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O'Neill Gang Cheque Claims are Silly and Demeaning to MPs, says PNG Finance Minister Paita

 Papua New Guinea Finance Minister Rainbow Paita today ridiculed claims by the Opposition that the Government is printing cheques worth hundreds of millions of kina in a bid to hold on to power.

“This is a very silly and empty claim by the Opposition,” he said.

“It is a sign of the O’Neill gang’s desperation that they have to resort to deception and spin.

“Members of Parliament decide their allegiances on merit, not their own personal enrichment.

"Vote-buying might be the way Opposition Leader Belden Namah and former PM Peter O’Neill do business.

" But it is not the Marape Government’s way – we encourage all MPs to base their decisions on the national interest.

"The advancement of the nation is their reward.

“I trust that members of the Opposition are not being swayed by the bundles of kina that are usually to be found wherever former Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is.

“Nor does the Government need to adopt the O’Neill gang’s style of vote-buying.

"We have a clear majority of MPs, who have made their decision to remain with the Marape Government as a matter of principle and in the national interest.

" I encourage all other MPs to do the same.”

Mr Paita said Opposition claims were in reality a protest about the payment of DSIP funds.

“What does Mr O’Neill want us to do – withhold the final payment for the year,” he asked.

“He is just being silly.”

The Finance Minister said the Government was following the normal process for DSIP payments.

"This year’s revised appropriation for DSIP is K8 million, down from K10 million," he said.

"Only K6 million has been paid so far, and the balance of K2 million, as per the revised appropriation, is yet to be paid.

" DSIP payments are subject to cash flow, and the balance of K2 million is projected to be paid before the end of the year, which is normal practice."

Mr Paita said it was important in the current economic circumstances that DSIP was paid on time so that MPs could serve their villages, districts and provinces.

" In fact," he said," withholding the payment of DSIP would be a big blow to ordinary Papua New Guineans, who are doing it tough because of the waste, corruption and mismanagement of the O’Neill regime over the past 10 years," he said.

“Why should Papua New Guineans suffer any more because of Mr O’Neill’s mistakes.

“We are channelling as much money into districts as we possibly can, and we intend to continue doing that.

“The DSIP is an effective vehicle for district development and to cut it off now would be cruel and unreasonable.”

Mr Paita reminded Members and their constituents how. all through his disastrous reign as Prime Minister, Mr O’Neill starved Opposition MPs of their DSIP funds.

“He is the one who used DSIP as a vote-buying exercise, and stalled development for hundreds of thousands of people at a time by not paying Opposition MPs,” he said.

“We will not do that.

"We will treat all MPs, all districts and all people equally and fairly.”

Next : PM Marape Represents PNG at APEC 2020

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