Category Archives: Budget

The Govt’s 100 Day Plan Expires Tomorrow

BY GORETHY KENNETH  : Post Courier

 

The Government’s 100 days 25 Point Plan expires tomorrow (Tuesday) with most of the proposed projects proactively undertaken, Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel have said.

And in light of prevailing circumstances the 100 days 25 Point Plan was and is intended to demonstrate proactively and inspire confidence and kick-start the Alotau Accord II by undertaking specific activities around.

“Not so long ago I stood here and delivered the 2017 Supplementary Budget that was Point 1 in the 25 Point 100 Day Plan to kick-start the Alotau Accord ll of this coalition government.

“The 2018 Budget our first substantive annual budget, is Point 2 of the 100 Day Plan, and will be another illustration of our intention to deliver on our promise to maintain fiscal discipline, grow our revenues, strengthen our economic base, improve governance and act strategically,” Mr Abel said.

“Our Government has taken stock following the national elections through a consultative process of engagement with stakeholders from Government, the private sector, development partners and community-based organisations.

“This has been important in helping guide our interventions, and in the spirit of partnership we will continue this open engagement.”

“These activities obviously roll into Points 1 and 2 of the 25 Point Plan which are the 2017 Supplementary and 2018 Budgets.

“The intention in Points 1 and 2 was to maintain fiscal discipline in the light of the prevailing difficult circumstances in terms of our budget parameters of a 2.5% fiscal deficit and debt to GDP of 30% so as not to put more stress on government financing and the economy.

“A number of measures were undertaken to maintain this discipline but primarily as per Point 4, and thanks to the understanding of Honourable Members of this Parliament, the Service Improvement Program was reduced in 2017,” he said.

Here’s how the 25-Point Plan was carried out and is being implemented now:

Point 3 was related to payroll strengthening and the OSPEAC (Organisation Staffing and Personnel Emoluments Committee) has been reactivated and is progressing a payroll audit and cleansing exercise and the MD registration requirement as explained by the Minister for Public Service in Parliament. This is in response to the primary cost escalation factor of Government which is the unsustainable growth in personnel emoluments.

Point 5 was for:

  1. i) The drawdown of the balance of the Credit Suisse loan of which two technical requirements will have been met following this budget session enabling the final balance to be drawn.
  2. ii) To access World Bank and ADB budget support funding for the 2018 budget. This has been achieved following my trip to Washington where the World Bank provides US$100m for debt restructuring in 2018 and another $100m in both 2019 and 2020. The A08 is also providing budget support commencing in 2018 for the health sector of up to US$300m commencing in 2018. These measures provide financial resources on good terms and bring in foreign exchange.

Point 6 was for:

  1. i) Oil Search to provide a minimum of 50% of the crude oil needs to the Napanapa Refinery and in Kina terms. This has been achieved through an agreement and is happening.
  2. ii) Transition to gas-powered electricity the Pom Gas 58MW electricity project has been approved by Cabinet and has commenced construction to provide the cheapest in country power source using our own gas and all sales denominated in Kina. The new power plant will be owned by Oil Search and Kumul Petroleum with shares to be taken up by MRDC. The availability of domestic gas can catalyse other gas-powered initiatives.

iii) Rice production the rice quota scheme has been delayed and 3 large scale rice projects are being developed with 3 separate private sector partners with potential support in the 2018 budget through the Agriculture Commercialization Fund.

  1. iv) The Bank of Papua New Guinea intervention into the forex market with US$100m is done. The BPNG is also conducting a review of all foreign currency accounts and the obligations of those account holders, particularly resource companies to remit excess funds back to PNG.

Point 7 for non-tax revenue collecting agencies to remit 90% of their revenues to CRF has commenced with some immediate action with specific agencies and will be reinforced by the Public Money Management Regularization Bill 2017 approved by Cabinet and to be tabled in conjunction with this Budget.

Points 8 and 10 relate to tax regime reform and this is being managed through the new Medium Term Revenue Strategy, developed in conjunction with the IMF and a new Tax Administration Bill which I will bring shortly. Measures will commence in this budget to tidy up the tax code and the BPNG, lRC, IPA and commercial banks are cooperating to enforce compulsory Tax Identification Number requirement for opening bank accounts. The commercial banks have agreed to provide information to the lRC regarding bank accounts being operated in a business manner for further scrutiny.

