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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Opposition Leader Don Polye just does not get in on APEC budget

Following confused and politically motivated comments by the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament and in the media, the Minister for Sports, National Events and APEC, Hon. Justin Tkatchenko, has released the following statement:

The recent attempt by the Opposition Leader to undermine Papua New Guinea’s hosting of APEC is probably the lowest act I have ever seen in our Parliament.
What should be a proud and unifying series of global events taking place in our country is being politicised by a desperate politician and his cohorts.
The Opposition Leader needs to read this statement and understand the facts of how APEC budgets are prepared, and to stop misleading people and embarrassing the nation.
The fact is that through careful budgeting we will deliver all APEC meetings for the 2018 year for around K120 million.
These are the individual meetings that will take place from January through to the Leaders’ Summit in November in 2018.
These are one-off meeting costs that are for the APEC only and not used beyond APEC.
This includes all of the transportation, hospitality, entertainment, the fit-out of meeting venues, audio visual requirements and branding.
It would not be honest for us to include in our APEC meeting budget the cost of training our security services and buying military equipment that will be used beyond APEC.
We will upgrade our air traffic control system, but this is not an APEC expense as is a cost that is needed to modernise our air space management and should have been done several years ago.
In 2018 we will also have an investment promotion campaign around the Asia-Pacific at the time we are hosting APEC, but this is not just for APEC so is not an APEC expense.
APEC Haus, that is being built through a tax credit scheme, is being built because a multi use function centre is needed as part of the revitalised Ela Beach and Paga Hil development.
We will use APEC Haus for APEC and then after APEC it will generate revenue from conferences and board meetings, and as a restaurant and retail shops.
Other costs that are actual APEC meeting budget items include the establishment of an International Media Centre for the APEC summit that will cost several million Kina and broadcast our APEC to the world.
We will never use this IMC again so this is considered a cost of hosting APEC.
The Opposition has to understand that different countries have a different approach to how they do their valuations for APEC, and that is why for example the expenditure for Russia’s was claimed to be so high.
Russia stated that they spent billions of dollars on APEC but that is only because they also built one of the world’s largest suspension bridges, and they built a university campus where the Summit was held.
I will pre-warn the Opposition that in the 2017 National Budget there are a number of items that will be associated with APEC so as to give them priority in the budget development process.
But most of these are expenses that would ordinarily be listed under their departments and are not only for use during APEC.
They are expenditures that will be used for APEC but importantly will add to our national capacity many years beyond APEC.
Our Government is also taking a much more modern approach to funding national events, and this is already saving us millions of Kina.
We no longer have a series of committees and sub-committees running major events where Government officers are at liberty to go out and spend without checks and balances.
Now expenditure is centralised through head contracts and this lets Government get on with sovereign responsibilities while the private sector gets on with running business services.
Before the APEC Authority was formed this is what had been going on for many events.
The details of some of the savings from these reforms are noted in the attached table.
Finally, costs are offset by having some APEC items funded in partnership with the private sector where there is a business benefit.
For example, we will need more than 250 new PMVs to move delegates around Port Moresby during APEC Summit Week.
We are not going to spend 40 or 50 million Kina buying PMVs, but I will be asking NEC to approve the duty-free importation of PMVs to be used to transport delegates during the APEC summit.
These would have been pre-sold to business owners at a duty-free price and at the end of the summit these would taken by the new owners.
This not only gives a saving to business but will see new and more fuel efficient PMVs on our roads right around the country.
Finally, I say to the Opposition, now is the time to listen, to learn and to work together.
APEC is an incredible opportunity for our nation to promote trade and investment in our country, and very importantly, to bring in new skills and technology that will help our growth areas.
Our expanding sectors such as agriculture, marine resources, tourism, transportation and SMEs will all gain from Papua New Guinea hosting APEC and we must not politicise this opportunity.

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 11:57 PM. Filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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