PORT MORESBY – I commend Barrick Niugini Limited for contributing K59.3 million to the national government as a forward payment of its taxes.
This is a second example of a major business being willing to pay its taxes early and follows on the example of British American Tobacco in bringing forward K250 million in excise collections.
Papua New Guinea is facing cash flow shortages. This is to be expected as we continue the difficult work of budget repair.
However, PNG is also facing a potential health emergency as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID19).
There is a need to support our health system and ensure that all necessary preparations are underway. We can’t let cash shortages get in the way of this vital health work.
The business community understands many of the challenges faced by the government delivering goods and services when cash flow targets are not met.
Barrick has shown that the private sector wants to assist in improving efficiency of service delivery by making funds available.
This is extremely timely given the importance of finding the cash to prepare for the coronavirus.
The current focus of encouraging the early payment of taxes is to support preparations for the coronavirus. Looking forward, there is a fundamental underlying problem in that we need funds early in the year but we receive more of our taxes late in the year.
I am now reviewing ways and means for improving government revenue raising measures and financing so that the people of PNG can benefit from better cash flow management – so that our cash needs better matches our cash receipts.
This new initiative by the Marape-Stevens governments of encouraging more funds being available at the beginning of the year will help enable better implementation of government programs.
I urge other businesses to join the new initiative to fight the coronavirus as well as improve overall government performance through better cash management.
I welcome other businesses that are willing to step forward and also pay their taxes early.