Significant funding support is provided in the 2018 budget for both the IRC and Customs to boost capacity against quantified additional revenue collection.

Point 9 was the establishment of the task forces for the IRC, Lands and the Customs and Illicit Trade. Funding has been provided in the Supplementary Budget and the Attorney General, Labour and immigration Ministers are leading the Customs and illicit Trade, Lands Minister the Lands task force and Treasurer the IRC task force.

Point 11 is for the progress of some significant resource development projects and; Wapi Golpu, PNG LNG expansion, Papua LNG is all on track for early works, pre FEED or FEED in 2018. Western LNG has announced pre FEED works last month.

Point 12 is for the launch of the new Australian DFAT grant-funded projects; the PNG Australia Economic and Social infrastructure Program and ANGAU Hospital re-development design are still pending, and the TB Project co-funded with the World Bank has had the financing documents executed already.

Point 13 is the power projects;

  1. i) the 58 MW Pom Gas project construction has begun. ii) the 30MW PNG Biomass Project in Markham with Oil Search is in progress.

iii) the Ramu 2 180MW Project has had commercial close via a Cabinet decision but

is pending financial close due to certain conditions precedent. iv) Naoro Brown River Hydro Project is progressing with funding from the World Bank.

  1. v) Hela Gas power solution is being negotiated with Exxon Mobil and Oil Search.  In the meantime, funding is provided in this budget to pull the power “”9 from Mendi to Hides to provide the missing power and NBN telecommunications link to access power to the communities from the Ramu Grid and surplus from the Tari existing generator.

Point 14 is certain high impact projects:

  1. i) the international submarine cable that the Australian Government has now offered to fund from Sydney to Port Moresby and Port Moresby to Honiara. PNG will own these 100% and 50% respectively and will substantially increase reliability and lower the cost of data into PNG some 25 times.  In the Pacific Marine, Industrial Project has had a new financing agreement sign with the China EXIM Bank, the Sepik Plains agriculture project, together with Baiyer Valley and the Centre.

Plains are identified for large-scale rice production as described earlier.

Point 15 is the commencement of the US$1 billion upgrade of the Highlands Highway of which the Project Management Unit has been established at Works and contracts have been advertised for supervisory contractors. Work will commence in 2018.

Point 16 is the Gerehu 38 Affordable Housing Pilot Project where 1,762 allotments are being made available free to qualifying citizens. The earthworks have been completed and power and water services are now being constructed. Together with the concessional funding at BSP this will make housing accessible to ordinary Papua New Guineans and drive construction and employment. It can provide an example to duplicate in other centres.

Point 17 is for the commencement of the new Enga Provincial Hospital construction and Mount Hagen Hospital PPP redevelopment plan in 2018.

Point 18 is for the ceasing of closed tender financing which Cabinet has approved and the bringing forward the National Procurement Authority Bill which is ready to come back to Cabinet after changes were requested by Cabinet.

Point 19 requires audited accounts for SOEs and Statutory Authorities by mid-2018.

As Treasurer I will be tabling all the reports for the Agencies under my responsibility as soon as they are cleared by Cabinet.

Point 20 is to have all prescribed Boards appointed. This is underway particularly under the State Enterprises Minister and the Agriculture Minister.

Point 21 refers to freeing up resource landowner benefits; 1) the PNG LNG landowners vetting issues are ongoing but royalty payments to the plant site landowners have commenced and it is anticipated to shortly resolve the pipeline first payments and progress to the conclusion the clan vetting at the gas fields.

  1. ii) the OK Tedi landowner CMCA and Non-CMCA have funds held in Trust that has been cleared by the Courts and I am waiting for advice from the Justice

Department to authorise some of the pending contracted works against those funds.

Point 22 proposed to suspend proposed amendments to the Lands Act, the lPA Act, the Agriculture Investment Act, the Agriculture Administration Adjustment Act and the Mineral Resources Authority and the Mining Act to allow further consultation. This has been done.

Point 23 refers to the National Energy Authority Bill. This should refer to the Petroleum Authority Bill which is being finalised for Parliament.

Point 24 refers to progressing the Population Policy and funding has been provided in the 2018 budget under the Sustainable Development Program at Planning for this.

Point 25 refers to Medium Term Development Plan3 to be published in 2018. This is the 5-year development plan and indicator targets for the government of the day which will incorporate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Pom Gen to Receive K100 million

Source: PC Online

THE Port Moresby General Hospital will receive K100 million of the K1.5 billion health sector allocation in the 2018 national budget, Health and HIV/AIDS Minister Sir Puka Temu says.

