By Delly Waigeno – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, addressed the National Press Club in Canberra, Australia on Thursday.
He presented an overview of Papua New Guinea’s expanding role in the region, and its position as a commodity producing nation facing global challenges.
He said the Government has had to make tough decisions like cut Government spending but still ensuring the delivery of basic services to the people.
The Prime Minister’s address was followed by an interview with ABC.
Mr O’Neill was asked about PNG’s cash crisis and how it was going to get through it.
The Prime Minister said it is no secret that the decline in the global commodity prices will severely affect PNG’s revenue base. He said PNG was readjusting government expenditure to live within its revenue means.
“When you talk about cash crisis, you are thinking that we don’t have enough funds to pay for our bills. We are raising enough revenue through the taxes. We are increasing our efforts in the collections. We are certainly getting all our Public Servants to stay focused,” O’Neill said.
Mr O’Neill said the Government was owed close to K2 billion in outstanding taxes. He said the tax office, Customs, and all line agencies have been advised to collect revenue and stop wastage and redirect that money to consolidated revenue to fill the gap.
“Today, we are meeting our obligations, we are paying for school fees, we are paying for hospital services that we provide, we are meeting the salaries for our public servants. And we know that we have to raise up K2 billion this financial year to meet the shortfall in the revenue,” said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister acknowledged that with the oil prices down, projected revenues will not be reached. But in managing the economy, the Government is confident it will raise funds through issuing of instrumen’s like treasury bills through the Central Bank and by working closely with the financial institutions.