25 Jun 2019

PNG opposition presses new PM on policy direction

6:46 am on 25 June 2019

Papua New Guinea's opposition is pressing Prime Minister James Marape to provide a clear sense of policy direction in today's parliamentary session.

James Marape the member for Tari Pori is the new prime minister of Papua New Guinea. May 2019

James Marape Photo: Post Courier Newspaper

It said the nation needs a new direction, particularly in economic management, from that taken under former prime minister Peter O'Neill.

The opposition says painful short-term measures are needed if the Marape Government intends to deal decisively with the cash flow problems it has inherited from the previous government.

It said a supplementary budget should be introduced soon.

Mr Marape earlier said that he expected his cabinet to have been briefed extensively on the state of PNG's economy by the time of today's session.

Opposition leader Patrick Pruaitch urged him to fix pressing domestic problems related to the previous government's tuition-fee free education policy and cash flow issues affecting delivery of health and other public services.

"We are at a major crossroad in development terms. Some remedies need to be offered for the economic problems the nation is facing," Mr Pruaitch said in a statement," Mr Pruaitch said.

"Under the previous O'Neill Government, the economy stagnated with falling employment and income levels, even though government revenues remained at an all-time high."

Patrick Pruaitch

Patrick Pruaitch Photo: Loop PNG

Mr Pruaitch said he has no doubt if quick, corrective measures are taken, the Marape Government will be able to engineer a solid economic turnaround that underpin the Prime Minister's ambition to create "the richest black Christian nation".

"Such a turnaround would generate thousands of additional private sector jobs in the next two years and bring increased prosperity throughout the nation," he said.

However, the opposition has warned that policy uncertainty is threatening the prospects for some major fledgling resource projects in the country, including the Papua LNG gas Project, and the planned Wafi-Golpu gold mine.

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