Sir Puka said they had been allocated 100 per cent funding but the challenge was how to implement the budget.

“I’ve been in this hospital most of my life and I’ve seen transformation under the new board. The highest institution in healthcare is the hospital,” he said.

“This is to bring the private sector skill, experience and acumen into the public sector. The things they lack are because of the Budget issues.

“I was health secretary before and I would beg the government to fund our health plan below 60 per cent. It’s now 100 per cent funding.”

Sir Puka said the key word was partnership and he urged the communities to help the management of the hospitals by doing their part.

“Don’t throw rubbish everywhere. Listen to security guards,” he said.

“Visit patients on time with one guardian. Doctor-patient relationship must be improved. Prescription practices must be good and patients must complete their doses to avoid drug resistance.”

Fire Service thanks Government for K18mil Allocation

By : The National

 

THE PNG Fire Service has thanked the Government for the K18 million allocated in the 2018 Budget.

PNG Fire Service chief Bill Roo said the fire authority was happy, and would upgrade its existing fire stations and build new ones.

Roo said over the years, the fire service managed to use whatever funding it was allocated and continued to provide its services.

“Even if we get a cut or an increase, we use whatever is given,” Roo said.

“This year, we have received an increase and we thank the Government for the support.”

Roo said they were willing to work with provincial governments to establish fire services in the provinces.

“We are also looking at building our capacity, get new fire trucks and fix the old ones,” Roo said.

He said the fire service had 14 stations – four in the National Capital District and 10 in other provinces.

“We are looking at upgrading these existing ones and also build fire stations for the other 12 provinces,” Roo said.

“Fire service is essential and we are looking at improving our service delivery.”

Roo said they were also up-skilling officers and upgrading fire service equipment in preparation for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit next year.

The fire service will be celebrating its 50th anniversary tomorrow at the Port Moresby Fire Station – the first fire station in the country.

 

PM: Best Budget in 16yrs

By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK (The National )

 

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says the 2018 national budget, passed by Parliament last evening, is the best he has seen in the past 16 years, including when he served as the Treasurer.

He yesterday criticised the Opposition response to the K14.7 billion budget, calling on Shadow Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey to withdraw his “fake budget” remark.

“This is very disappointing as it will give a bad signal to our international investors. I’m calling on the Shadow Treasury Ian Ling- Stuckey to withdraw his statement,” he said.

“This is by far one of the best budgets that I have ever seen since I have been in this Parliament for 16 years now. That includes the budget that I have presented as well.”

O’Neill had served as a treasurer in the Sir Michael Somare-led government.

“I say this because this budget is now putting us on a course to make sure that this country’s economic base and growth will be such that it can be self-sustainable,” he said.

“So it is quite disappointing that some of the terminologies that he (Ling-Stuckey) used are unbecoming of leaders of this honourable house. We have to be careful of how we portray the image of our country, our parliament and ourselves.

“Sometimes for short political convenience and point-scoring we say things and do things that are not really in the best interest of our country. We have to be constructive.

“It’s always easy to have a blame-game going on in politics. But some of us want to move ahead and met the challenges ahead of us.”

Before it rose for the Christmas break, Parliament passed the Tax Administration Bill 2017 and the Public Money Management Bill 2017. Parliament will resume sitting on Feb 6 next year.

O’Neill Warns Contractors Over Funds

By : Post Courier

 

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has warned contractors that they will be held accountable for every toea in public funds they are given for construction of public infrastructure.

He was referring to classrooms throughout the nation.

He said with more schools and classrooms being built, contractors will be held accountable for every toea in public funds they are given for construction.

That is the clear message delivered by Mr O’Neill when opening a new classroom building in Kimbe, West New Britain Province.

“Continuing to improve education is our government’s commitment to our future generations.

“Better education provides the greatest hope for our children, particularly in remote and rural areas.

“In 2018 we have allocated K1.29 billion for the education sector, which is nearly 9 per cent of National Budget. This is an increase of 13 per cent from the 2017 Supplementary Budget.

“We have placed more than an additional one million students in school over the past five years, and now we are applying additional focus on improving the quality of education.

“Now we are building more schools and classrooms.”

The Prime Minister issued a stern warning to all companies involved in the construction of school projects, that public money will be fully accounted for and documented.

