By Serah Aupong – EMTVNews, Port Moresby
Government spending will be stringently controlled this year as a mechanism to cope with the low revenue levels in Papua New Guinea.
Secretary for Finance, Dr Ken Ngangan, and his officers revealed this today while announcing the opening of government expenditure accounts this morning.
As promised it was the shortest close of accounts to date.
“From now on, these will be the timings of the opening of public accounts, first week of January, commencing with the opening of public service,” Dr Ngangan said.
With the rollover of the 2015 budget last night, Dr Ngangan confirms, revenue issues of last year were also carried forward.
“We haven’t actually come out of the problems of the revenue flows into coffers; there will be issues with timing.”
Dr Ngangan said government spending in the foreseeable future will depend on revenue flows.
“That will continue to be the modus operandi. That will be the way we operate for some time until such time the cash flow situation, revenue situation improves,” he explains.
During the close of accounts announcement last year Finance Minister, James Marape, said they expected some revenue to flow into government purse over the close of accounts period. Dr Ngangan said they have received some dividend.
“Dividends have come in from Kumul Holdings, IPBC, but much of the expectations have not come on board so that’s the continuous struggle, it’s a day to day managing the cashflow because the revenue is slowly coming in.”
Finance is now putting in place stringent measures to control government spending.
Finance Deputy Secretary for Operations, Stephen Nukuitu, said “Our Secretary will be setting a threshold for each of the agencies to expend their funds.”
Dr Ngangan elaborated, “We take it that given the current environment it’s a tight fiscal space so whatever that comes in the tight fiscal space we also apply our tight strategy to manage the cashflow.”