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PNG Opposition on Unjustified Cuts to Police Funding

“The 2018 budget continued unjustified cuts for funding law and justice in PNG. From 2015 to 2018, funding for law and justice has been slashed by nearly one-third after allowing for inflation (a real cut of 29 per cent). Why has such a crucial area so vital for community safety and development been slashed in this way?” asked the Shadow Minister for Treasury and Finance, Ian Ling-Stuckey.

In a breaking news story covered by the Post Courier on 16 December, the Prime Minister argued that “budget cuts to priority sectors should not be taken as literal as perceived by the numbers presented in the National Budget”

Mr Ling-Stuckey congratulated the Prime Minister for his honesty in indicating that we cannot take literally the numbers presented in the National Budget.

“Indeed, as I have been saying ever since the budget was released, one cannot trust the numbers in the 2018 Budget. In particular, they are filled with fake revenue, fake financing and hence fake spending promises.

“The Prime Minister argues that the cuts are not as severe as shown – a cut of K61 million from K1,125 million to K1,064 million. He correctly notes that other programs such as the DSIP and PSIP can also fund the police.

“However, DSIP and PSIP could also have done that back in 2015 and 2016. So if there is no change in the priority given to law and justice at the district and provincial level, it means that there still has been a massive cut at the national level. Overall, this is still a major cut in overall funding” said the Shadow Treasurer.

“The response that 20 per cent of DSIP and PSIP funding is allocated to law and order is also misleading. The original guidelines for these programs did specify how much should go to various sectors, but law and justice was allocated 10 per cent, not 20 per cent. Of course, these guidelines have now been dropped.

“The Alternative Government would like to sit down with the Government and put a realistic budget in place. This would mean realistic sales estimates and realistic financing plans. It would also mean spending money better rather than grand programs for their besties. The vital work done by our police services, especially when officers put their lives on the line as so recently demonstrated in the tragic floods in Madang, deserves greater respect and support” said Mr Ling-Stuckey.
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