Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP, will support his Treasurer Ian Ling Stuckey, MP, in the delivery of correct economic numbers that has been debated as of lately in preparation for 2019 supplementary budget and 2020 budget.
The Prime Minister made this statement in response to former Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s criticism lately of the numbers that Treasurer is now putting out.
Prime Minister Marape said the numbers are based on works that the Government's due diligence team has been working on openly, in collaboration with IMF and whole of treasury, including the World Bank and others.
“The former Prime Minister cannot deny that many of us including me as the then Finance Minister, protested not only on the budget policies but on expenditure priorities of budgets under his Prime Ministership starting 2015, when his priorities shifted away from greater coalition interest," the Prime Minister said.
"The latest was my protest last November when I had no knowledge of budget frameworks, yet I was forced to support that budget," he said.
The Prime Minister said these were some of the issues that contributed to his resignation as the Finance Minister.
"What the present Treasurer is currently doing is to fully ascertain our present economic conditions for us to offer solutions to take our country out of the present conditions," Prime Minister Marape said.
"When I was Finance Minister previously, I was part of the government that deliberately entered into debt financing so we could do economic projects, but along the way, the areas of investments influenced by the then Prime Minister differed against some of our opinions, and these investments now add up to our present debts.
"Whether it is at K27 billion or above K30 billion the fact is that it is still very high and possibly trends above requirements of Fiscal Responsibility Act.
"Government under my leadership want to establish where the true economic position of our country is and then put forward policies and programs in both 2019 and 2020 that should take us out of this mess.” Prime Minister Marape said.
He said today is not the time to continue the blame game but to accept the status quo the country is faced with and to mitigate to rescue the country.
“Our Government will initiate immediate cost cutting on projects and expenditures of no significance to the economy, invest in economic stimulant projects, and source lower cost loans in the immediate to refinance our debts as well as provide budget support," Prime Minister Marape revealed of the Government's plan of action.
“In the medium term, we will look to gain better from our resources by unbundling resources through resource law changes and policy and regime shifts, including policing better our tax collection systems."
In the meantime, Prime Minister encourages the country to have positive view on our future, and look into how every citizens and every national businesses can venture into businesses to help contribute to the country’s future.
The Prime Minister said the Government will endeavour to make public sector and its state businesses effective and productive, and encourage the private sector to grow in business to support our economy.