FORMER head of Papua New Guinea’s Internal Revenue Commission, ambassador to the United States and now eminent businessman, Sir Nagora Bogan, has advised the PNG government to exercise caution in its budget plans.
The government, facing collapsing tax revenues and a huge budget deficit, is struggling to get the PNG economy back on track.
Sir Nagora told EMTV that estimations of tax revenue for 2017 must be rigorous.
He commended the government for easing a punitive tax on housing but said companies will be struggling to stay afloat next year and workers will lose their jobs.
This will have a drastic effect on how much the government collects on income tax and other taxes, he said.
Sir Nagora’s comments came at a time when many companies are reporting losses and laying off workers. He estimated that more than 30,000 jobs have already been lost.
He told Bethanie Harriman of EMTV the government must diversify the economy to cushion the impact of falling oil and mineral prices.
“If we are talking about bringing in investors then we have to be smart about it and also be selective,” he said.
He said the government must not add new taxes but diversify the economy by tapping into sustainable sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and manufacturing.