2018 Budget must focus on people: Ling-Stuckey

The 2018 Budget must focus on building inclusive growth for the people of PNG, says Shadow Minister for Treasury and Finance, Ian Ling-Stuckey.

Ling-Stucky who is a  member of the National Alliance Party said that the National Alliance Party during 2003-2012, had a proud record of high rates of growth in those parts of the economy that affect most people in PNG.

He said with limited statistics, the best measure of inclusive income growth is real non-resource GDP per capita growth rates.

“This is a true measure of economic incomes and welfare in PNG. This measure excludes the effects of the resource sector which benefits few directly, removes the effect of inflation, and allows for population growth.

“From 2003 to 2012 under the National Alliance, growth in incomes total 22 per cent after allowing for inflation and population growth.  Since 2012, incomes have started falling. However, expert commentators such as the UPNG and ANU consider the growth performance has been even worse - much worse.

Ling-Stuckey said PNG need to get the economy growing again in ways that involve more of the people of PNG – not just big resource companies or friends and besties of the current government. 

“We need a big and radical step-up in inclusive growth.

He said according to the World Bank, PNG’s growth rates in 2017, 2018 and 2019 are expected to be the worst in the Asia-Pacific region.

However, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill recently told APEC leaders that PNG economy is improving and growing rapidly.

He told the leaders that PNG’s economy was one of the fastest growing economy, with an average of 5-7 percent economic growth for the past 15 years.

“There are good opportunities for many investors to invest in our country.”

He added that PNG is in a very strategic location that is accessible to markets in China, Japan and others.

Freddy Mou