Tag Archives: Charles Abel

Govt committed to paying Hides LOs

Source: Loop PNG

09/12/2017

The Government is committed to paying the K35 million it promised last year to Hides landowners in Hela Province.

 

Acting Prime Minister Charles Abel however says various court cases have stopped the Government from doing so.

 

Abel said it’s a very complex issue and would like some of the court issues settled quickly so that the money is released.

 

He said numerous court issues have stalled clan vetting, which once completed, will finally see all landowners being paid their royalties.

 

“We’re committed to pay that money. We were ready to pay.  It’s the issues amongst the landowners,” he said.

 

“But hopefully we can get some clarity as soon as possible from our court system so we’re able to pay our Kikori landowners, progress the clan vetting up at Hides and even the pay out of the K35 million.”

 

Recently, Hides landowners shut access to the Hides Gas Conditioning Plant, calling on the Government to immediately settle the K35 million it committed in 2016.

 

The move forced ExxonMobil to withdraw non-essential staff from the Plant while maintaining key personnel at the site.

 

Author: Cedric Patjole

Don’t Be Fooled

 

Deputy PM and Treasurer defends Budget 2018 as ‘not FAKE’

BY GORETHY KENNETH

Treasury Minister Charles Abel has defended the 2018 Budget, saying it is not a “fake” but one that includes visions for the people despite challenges in efforts to stimulate the economy.

Mr Abel also defended the “cost of living to rise” revenue measures which were done to protect the interest of local industries and support PNG-owned manufacturers.

The irate Deputy Prime Minister Abel said yesterday there were many good things about the budget that was passed 95-0 unanimously this week, singling out that the reports in this week’s two front page Post-Courier reports negatively portrayed the budget.

 

“Post-Courier has ignored the hard work that we did in the 2018 Budget, and instead chosen to go with the nonsense and comments made by the Opposition. Where’s the balance? This is a very significant budget,” Mr Abel said.

 

“The budget was passed unanimously this week, and on voices, and the newspaper has printed nothing positive about the budget – two important supporting legislation passed 95-0, but this was ignored,” he said.

 

“So you need to understand the reforms that we are doing so that you can understand all these – for example – why we have a big foreign exchange issue when we have a huge current account surplus.

 

“Foreign exchange surplus means on the books what we export is much more than what we are importing.

 

“We export billions and billions of US dollars worth of raw materials from our logs and gas, which are our two major, but why do we have on the financial account, they don’t match, and in other words the financial flows that make the good flows – so physical flows, the value is much higher than what we import. That surplus doesn’t reflect in our foreign exchange balance, so we need to examine all these structural issues in our economy that means we put onto the short term.

 

“And we are also working on some other long-term issues, replacing some of the imports on our food and fuel, and we see some of the tariff changes that we have done but again – Post-Courier only chooses the negative side of it.

 

“These are relatively small changes, we can make our own soap, we can make our own shampoo, we make our own new products, our own coconut oil, simple things like that, we import oil, when we manufacture them, many of us import canned tuna when we have our own canned tuna. We just have to support our own industries so the value remains within giving jobs to our Papua New Guineans. Otherwise, how we going to move our economy that, when we send our tuna overseas, and send our oil palm overseas, and coconut overseas and we import coconut oil for goodness sake, we import soap, you know we don’t have to import these things, we can make them here in Papua New Guinea.

 

“But we need to slowly support the industries to encourage them to develop our economy. Some of these overseas people have a very cost-effective economy. We are slowly moving that way, but if we don’t encourage our industry with a bit of help, we will never get there, so look at the budget in the totality of all these reforms that I am bringing, so you can see the picture.

 

“Don’t jump straight to what the Opposition say, a fake budget – this is not a fake budget. I worked so hard to make those figures. The bill that was passed yesterday, Revenue Regulation Bill, allowing finance to skip all bank accounts, is very, very important. That is why the money is going to spike up and it’s outside of the budget.

 

“It’s not an easy task, I can tell you, when cash flow is tight, so that’s why we are focusing on revenue,” he said.

Source: Post-Courier Online.

Crackdown on public service

Source: Loop PNG

The Government is determined to boost public service efficiency.

 

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Charles Abel says it is about investing in the right areas of the public service such as teachers, nurses and police.

 

“We want to support those and we want to trim down central agencies of government to make us more efficient,” he states.

 

“Those people who are in the public service need to have contracts and conditions, time management and NID cards, so that they turn up to work as a real human being and they get paid, they are clocking in and they are earning their pay and they are producing results,” says Abel.

