Minister demand immunity for his debt addicted advisors

By: Lori Otto

Treasurer, Ian Ling-Stuckey has been harassing Government bureaucrats in PNG Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) demanding diplomatic immunity from any prosecution within Papua New Guinea for any failed advises offered by his failed former Australian Treasury Official, Paul Flanagan.
Paul Flanagan was personally employed by Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey to provide advises on reducing Papua New Guinea’s debt which the Marape Government claimed was excessive. A claim that activists took to demonized O’Neill for increasing the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) from 30% to 35% in 2017. Kessy Sawang wrote more details in her website.
Flanagan’s role was to decrease existing Debt and work on reducing the Debt-to-GDP from 35% to lower that 30%. Flanagan did the exact opposite, he advises Marape Government to immediately amended the FRA and increase the Debt to GDP Ratio from the highly criticized 35% to 45%. According to the Treasurer Ian Ling-Stucky, so it can allow them to borrow more.
In 2019, Marape Government increased domestic debt from K16.9 Billion to K19.3 Billion and external debt from K9.9 Billion to K14.3 Billion. In just 7 short months, Marape borrowed K 8 Billion (All this loan was before Covid19). In 18 months [May 2019 – December 2020], Flanagan and Ian Ling-Stucky advises Marape Government to borrow an extra K14.3 Billion. This increased our Debt from K25.6 Billion incurred by previous regime in 8 years to K39.9 Billion.
Before passing the 2021 Budget, Flanagan advises the Marape Government yet again to amended the Fiscal Responsibility Act to increase the Debt to GDP Ratio from 45% to 60%. This gave the Government the fiscal space to increases our National Debt to K46.5 Billion – a 51.5% Debt to GDP.
Paul Flanagan, a failed Australian Treasury advisor single-handily double Papua New Guinea’s debt during his time as advisor to Ian Ling-Stucky. He wasn’t alone with that advises, Chakriya Bowman another failed DFAT advisor was assisting him all along when she was based in Treasurer’s office until her ceremonially dismissal a few months ago. Australia has now advertises for new advisers.
The latest trick up Flanagan’s sleeve is to run to the Paris Club and beg them to delay loan and interests’ repayments. Using Covid19 as a masquerade for their inability to generate internal revenue and to repay their double debt loans, the Paris Club has given them an additional K3 billion cash with deferred loan payments.
The huge expansion of Debt by Flanagan, Ling-Stuckey in Marape Government is to fund the re-current expenditure, rather than capital investments in economic projects that would generate economic returns for sustained growth.
Flanagan has failed on all his advice in the last 3 years, he has ran out of options as PNG economy creeps further down a spiral road. The last-ditch effort remains is to sack Bank of PNG Governor Loi Bakani so Flanagan can manipulate the monetary policy which currently he has no control over. This will destroy the independence of Bank of Papua New Guinea over its monetary policies.
Why is Paul Flanagan suddenly seeking PNG Diplomatic immunity? Is this an exit strategy? Is this because he knows that the ill-advises provided has dragged PNG further down the drain? Should Chakriya Bowman and Paul Flanagan be charged for their bad advises?


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