Australia should not coerce vulnerable people to return to harm
Development goals, peace & getting PNG women into parliament

The 100 day plan – positives tempered by old policies & spin

Charles-AbelPAUL FLANAGAN | PNG Economics

You can read Paul's full and more detailed analysis here

CANBERRA – Papua New Guinea’s new treasurer and deputy prime minister, Charles Abel (pictured), has released the promised 100-day economic stimulus plan (read it 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: fiscal discipline; revenue growth; strengthening the economic base; improving governance; and acting strategically.

There is a focus on raising revenues as well as fiscal discipline and 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 to be a commitment to ongoing sensible strategic budgetary and planning processes.

And there is no mention of the absurd ‘gold bullion bank’ which was raised in the Alotau Accord 2.

Unfortunately, the plan does not appropriately address the challenges and opportunities facing PNG (see my earlier article here).

Fundamentally, there is no shift towards more broad-based development. The ‘economic base’ section is a disappointing mix of known resource and power project prospects and aid programs.

Even in assessing the supplementary budget, there is a missing K2.7 billion in public debt repair required that is not explained.

PNG’s foreign exchange difficulties are misrepresented (rice and fuel are not the biggest drains on foreign exchange).

More will need to be done on the revenue side than is currently being revealed by the government.

I want to stay positive and to give the new treasurer a fair go. There are some positives in the plan. But there is a sense of a Sir Humphrey Appleby in the prime minister’s office thwarting the new treasurer’s aspirations.

A one-page sheet released four weeks into government dominated by a continuation of existing policies, projects, announcements and inaccurate spin in not a great plan.

The supplementary budget, the 30 September monetary policy statement and the 2018 budget will hopefully provide a better benchmark for assessing whether the government has actually learnt from its economic mistakes of the last five years.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

William Dunlop

Paul - Brings to mind Fawlty Towers as well as Sir Humphrey Appleby. (Of which the DVDs were available in Port Moresby in the early 80's within a week of showing in the UK.)

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)