by Allanah Leahy – EM TV Online
Speaking on Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat Program, Paul Flanagan, former Chief Advisor of the Australian Treasury in the Foreign Investment and Trade Policy division described Papua New Guinea’s 2015 budget as a ‘slippery slope’.
The former chief advisor raised serious concerns on the credibility of the 2015 budget and questioned whether the PNG government is in fact, facing the economic challenges that lay ahead.
Referencing PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s statement at the Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference on Monday regarding the government’s commitment to the delivery of basic government services, Mr Flanagan questioned the facts.
One of the budget plans includes a return to surplus in 2017, but Mr Flanagan draws attention to the expenditure cuts required from 2015 to 2017 in the education, health and aaaaagriculture sectors.
He mentions that when looking into the pattern of expenditure cuts, health sector expenditure is expected to be cut by 20 per cent, the education sector by 25 per cent and the aaaaagriculture sector by 50 per cent.
Mr Flanagan described the cuts in two years’ time as an obstacle to bringing sustainable and longer term development to the sectors. Previously describing PNG’s budget as a ‘slippery slope,’ Mr Flanagan reiterated his belief that PNG is now ‘backing the losing tri-sector’, saying the level of cuts are not realistic.
Listen to the full interview here.