 

The DPM wants the head of agencies to be held accountable for the management of their staff as well as themselves.

 

“If you breach appropriate provisions around wages or you don’t produce your reports on time to parliament without it being audited, you should be held accountable. It’s that manager that will drive the rest of them.”

 

Abel says there will be more emphasis on contracts for managers following a performance based system that is already in place, brought in by the last public service minister.

 

“When your contract gets reviewed, you will be thoroughly assessed for you performance.

 

“But I think we have to make it specific if your financial reports are not up-to-date and are not on time and you don’t have a valid excuse, it should be grounds for suspension and removal.

 

“It’s all about accountability and establishing standards and enforcing them.”

(Loop file pic)

Author: Meredith Kuusa

Transport Funding Up By 2.1 %

 

BY MIRIAM ZARRIGA

Source: Post-Courier

The transport sector will receive K937 million, which is 2.1 per cent higher than the 2017 Supplementary Budget, and makes up 6.4 per cent of the 2018 Budget.

 

This consists of K642 million in capital and K294 million in operational expenditure.

 

The transport sector has always been the top priority spending of the Government’s capital budget.

 

As a critical enabler that provides access to markets and other essential services to the people, the sector gets the second largest funding allocation after provincial sectors because of the SIP funding.

 

According to National Planning Minister Richard Maru in the presentation of the Public Investment Program yesterday, the transport sector big ticket item in 2018 include the Jackson Airport runway upgrade for K50 million in preparation for APEC Leaders’ Summit in Port Moresby.

 

“The Government will spend K370 million to invest in critical roads, bridges programs, key missing link roads, and airports while loans and grants pick up over K340 million to complement the investment in the sector.”

 

Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel said in his Budget speech that the programs and projects implemented this year would continue next year.

 

“These transport programs include the continuous investment on upgrading and maintenance of the national priority roads, plus construction of missing links, district commodity roads, and the Civil Aviation investment development program.

 

“In the medium term, roads, bridges, ports and airports/airstrips will be targeted towards the untapped economic potential areas to stimulate economic growth.”

 

The ADB-funded Highlands Highway rehabilitation program starts next year, rural jetties gets K20 million, oil palm roads K15 million, the rural airstrips authority gets K6 million, Mr Abel said.

 

Post-Courier.com.pg – 30.11.2017

K14 Billion For 2018

 

This Government will mobilise necessary resources within the tight fiscal envelope to provide growth conditions to set the pace for future growth and development.

The 2018 Capital investment Budget consolidate key interventions that will encourage business activities, generate employment, increase both export and tax revenues, replace import, and broaden and diversify our economic base strengthening renewable sectors and manufacturing.

A total deficit figure of K1987.2 million has also been factored in, which will be financed through external sources comprising K1613.4 million and K375.8 million from domestic sources.

The financing requirement for 2018 will result in total government debt reaching K25,807.6 million by the end of 2018, equivalent to 32.2 percent of GDP.

There are no new surprises in the 2018 Budget as the government introduces taxation measures aimed at improving revenue collection through greater compliance, broadening the tax base more equitably and efficiently and making tax administration simpler and more effective.

Mr Abel, in handing the 2018 Budget in Parliament, themed “Review our priorities, refocus our energies and reinforce our strengths”, said the government will maintain key priority expenditures in education, health, infrastructure, law and order, agriculture, tourism and small and medium enterprises.

The government has restored the DSIP, PSIP and WSIP in 2018 with K10 million to each district totalling K880 million and provinces to receive K10 million each totalling K220 million and ward SIPs get K64.4 million.

It has also allocated K300 million for administrative and logistics preparation for the APEC meeting next year.

The budget for the first time has given a big boost with the introduction of an economic stimulus package that will cost K665.9 million to grow the economy through agriculture, tourism and SMEs.

Mr Abel said the government is committed to delivering the Alotau Accord 2, as started in the 100-Day Plan, and the 2018 Budget is the second component that should spur economic growth, generate jobs, and empower people through meaningful engagement in economic activities to better themselves.

“The government will continue to invest in key national infrastructure programs in 2018, particularly the Highlands Highway, coastal jetties, the missing link road program, hydro and gas power generation stations and the international submarine cable project,” he said.

He said these are important transformational projects that will reduce costs in doing business, improve market access for rural farmers, and improve and lower cost of communications for businesses and consumers.

“The 2018 Budget will shift focus to generating jobs and business opportunities for our people in agriculture, tourism and SMEs. And it will provide the platform to showcase the best of PNG to the world at the upcoming APEC Summit,” Mr Abel said.

