NEWS DESK | RNZI
PORT MORESBY - A Papua New Guinean political veteran has said the O’Neill government is looking for an easy way out of an economic crisis it has created through waste, mismanagement and corruption.
Former prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta, who is now an opposition MP, said the 2018 budget, released last week was not credible and was laden with fabrications.
Sir Mekere, who is also a former central banker and economist, said the government was raiding and crippling state owned enterprises for quick cash.
State owned enterprises were sick, he said, due to rising debt, poor investment decisions and earlier dividend raids.
Squeezing already struggling businesses and inflicting hefty tariff increases that push up prices was not a solution.
Sir Mekere said to have a credible budget the government had to first fully disclose the state of the economy - the debts, the arrears and the foreign exchange shortages.
He said the revenue figures needed to be realistic and tough choices made on spending and spending cuts.
The former leader said PNG needed a properly thought-out multi-year program supported by concessional finance and an International Monetary Fund balance of payments support program.