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Budget not for all, says O’Neill

December 5, 2022The NationalMain Stories
FORMER prime minister Peter O’Neill says budget support in lowering income tax is welcome, but it will only benefit those working.

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey recently announced that all employees earning more than K20,000 per year would save K63 on their taxes every fortnight from next month.
This was part of the Government’s K590 million relief package highlighted in Budget 2023.

O’Neill said the majority of Papua New Guineans were unemployed and relied on subsistence farming with a large number of those in urban areas also in the informal sector.

During budget debate in Parliament on Friday, O’Neill said: “As the cost of living continues to increase, families are suffering. They cannot put food on the table.

“Government has created four new ministries in Agriculture (Livestock, Coffee and Oil Palm), and Government has announced that we will be the food bowl of the world.
“The Budget does not support that statement.
“And we are unable to feed ourselves as we become more import dependent.
“Funds should be made available to support subsistence agriculture and commodity price stabilisation. Fund the price controller’s office properly.”

Ialibu-Pangia MP O’Neill said instead of a spending big and borrowing even bigger for the budget, “we should create the future we all deserve with conservative recurrent spending, reducing debt levels and invest in jobs, health, education, and infrastructure”.
“Instead of constant blackouts and no access to power, let’s invest in clean energy to connect 70 per cent of our people to electricity.

“We need a Budget that invests more in basic healthcare and stops the shortage of medicines, equipment and health professionals in rural and urban aid posts, healthcare centres and hospitals,” he said.
“We need a budget that returns to free education for all our children and a budget that skills and develops our school leavers.

“We need to get to work building our economy so that it works for all our people, not the other way around.”
O’Neill said the Opposition was disappointed in Budget 2023 and in the now five consecutive big spending, big debt and deficit budgets. He said the Budget had no hope for businesses, families and young people.

“My team (Opposition side) and I are frustrated at the lack of local know-how and intelligence in these Budgets and we only hope the Government returns to the basics and delivers to the people the future we all deserve.”

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