Posted By Staff Reporter
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has described the budget reply by the Opposition as a political sideshow with no credible facts or data to support their claims.
"What we have seen and heard today from the shadow treasurer and the new shadow treasurer was a mere political sideshow. "It is grandstanding of the highest degree," he said. "Our economy is doing well and all the figures and data from the Central Bank support that.
"Economic growth this year is around 8 per cent and this will rise to 15 per cent next year. "The Opposition said we will go into a depression. Where did they get that from? Our growth is the envy of the world.
"I just came back from the APEC meeting in China and everyone is talking about Papua New Guinea. Only a few of our leaders here are doing their best to talk down PNG,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
"Our interest rates are stable, and our foreign reserves healthy. Data from the banks suggest lending to the private sector has increased steadily in the last three years, and that shows there is enough liquidity in the system.
"Our national debt stands at about K14.2 billion. Debt is about 35 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and will drop to around 27 per cent next year. "Fiji’s debt is about 50 per cent of GDP; in Japan it’s about 110 per cent; in the US it’s about 100 per cent.
"So we have a very healthy debt situation compared to many countries in the world. "When we formed government we said we will frame budget according to the Alotau Accord.
"We said we will have a deficit budget to drive growth. "We have maintained the same strategy in this budget. "Our priorities remain the same, we have not changed. We have increased allocations to education, health, infrastructure development and law and order.
"Shadow Treasurer Don Polye was part of this process so he should know. "Instead he is trumpeting figures and assumptions that are not supported by facts.” The Prime Minister also defended the government’s decision to obtain the UBS loan, saying it is in the best interest of the country. He said the UBS loan deal was cleared by the Solicitor General, and now approved by Parliament, as required by law.
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