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PNG’s budget expectations high

Thursday 24 November 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Papua New Guinea, Regional

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PNG’s budget expectations high
PNG Prime Minister, James Marape

The Papua New Guinea Government is due to present its 2023 National Budget next week, and there is an expectation of increased commitments in critical areas.

In the wake of a horrendously violent and lawless election in July, there have been calls from organisations such as Transparency International for substantial investment in the Electoral Commission and police.

RNZ Pacific's PNG correspondent, Scott Waide, said voters will expect reforms to the Electoral Commission.

"The problems are wide-ranging, such as the ability of the Electoral Commission to carry out the elections, as well as law and order in various provinces. We've seen the detoriatoration of it in the elections.

"The other thing Papua New Guineans will be looking for relief from is in terms of high cost of goods, of food, and fuel."

Waide said the soaring cost of living is driven partly by factors outside of the country.

"And a lot of these issues are not directly in the control of the PNG economy, they're influenced by external factors.

"The PNG economy took a hit during Covid and then that was compounded by the Russia-Ukraine war, so the PNG economy is reeling from all of those effects, including the inefficiencies within the government system itself."

Earlier this month the Prime Minister, James Marape, announced that this new budget would be a "no surprise" budget.

He said the goverment would be maintaining the approach it has taken since coming to power three years ago.

Waide said it would not be easy for the government to find the money to tackle all of the various monetary issues needing to be dealt with. Among the sources for extra revenue is energy.

"Over the last two or three years the government has tried as much as possible to reopen old mines and open new ones like the Wafi Golpu project has been top of the list of priorities as well as the re-opening of Porgera."

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