Member for Aitape-Lumi and National Alliance Party Leader, Patrick Pruaitch has been relieved of Treasury responsibilities.
The announcement was made by the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill.
According to PM O’Neill, the move to relieve Pruaitch of the Treasury portfolio, was made in order to maintain confidence in the economy and ensure responsible administration of that Ministerial portfolio.
“Following recent comments, that have only served to undermine the work and function of the Treasury, his position has become untenable.
“These recent claims on the economy, for which he has had sole responsibility as Treasurer for the past five years of this Government, have undermined his role and credibility,” O’Neill said.
Prime Minister was talking about the announcement Pruatich had made last month, about the country’s economic state, saying it has “fallen off a cliff” under the current government.
“Because of his (Peter O’Neill) economic strategy, Papua New Guinea will have budget deficits for another five years,” Pruaitch announced.
And in a media statement released yesterday, the Aitape-Lumi MP, said he was shocked to learn that the national police force has received only K8million of its K121mil budget allocation for election operations. He warned that the ability of the police to deliver a fair and safe election has been compromised by artificially imposed funding constraints.
However O’Neill says these comments were politically motivated.
“Further, recent misleading comments on election funding, which was also under his ministerial delegation, have been driven by political motivation over substance.
“Minister Pruaitch is an experienced member of Cabinet and should know all of the established protocols associated with being a member of the National Executive Council and the Executive Government.
“In this role, he is expected to behave in a manner despite political interests.”
Pruaitch had taken on the role as Treasury Minister after Don Polye in 2014. O’Neill himself, at that time, said the decision to appoint Pruaitch as Treasurer was based on his seniority and experience.
O’Neill concluded saying the decision of relieving Pruaitch of his Treasury portfolio is regrettable but necessary in order to maintain confidence in the economy and its continued growth.
From today until the end of election, Pruaitch will serve as Minister without portfolio.
The Prime Minister will have responsibility for Treasury and consult with Coalition Partners as to the immediate future of this portfolio allocation.