By Fabian Hakalits – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, says that Papua New Guinea’s debt level is manageable, at about 35 per cent of GDP.
It continues though to remain part of the national government’s tough challenge to manage global pressures affected by the low commodity prices.
Prime Minister O’Neill, speaking at the National Press Club of Australia, said that Papua New Guinea is part of the emerging economy faced with global challenges from lower commodity prices.
“I do not want to sugarcoat the pressures that we are facing. We have an open dialogue so that we can understand how best we can confront these challenges.
“The serious decline in world prices for our oil and gas, and our minerals over the past 12 to 18 months has had a serious impact on our economy. I am certain the Australian economy faces similar challenges.
“In Papua New Guinea, just a couple of years ago, royalties and taxes from the resource sector totaled close to K2 billion. Last year it amounted to just K260 million,” the PM said.
“Barely one eighth of the previous year’s revenues, and we expect the same in 2016,” he added.
O’Neill said the government revised budget estimates to ensure it doesn’t affect basic service delivery.
He made the point that Papua New Guinea’s economic fundamentals are sound.
“We are deliberately running a deficit budget because we are committed to the promises we have made to our people.
“Our debt level is manageable, about 35 per cent of our GDP. Our government had to make tough decisions, while making sure that Government itself is held responsible for those decisions. That is an approach that is well accepted by our citizens,” O’Neill said.
He added that the national government will remain committed with its policies such as free education and health, and other priority areas.