Posted By Staff Reporter
In the recent past, many projects were launched by the government, starting in Eastern Highlands, then Madang, followed by East Sepik and Sandaun provinces.
The launches were not only the airport projects that were in the plan sometime ago (funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB)) and the electrification project (funded by United States, Japan, Australia and New Zealand) but they were also other projects. Were all those projects in the budget or just insincere announcement without any money at the eve of a pending vote of no confidence (VONC)?
The 2019 budget of approximately K16 billion comprises; provinces (K3b), administration (K4b), debt services (K2b), health (1.6b), education (K1.4b), Law and justice (K1.3b), transport (K1.3b), economics (K0.74b), community and culture (K0.14b) and utilities (K0.62b).
There is no money for projects and investments so where will the government get the money to do those projects that have been launched. It will definitely be another loan. The current loan is approximately K27b but by the end of the year, it could be well over K30 billion as the actual total values of the projects being launched is over K3 billion.
The prime minister was heard saying that PNG is floating on debt but will have cash over K20 billion to K30 billion from liquified natural gas (LNG) is a lie. We will have more than 30 years to pay our debt, if we take tighter controls.
Infrastructure project is a necessity for the country to develop and progress, but we must plan for it through feasibility studies, planning, budgeting and the later phase which is the construction.
Apparently too many people including members of parliament (MPs) get the wrong impression that a feasibility study is already a project.
On the same token, we cannot run around building more and more infrastructure and say that we are developing our country. We must learn to maintain and sustain our existing infrastructure. We fail to do that effectively which could be equally blamed on poor planning and playing politics.
Firstly, poor planning in a sense that there is no feasibility studies, proper plan, schedule and budget to carry out the desired works (could be mismanagement in some areas). Secondly, political such that the money is mismanaged, or the political leader has his/her own agenda to address during his/her tenure in parliament.
One area that really requires to be developed is the projects that generate revenue for the country. Every year, the government must create jobs and generate income to run the country. To do this, the government must invest in sustainable long-term projects especially in the agriculture and manufacturing industries.
How many state-owned enterprises (SOE) or partly owned enterprise do we have in the agriculture sector? How many SOE or partly owned manufacturing industry do we have in the manufacturing sector?
Does the government initiate or promote any of these industries? It is not a surprise for government to look at ways of making quick bucks but not sustainable industries.