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Treasurer Ling-Stuckey's Foreign Dictated Plan will Ruin Papua New Guinea's Economy, says O'Neill

The Papua New Guinea Treasurer Ian Ling-Stucky is fixated on trying to rewrite the past as a means to avoid making hard decisions that will properly deal with the challenges our country faces today and into the future, says former PNG PM O'Neill.

Peter O'Neill 

Mr. O’Neill said in the 2020 budget, that was prepared by Canberra consultants, Ling-Stuckey agreed to a set of revenue estimates for each month, and to date none have come anywhere near being achieved.

“The failure to fund the budget for the first months of this years has meant that government cashflow has been negative.

“This means that the component of school fees the government said it would fund will likely not be paid, and there will be no money for DSIPs and PSISs that are needed in the regions.

“In fact, since January the budget has been funded by actions and the movement of money that are actually in breach of IMF processes.

“This places at risk the immediate draw-down because the IMF might not legally be allowed to facilitate the payment of the funding they propose.”

Peter O’Neill said it is worrying both that the Treasurer can so easily lie though his teeth, and that he has no idea what he has signed the country up for with this IMF plan.

“Instead of stumbling blindly into the IMF Staff Monitored Program that will place harsh austerity measures on our people, and only deliver a fraction of the funding it promises, the government must revise its strategy.

“Over the months that he has been Treasurer, Ian Ling-Stuckey has talked our economy down as he sought to politicize his exaggerated debt level, and now there is no one wanting to lend money to the government.

“He has run out of options and all he can do is to bow down to the neo-colonialist demands of the IMF, and this is a situation that is all of his own making.

“Our country needs a strong relationship with the IMF as a leading global financial institution, but not in the terms of this program.

“Through nearly ten months of inaction and bad decisions, this government has literally stopped any new investments which has reduced cash flow and is now driving the economy towards recession.

“Now there is no buffer as the Government has failed to negotiate business with Exxon, Total and Wafi, and they have now try for a revenue Plan B before it is too late. This government must act swiftly with a stimulus plan for the economy.”

Mr. O’Neill said while the Treasurer was very quick to claim the Kina will not be devalued by 20 per cent at the direction of the IMF, it is well known that the finance sector has been made aware of this requirement, and there is documentation and email traffic that articulates the requirements of the devaluation.

“It is not acceptable for the Treasurer to plead ignorance now so he can later claim to have been forced to devalue the Kina.

“The reality is that the Kina is to be devalued in the coming weeks at the direction of the IMF, and this will force up the prices of imported consumer goods including food, clothing and household items.”

Mr. O’Neill said the current downward economic trajectory is made even worse by the facts Ling-Stuckey does not want the country to know about this deal.

“Firstly, the Staff Monitored Program shuts off alternative options to obtain financial support from our bilateral partners, and it shuts off access to international capital markets.

“Basically, it places all eggs in the one basket, meaning our economic fate is entirely out of our country’s hands.

“This is undoing the hard work of the past eight years to enhance Papua New Guinea’s reputation in the international community, and makes us look like a country incapable of managing our own affairs.

“The other question that must be asked is why does the IMF deal exclude the World Bank and only take money through the Asian Development Bank?

“The reason is that there has been a lack of consultation, and Ling-Stuckey has been drawn into the internal politics and turf wars between the IMF, World bank and ADB, and now our country has to pay the price.

“The World Bank does not agree with the IMF program and was vocal about this, which meant the IMF had to side with the ADB to get access to even a limited part of the proposed funding.”

Mr. O’Neill said it was due to the incompetence of Ian Ling-Stuckey, that the country is in a terrible financial position that could leave PNG bankrupt just as he did with New Ireland Province.

“He cannot keep blaming the previous government now that they have had almost a year to chart a new direction for the economy.

“As Treasurer for a country of nearly ten million people, he has demonstrated that he is as incapable as he was when he was a provincial governor.

“I am concerned his solutions at the national level are as foolish as his solutions at the provincial level, such as when he imported millions of Kina worth of frying pans and cooking pots from his relatives because he said it would rescue the economy.”

Next :

Marape-Steven Government’s call for advance tax ‘low, shameful’, says PNG Opposition leader Namah

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