“Many times the Government has given contracts to certain contractors who fail to complete their jobs and run off with payments.

“This must stop and we are looking back at previous contracts to identify any irregularities for further investigation.

“It is vital for our children to have proper buildings to learn, and any time there is fraud this deprives our children of their right to education.

“We also have seen a number of builders that have delivered high-quality school buildings and their commitment and accountability is helping us to advance the Nation.”

Government taken measures to manage wild spendings by SOE’s

November 30, 2017

By ISAAC NICHOLAS

The Government has taken steps to centralise the budgetary process by cracking down on some public and statutory bodies collecting public monies and spend these outside of the Budget.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Treasury and Finance Charles Abel said the Government is serious about improving the fiscal health of the country and this bill is a demonstration of that serious intent.

“Public funds that are raised by public and statutory bodies as non-tax revenue rightly belong in the Consolidated Revenue Fund so that they may be appropriated for expenditure by Parliament to meet the objectives of the Government.”

Opposition Leader Patrick Pruaitch interjected claiming that the bill is part of the budget bills and in normal tradition this bill must be passed along with the budget.

“Why are we dealing with Budget Bills separately when the debate on the budget has been adjourned to next week Tuesday? Can we stop sneaking in stuff? We need to be able to understand the bills and it is part of the budget papers. It is attached to the budget bills.”

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had to intervene to allow Mr Abel to introduce the bill, make his speech and defer the passing to Tuesday next week.

Minister Abel then proceeded saying that for too long, it has been the practice of some public and statutory bodies to retain, without authority, this non tax revenue to meet operational and other expenditures.

“These expenditures have taken place outside the budget process and this is unacceptable to government. Some, but not all, public and statutory do have legislation in place that purportedly allows them to retain this non-profit revenue, but those provisions have always offended against the best principles of public financial management and this Bill remedies those matters.

The Bill binds all public and statutory bodies. State owned Enterprises are excluded as they are not statutory bodies.

The Bill does not apply to the Bougainville or any public or statutory body created by the Bougainville Government.

The Government has decided to explicitly exempt Kumul Consolidated Holdings, Kumul Petroleum Company and the Kumul Minerals Company from this law as fiscal arrangements to them are currently being reviewed.

Govt cracks down on out of budget spending by SOEs

Tax Revenue to reach K3.2 Billion in 2018

BY GORETHY KENNETH

The new revenue strategy, major tax head contributions to revenue are expected to increase above 2017 levels with personal income tax collections expected to reach K3.2 billion in 2018.

It is expected that company tax will reach K1.9 billion; mining and petroleum tax K179 million, gaming machine tax K174.4 million; dividend withholding tax K137.4 million and interest withholding tax K84.2 million.

For the indirect taxes, GST is expected to reach K1.9 billion, excise cuty K782.3 million, import excise K395.1 million, export tax K330 million and import duties K296.1 million.

Non-tax revenues are expected to be substantially higher comprising fees and charges which are expected to reach K175.2 million. Dividends from state owned enterprises and mining and petroleum projects which are expected to reach K1.3 billion.

The dividends are expected from National Fisheries Authority K400 million, Kumul Petroleum Holding Limited K300 million, Ok Tedi K200 million, Bank of PNG K150 million, Kumul Consolidated Holdings K100 million, National Gaming Control Board K75 million and Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited K25 million.

In addition to this, the newly introduced 90:10 Statutory Transfer rule will generate an additional K565 million comprising one off receipts from the National Fisheries Authority of K400 million, National Gaming Control Board K75 million, Kumul Consolidated Holding K40 million, Mineral Resource Authority K30 million, National Maritime Safety Authority K10 million and the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority K10 million

Grants from donor agencies are expected to total K1024.6 million in 2018. Donor grants are subjected to movements in the exchange rates and policies of donors.

Revenue excluding grants as a percentage of GDP has declined over the years from around 20 per cent in 2012 to 13 per cent in 2017.

The 2018 Total Revenue and Grants Budget is projected at K12,730.7 million, an increase of K1751.5 million or 16.0 per cent, compared to the 2017 Supplementary Budget estimates. A number of the revenue increases are one off in nature and these will be utilised to fund adjustment costs such as clearing outstanding arrears and funding one-off expenditure categories such as APEC.


https://postcourier.com.pg/revenue-tax-expected-reach-k3-2-bil-2018/

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