A research has concluded that the ability of the government to fund core services is being compromised by recent budget developments and reforms.
The research was conducted by the government’s think-tank, the National Research Institute (NRI), and the Australian National University.
The survey team visited 216 schools, and over 140 health facilities across eight provinces, to complete this survey in 2012.
The findings were presented today at the fourth budget forum at NRI.
The report presents international comparisons showing PNG having one of the largest development budgets in the world. It shows that 10 years ago, PNG’s development budget was about one third of all its’ spending.
However, this year, that figure almost reached 50% despite reports of 2013 final expenditure figures showing that the government was unable to spend its entire development budget.
Meanwhile, the research found that prioritising the development budget is leading to the underfunding of front-line services which require recurrent funding. Executive Director of The Institute of National Affairs, Paul Barker, said the budget needs to focus on capacity building.
He said that in many cases, budget allocations are made to projects which are not of relevance to the nation.
Mr. Barker said accountability should be practised starting with government departments for effective service delivery. The survey recommended for the budget planners to rebalance the development and recurrent services delivery budget.
It recommends that the government’s first priority should be to protect and fully fund existing frontline service delivery commitments to ensure government agencies are fully funded and maintained.
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