of significant rental arrears, a situation that has been agreed by both partners,” Toua said.
“Our numerous attempts to collect rental arrears that totalled several million kina and stretch back as far as a year ago have all been unsuccessful, and a lockout is the only avenue left to pursue, short of taking the matter to court.”

 
Toua said Steamships was aware that the action was not without precedent, noting a number of tenant lockouts from commercial properties in recent weeks.

 
“We would prefer not to take these drastic measures and still hope that an amicable settlement of outstanding rentals can be reached,” he
said.

 
“The recent provisions in the supplementary budget and comments by Finance Secretary Dr Ken Ngangan give us encouragement that this will be the case.”

 
Ngangan told The National yesterday that the Government had already allocated K50 million in the supplementary budget to cater for rentals and the Office of the Chief Secretary was working on the allocation to draw down the funds.

 
“We have seen Government offices been locked down by landlords due to arrears and the message we gave was that funding will be made available in the supplementary budget,” he said.

 
“The Government has already allocated K50 million for office rentals.
“Let me assure the property owners to be patient and allow our officers to use their office space.

 
“We will have these outstanding arrears settled before December.”

Advertisements

Govt to pay K1.8m debt to restart lands dept project

Source: The National

The Government, through its supplementary budget, will pay a K1.8 million outstanding debt to Australian software company TechnologyOne Ltd to resume the Land and Geographical Information System (Lagis) project.

Lands and Physical Planning Minster Justin Tkatchenko said Lagis was an important programme that had been delayed for more than four years due to outstanding bills.

 
He said parliament passed the supplementary budget last week in which the Lagis project was included.

 
“With that funding, it will free up the debt that has been created over the last four years and will now allow us to open up the land enhancement application programme (LEaP),” he said.

 
“This will start the process of ensuring that we have information ready to roll out as soon as possible and get that computer system up and running so we can register all our land documents, our land titles and all our surveys. Anything to do with our land titles will all be scanned, documented and put into the system.

 
“It will take till the end of the year to get the system running.

 
“I’m very appreciative of the foresight and the understanding of the Treasurer Charles Abel and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in putting in the K1.8 million to resolve a long outstanding issue.

 
“It’s called getting on with the job and getting things done.”

 
Tkatchenko said an annual fee of K1 million would be maintained in the Lands Department as recurrent budget every year.

 
He said the department would have to follow up and ensure that payment was made for the project to resume.

 
“Now that parliament has approved the supplementary budget, it’s for the Lands Department, with the State Solicitor’s clearance, to have the debt cleared and confirmed the correct amount and Treasury would pay.

 
“The funding is to maintain the system to provide the software and updates and the appropriate programmes and information, and to be on call to service the system.”

 
Tkatchenko said the original cost was about K3.2 million but they had negotiated to reduce it because the system had been off for the past four years.

 
“Once the system comes back on, a refresher course would be conducted for all staff involved in the project,” he said.

 
“It’s a big system which will take a lot of data, with the entry of lot of programmes that requires memory. That’s why the cost is high.

 
“That will ensure that the public has access to electronic copies of their titles and information. Everything will be cleared on electronic file.”

Govt to inject K310mil into forex market

Source: The National

THE Government plans to inject US$46 million (about K142.6 million) into the foreign exchange market to ease the shortage problem.

 
A statement from the Bank of Papua New Guinea and the International Revenue Commission yesterday said there would be a further US$54 mil (about K167.4 mil) released into the market later this week as part of the two-phase intervention by BPNG.

 
The statement said: “In regard to the US$100 million (K310 mil) intervention in the market, the bank has decided to implement the intervention in two phases.

 
“The first release of US$46 million  to be effected immediately for many small import orders.

 
“The remaining US$54 million will be effected for few large imports in the first week of October 2017.”

 
Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Charles Abel thanked BPNG and IRC for undertaking immediate measures as part of the Government’s 100-day economic recovery plan.

 
“The fundamental issue is the over-reliance on imports of processed goods for our needs and the lack of self-sufficiency in agricultural food production which will result in major import replacement,” Abel said.

 
“This is exacerbated by a tax system that is quite complex to administer affecting collection of tax revenue that is due to the State. The 100-day plan intends to begin the process to address these issues.”

 
A memorandum of understanding will be signed this month to allow Puma’s purchase of crude oil from Oil Search to be in kina.

 
BPNG met with Oil Search and Puma Energy to implement the agreement reached between Abel and both parties to sell to Puma Energy domestically-produced crude oil which will be finalised and a memorandum signed.

 
The arrangement will accommodate 50 per cent of Puma’s crude imports.

 
BPNG is also in the process of reviewing offshore foreign currency accounts to assess if those accounts holders have to remit some of the balances to their inshore accounts.

 
The Government is also understood to be in talks with the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank for a further loan facility which is expected to be finalised this month.

Govt To Continue Focus On Education

Teach Your Child Positively At Home Before Sending Them To School, For First Learning Takes Place At Home. 

 

 

BY LYNETTE KIL of Post-Courier

As long as there is a government under the leadership of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill it will continue to give priority to education. 

