The 2013 National Budget was handed down in Parliament earlier today by the Treasurer and Kandep MP, Mr Don Polye.
|Treasurer Don Polye addressing the Budget Lockup|
The National Budget, integrating both the development and recurrent budgets, was framed within the theme of “Growing the Future” and stands at a massive K13.040 billion.
Mr Polye addressed the traditional budget lockup prior to this afternoon’s Parliament session, and said that the 2013 national budget was intended to shift the national focus from Waigani to Papua New Guinea’s rural areas, predominantly the district and LLG levels.
He described the budget as being aimed at “empowering Papua New Guinean men and women in the rural areas” and ensuring they are part of inclusive and sustainable development initiatives.
Mr Polye further added that the O’Neill/Dion government remained focused on maintaining fiscal responsibility, and in driving a budget consistent with development initiatives contained within national development plans such as the MTDP and Vision 2050.
He reported that the 2013 Budget would include a K2.54 billion deficit, which is about 7.2 percent of the current national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) level of K33 billion, stating that the country should expect to have deficit budgets up to 2016.
The Treasurer said that the national government is hopeful that a modest surplus budget will be presented by 2017. He attributed the negatively inclined budgets to an anticipated end to the construction stage of the PNG LNG project, as well as a global economy expected to steadily improve in the next two years.
Mr Polye maintained that less than 60 percent of the development budget in previous years had actually reached rural levels of the country, with the 2013 national budget aimed at correcting such skewed outcomes.
He stressed that the government’s focus will be on developing “multi-year” budgets as opposed to “one year” budgets, which would be aligned properly to development plans and through improved MTDP enablers such as health, education and infrastructure.