Posted By Staff Reporter
PORT MORESBY: Former Treasury Minister Hon. Don Polye today rubbished a Post Courier report by PM Peter O’Neill who claimed on Tuesday that ‘PNG would reap major benefits from the proceeds of the LNG project.
“I know that our share of the proceeds from the revenues of LNG project has been mortgaged to Union Bank of Swiss through the K3 billion loan to buy back our 10.01 percent share in the Oil Search Limited.
“We will, in fact, benefit from it after some years when the loan repayment is fully settled and not right away as claimed after seeing the project successfully delivered its first shipment mid this year,” said Mr. Polye, who was sacked in March by O’Neill for not signing the loan agreement.
Incumbent Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch recently shared the similar sentiment in the Pacific Business Review newspaper that PNG would not benefit immediately from the project but only after some years later when the loan is fully repaid.
Polye urged O’Neill to come out clear and tell 7.8 million people of PNG on how and when would PNG start to benefit from the project after the first shipment.
The former minister regretted the ‘snail’s pace’ manner in which the establishment of the Sovereign Wealth Fund was managed, saying it was logic that the fund should have been operational before the first export of the project.
“Since the SWF is not in operation so when the proceeds from the LNG flow in, there are risks of misappropriation of public funds when parked in other trust funds. There is no transparency and good governance,” he said.
Mr. Polye raised concerns that in the absence of the SWF and the requirement of the loan agreement, saying all LNG proceeds will be diverted to repay the loan so PNG will miss out on the first cash flows from this massive project.
Prime Minister, he said, should not mislead the people of PNG when the revenue will not be realized in the National Budget until the loan is fully repaid.
“Though there is no revenue flowing into the government purse from the project, O’Neill claimed that we can stabilize our nation’s fiscal future and the proceeds support the government programs like free health care and free education.
“LNG revenues are not funding the health and education programs so he should also come out clear to tell the nation about it. Everything he is saying is cloudy,” he said.
Polye said his Triumph Heritage Empowerment party was built on the foundations of fighting corruption in the country, adding he would continue to fight it to the last of his breath.
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