by Bethanie Harriman – EMTV News, Lae
The Morobe Provincial Government is digging deep into its internal revenue to pay for services and new infrastructure.
Budget cuts and decisions from the national government have caused ripples affecting Lae businesses, and ultimately service delivery in the region.
“We are going to have turbulent times ahead,” says Morobe Governor, Kelly Naru.
The slump in world commodity prices and decisions made by the national government regarding the country’s budget, loans and how money is being spent is hitting the Morobe province hard.
Yesterday, the provincial government launched a K5 million upgrading of the Wagang Road, a vital upgrade for the planned Wagang Wharf, and Lae’s five multi-million kina tuna canaries.
Governor Naru, who is also the Provincial Finance Chairman, says projects are now being paid for with internal revenue.
“We are using internal revenue to embark on this project which is essentially going to service the Wagang Wharf and the surrounding villages,” says Naru.
The K55 million nationwide funding cut to health centers run by churches is having a significant impact on the province, with the majority of Morobe’s health services run by church groups.
“We are doing what we can with our own internal church partnership program, but we can only stretch so far,” says Naru.
The internal revenue for this year is estimated at around K111 million, but like all budgets based on forecasts that amount depends on the efficiency of provincial administration collecting tax and if all businesses, including smaller ones, pay their share.
But there is another problem that is greatly affecting internal revenue; the low supply of foreign currency in banks. As a manufacturing hub, businesses in Lae are struggling to operate and generate the kind of cash flow enjoyed in the past.