Abel Briefs World Bank and IMF on Next Moves to Advance PNG’s Submarine Internet Cable and Discussed Concessional Funding for Restructuring Debt

 

22 October 2017
Source: Office Of The Prime Minister

Engagement with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, that will stimulate positive economic development in the face of global challenges, has been advanced at meetings in Washington D.C. by the Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Hon. Charles Abel MP.

 

Deputy Prime Minister Abel said the new submarine fibre optic communications cable project, that will deliver cheaper and faster Internet, and the provision of concessional financing for the restructuring of existing debt, will deliver positive economy stimulus for the economy.

 

“Papua New Guinea has a close working relationship with the World Bank and IMF, and the benefits of this engagement will become even more obvious to our people with the delivery of cheaper and faster Internet.

 

“Working with the World Bank, and also our partners in Australia, the new submarine communications cable will deliver greater Internet access for Papua New Guineans.

 

“The new communications cable will make the Internet we received on our computers and smart phones much faster, and with the increased supply we will see Internet data prices fall.

 

“Increased access to the Internet is essential if we are to advance Papua New Guinea’s economy and improve service delivery.

 

“The submarine cable has been the subject of much discussion in recent years, and now we are moving ahead so that it will be in place ahead of the APEC Summit.

 

“The time given to our country by the World Bank and IMF executive for meetings in Washington was tremendous.

 

“I took the opportunity to remind them of the particular circumstances of Papua New Guinea and the Pacific small island states.

 

“I said PNG has globally significant natural assets to build a new, responsible, sustainable economy that brings inclusive development to its people but also can support climate change mitigation globally.

 

“We are confronted with our immediate development challenges and are also on the frontline of the effects of climate change.”

 

The Deputy Prime Minister said discussions with the World Bank on restructuring existing debt with concessional funding will further simplify debt that has been established over recent decades, and reduce servicing costs.

 

“Papua New Guinea has never defaulted on a debt payment, and this is respected by global institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

 

“We are in talks with the World Bank and IMF so that we can bring together a number of scattered debts and consolidate these under a single debt facility at a much more favourable interest rate.

 

“Debt consolidation will save public funds and retire outstanding loans quicker than had previously been possible.”

 

Deputy Prime Minister Abel was accompanied by Treasury Secretary, Dairi Vele, and the Governor for the Bank of Papua New Guinea, Loi Bakani.

 

As well as the main Plenary Sessions of the World Bank Meeting, the DPM participated on 3 panels, including a panel with the World Bank CEO, and the Finance Ministers for Indonesia and Serbia, on Asia and the Growing Middle Class and Inclusive Development.

 

The DPM also had 15 meetings including separate meetings with CEO of the World Bank, Kristalina Gregorieva, Asia Pacific Director, Victoria Kwakwa, and Australian Treasurer, Scott Morrison.

Review into rental market

Source: Loop PNG

By: Cedric Patjole

 

The Independent Consumer & Competition Commission (ICCC) will carry out a comprehensive review of the rental market in the country.

 

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Charles Abel, said he has tasked the commission to carry out the review in a bid to fully understand the factors causing high rental costs.

 

Abel said while the government’s initiative to make housing more affordable though is First Home Ownership Scheme is still ongoing, there are still many who rely on rental accommodation.

 

Accompanied by his Vice Minister for Treasury, Win Daki, Abel visited the ICCC yesterday as part of a routine stopover at various government institutions.

 

During their visit, the Deputy Prime Minister, announced the inclusion of the rental markets review, among existing reviews the commission is undertaking.

 

Abel said the rental market may need intervention, however, that will be decided once the review is completed and presented to the government.

 

“Many of us rely on rental to put a roof over our heads and our families. And in a general sense we want to allow free market activity. But I think in selected areas maybe for interim arrangement we can come up with Government intervention.

 

“So in the first instance we have to have the correct facts and figures, and the ICCC I’ve asked the Commissioner to look at the rental markets starting in Port Moresby, and is it reasonable? Is the private sector imposing upon us and the citizens within the housing market rates that are at a fair profit margin? Or are they unfairly imposing rental costs on our citizens which transfer value unfairly to elements of the private sector,” he said.

 

Through his visit Abel also wanted to know about the status of the commission.

 

He also announced that his Vice Minister would directly be responsible for the affairs of the ICCC.

 

ICCC Commissioner and CEO, Paulus Ain, said once they receive the Terms of Reference from the Government they will begin the review.

 

The review will begin in Port Moresby.

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