Times are difficult: Barker
Papua New Guinea is facing a difficult economic time with a growing demand on public funds, says Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker. He said despite a growing population and various major expenditure commitments, including free education and medical services, the Government had failed to prune the widely wasteful and poorly managed district grants. Barker (pictured) warned that 2016 was leading up to the national election when MPs would be leaning hard on the district funds.
“There’s a tendency for other politicised expenditure (and revenue restraint), as well as the costs associated with preparing for and conducting the elections themselves,” Barker said. He said the Government wanted to squeeze taxes out of businesses even though the level of business activity had dropped because of the low commodity prices, no major commercial construction activities, and reduced government expenditure in the area. He said Government payments had bounced and foreign exchange unavailability undermines international payments for services and imports (including components for local manufacturing or transport).