20 Nov 2012

Provinces to handle more funding after PNG national budget

8:41 pm on 20 November 2012

Provinces in Papua New Guinea are set to benefit from better funding after the delivery of the 2013 national budget by the Peter O'Neill-led government.

Today in parliament, the Treasurer Don Polye presented a total budget of 6.4 billion US dollars, or 13 billion kina, up 23% from 2012.

He says the budget incorporates a deficit of 1.2 billion US dollars, or 7.2% of GDP.

Meanwhile, annual growth is forecast to be 4% and inflation at 8%.

Themed "Growing Our future", Mr Polye's budget provides that income tax will increase while more funding will be directed to provincial governments and local level government.

A journalist with the Post Courier newspaper, Gorothy Kenneth, says this won't affect the annual constituency funding that each MP gets.

"They've put 54 percent of the budget translated down to the provincial governments. Previous budgets, they only had 12 to 15 percent of the budget maintained. Most of the budget was maintained from the national level."

Gorothy Kenneth says that 2.9 billion US dollars is to go towards priority sectors such as the rural health programmes, and maintaining road, ports and other key infrastructure.

In education, 3-thousand more teachers are to be recruited as the government's free education plans are extended to years 10 and 11.

The Treasurer says the growth of PNG's economy is expected to slow down in 2013 after the construction phase of Exxonmobil's major LNG Gas project has peaked, before picking up after 2014 following the start of production.