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Showing posts with the label recovery

2018 BUDGET: NICE WORDS POOR NUMBERS

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by PAUL FLANAGAN The new Treasurer released his first budget on 28 November. This was an opportunity to demonstrate the second term of the O’Neill government would help turn the corner on PNG’s economic mismanagement. So how did it do? Overall, there are some wonderful sentiments in this first Abel budget. My sense is that he is very genuine in what he is trying to achieve. But he seems to be let down by the realities of PNG politics. Protecting politicians electoral funds, finding money for APEC, trying to regain the upper-hand on the rhetoric of protecting health and education – all within the confines of fiscal responsibility – was simply too much. What has given way in this equation of trying to be responsible while dealing with the political spending pressures has been revenue credibility? Ultimately, he fails in his attempts to explain why we should believe his claim that revenues will suddenly jump by over 20 percent in 2018. This is an increase of over K2.2 billion and an ext…

PNG’S 100 DAY PLAN – A SLOW KICKSTART WITH SOME POSITIVES

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by PAUL FLANAGAN PNG’s new Treasurer and DPM, Charles Abel, has released the promised 100 Day Economic Stimulus Plan (see here). Overall, there are some positives in the plan. But politics is already circumscribing necessary actions to get PNG back onto the right economic path. Starting with the positives, even having a 25 point plan is a useful statement that the new government recognises PNG’s economic challenges. The five elements of the plan are appropriate. There is a focus on raising revenues as well as fiscal discipline. Population policy is given priority.  The plan announces the suspension and review of some scary micro-economic policies in areas such as land, agriculture, bio-security and mining. Some politically brave action is foreshadowed to at least temporarily reduce politicians’ discretionary electorate spending (PSIPs and DSIPs). There seems a commitment to on-going sensible strategic budgetary and planning processes. There is no mention of the absurd “gold bullion ba…

HUGE HOLES IN PNG 2016 BUDGET - Errors in GDP and External Account Calculations

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Papua New Guinea’s budget, released on 3 November and rushed through Parliament the same day, could have been so much better. Given the country’s record deficit levels, fiscal consolidation was vital even before the fall in international commodity prices. However, the proposed expenditure cuts do not match the government’s stated priorities of protecting health, education and infrastructure. They are also excessive – even more than those imposed on Greece as part of its structural adjustment program. Further, the budget suffers from factual errors relating to GDP and the external accounts, a lack of revenue effort, and inadequate transparency. This is the first of two posts providing a detailed analysis of the 2016 PNG Budget.


GDP errors

The budget makes a serious error in calculating PNG’s nominal GDP – and this affects all the key ratios and messaging from the budget. The nominal GDP budget estimates assume there has been no fall in LNG or condensate p…