 
Education Minister Nick Kuman made this remark during the launching of the tuition fee free policy component of teaching and learning materials at the Port Moresby National High school on Friday.

 
“A lot of critics have negative thoughts on free education most considered as a “political gimmick” but the government has proved them wrong.

 
“Government policy as far as health and education is concerned, will continue to see an investment every year, and that education will feature prominently in the budget,” Mr Kuman said.

 
He urged parents and stakeholders to participate in sharing the government responsibility in enhancing the education of young people.

 
“I call upon the parents, you must not take a step backward and expect government to shoulder all the responsibility, there are a lot more things that you as a parent can do to enhance the education of our children.

 
“In terms of content teacher training, I have been challenging the teachers trainer providers, both Teachers colleges and University of Goroka to ensure that the teachers trained in the institutions must be content oriented,” Mr Kuman said.

 
He acknowledgded the government’s commitment for the last five years, this saw a growth in the number of students and also increased number in female enrollment, which is the government’s achievement in seeing girls getting educated.

 
Mr Kuman warned schools and the teachers that the materials are not for sale and must be given to all children. He said 300 containers containing teaching and learning materials, component of the TFF for the 22 provinces is at the Port Moresby wharf.

PM Applauds Abel For Handing Down First Money Plan

 

Source: Post-Courier

 

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has commended his deputy and Treasurer Charles Abel for successfully handing down the 2017 Supplementary Budget in Parliament yesterday.

 
“I commend the Treasurer as this is his first budget/money plan. There are now some renewed sense of energy in Treasury and of course as a result of that you can see some real drive into outstanding issues like over expenditure by public servants. The Treasurer is definitely getting things back on track.”

 
Mr O’Neill said that development is taking place across the country in the areas of infrastructure, health and education. “This is only the beginning and we will make sure we deliver before this term expires,” he said.

 
“You see, when we came into office in 2012, we built major infrastructure that you see now,” he said.

 
“If we did not build these infrastructure, the recession will be far worse than today.”
Mr O’Neill said the National Alliance-led government was in control for 15 years and they handed out about seven supplementary budgets when they had surplus, but never built any infrastructure.

 
“To date, they still can’t name an infrastructure they built, and they left no money in the Trust Account,” he said. “Treasury is the engine room, the heart that controls the body, and you should be very careful.

 
“It is a fact, that we are all responsible to correct the position when they are course blow outs, to correct it so we set new targets and that is 2.5 per cent of GDP,” Mr O’Neill said.

Govt Looks Into Uni Funding Issues

 

BY NELLIE SETEPANO of The Post – Courier 

The University of Goroka’s financial crisis is being looked into by the government.

Minister for Treasury, Charles Abel, said last weekend that he has instructed treasury secretary, Dairi Vele, to look into the university’s financial issue after the university governing council called on him last week to rescue the cash-strapped university.

The university needs K8 million for goods and services to complete the academic year after the institution’s food rations dwindled and staff expressed uncertainty about their future wages.

Mr Abel said he has not received any notification from higher learning institutions for rescue packages.

It is believed that the government’s higher learning institutions have not received the government’s sponsorship component – Tertiary Education Scholarship Assistance Scheme (TESAS).

Some institutions that had inquired at the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology about TESAS had been told there are no funds.

Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology secretary, professor Jan Czuba, could not be contacted for comment.

Kumul Holdings to account for sale of stake

By HELEN TARAWA of The National 

 
DEPUTY Prime Minister and Treasurer Charles Abel says Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited  will report on the net outcome of the government’s 10 per cent stake in Oil Search Limited that it has divested.

 
Abel told The National that KPHL was holding the debt and the shares.
The debt has been cleared and shares sold.

 
“The collar loan protected KPHL from some of the share price drops,” Abel said.
“They will calculate and report on the net outcome of the transaction.”

 
KPHL managing director Wapu Sonk said they were preparing for the PNG LNG project expansion, the Papua LNG, the power project and their own investments.

 
Responding to claims of the sale of shares as a rescue package for the government, Sonk said the government did not pay anything.

 
“This is not a rescue package because this was never on the government’s balance sheet,” Sonk said. “The government wasn’t paying anything. It was Kumul.

 
“We’re preparing for the PNG LNG project expansion, Papua LNG, the power project, our own investments going forward. So it’s got nothing to do with the PNG Government.”
KPHL on Friday announced that it had sold its shares in Oil Search Limited and had ceased to have any interest in the firm.

 
Sonk, who announced the decision in the presence of KPHL chairman Sir Moi Avei, said it would continue to be responsible for managing the State’s 16.77 per cent equity in the PNG LNG project.

 
“As a close partner of Oil Search in PNG, we look forward to continued cooperation on our numerous projects.”

 
Sonk explained that the UBS collar loan was not a normal loan.

 
The value of the parcel of shares on any day supports the loan itself which, in this case, was approximately 149 million shares.

 
A collar is a protective-options strategy that is implemented after a long position in a stock has experienced substantial gains.

 
Sir Moi said KPHL had made about K100 million (A$35 million) as a result of the transaction.

 
He said the current oil and LNG price environment and projected  long-term views indicated that oil prices would remain about the same for the next few years.

« Older Entries