By Staff Reporter : PNG Today
He said while previous Governments had sought to inflate spending ahead of a national election in order to increase votes, the O’Neill-Dion Government has more respect for the people and will not go down such an irresponsible path.
“The Good Treasurer, Patrick Pruaitch, and I, have well over a decade of economic governance experience between us,” PM O’Neill said.
"We have been through the good and the bad times, and I know the Treasurer’s budget in 2016 will be the most thoroughly considered in the history of our nation.
“Our Government will not do what previous Governments have done and try to buy re-election, because we know that we will be re-elected on our merits and achievements over the past five years.
"The electors of Papua New Guinea today are a lot more sophisticated now than decades ago, and our citizens see through a sham and they know when politicians are spending money just to try and win votes.
“If any Government thinks they can spend their way to win an election they are gravely mistaken. We saw when Mekere Morauta had sacked half of the public service then delivered a budget in 2001 that wasted money in an attempt to gain votes in 2002.
“The Morauta Government was soundly defeated.
“Our Government has delivered one million more children into school, we have expanded universal healthcare and rebuilt our hospitals, and we are training more police.
“We have built more national infrastructure in the past five years, including airports, jetties, teachers colleges and administration buildings, than any Government in the past.
“Our Government will proudly stand before the people of our nation and ask them to judge us on what we have delivered."
The Prime Minister said the people of Papua New Guinea understand that global economic conditions are not favourable, and that the Government is doing all it can to manage these foreign pressures.
"Our message is simple, the global economy has taken a massive downturn and so our national income is reduced.
"People can rest assured that this will not affect core policy areas and we will continue to fully fund free education and universal healthcare, as well as maintain investment in law and order and critical infrastructure.
“We will make sure that districts are properly funded through their DSIPs and that core services will be delivered.
“What we have done is to increase efficiencies in the public service, delay spending on non-critical infrastructure, and put a stop to excess such as unwarranted overseas travel buy bureaucrats.
“We will deliver on programs such as APEC, but we will do so in a sensible way.
“Papua New Guinea’s APEC will be the most cost-effective in the history of the forum, and will be done in a way that does not undermine the policy outcomes of the meetings.
“With every APEC meeting that has taken place in Papua New Guinea over the past year we have been practicing a more efficient model for event delivery, while maintaining the strictest security protocols.
“This has seen APEC meetings in Papua Papua New Guinea delivered for a quarter of what they would have cost in the past under the committee systems.
“Our APEC will be a truly Pacific APEC, with delegates leaving our country with a better understanding of Papua New Guinea.
“We will deliver the 200 upcoming APEC meetings in a careful way that will also see tremendous benefits flowing to our key growth sectors of tourism, agriculture and fisheries, while also building our SMEs.”