The people of Papua New Guinea need to know what happened to more than eight billion Kina in surpluses that was parked in trust accounts under the Somare Government, and has since disappeared.
Speaking at the ground infrastructure.
“We are breaking ground on the 300 bed hospital, this is infrastructure that we can only build if we borrow wisely,” the Prime Minister said.
“These projects, including hospitals, roads, bridges, schools and training colleges, cannot be built from funds in the annual national budget.
“This is the case for Papua New Guinea, and for almost all countries around the world.
“We must thank our friends from China, through EXIM Bank funding we are building this hospital, and it is an example of sensible borrowing for the good of our people.
“Most of the Nation’s debt is through concessional loans, such as with our partners including the Asian Development Bank and the Word Bank, and the interest rates are much lower than commercial options.
“Today our debt stands at around 22 billion Kina, and our debt to GDP is well below 35 percent, that enables us to move back to 30 percent within 12 months.
“Our debt to GDP ratio is in a healthy position, and is in considerably lower than many of the economies in our region and the world.
“You can look at Papua New Guinea’s debt to GDP position compared to countries in APEC and AESAN.
“In the APEC region, eleven of the other 20 APEC economies have higher debt to GDP than Papua New Guinea.
“In the ASEAN region, where there are even more similarities to our economy, seven of the ten members have higher debt to GDP than Papua New Guinea.
“Countries like Singapore sit at around 110 per cent, Japan with 230 per cent, Canada with 100 per cent, Fiji with 50 per cent, Australia with around 45 per cent, Malaysia and Viet Nam at around 55 per cent and the Philippines with around 40 per cent, are all higher than Papua New Guinea in the 30 per cent range.”
The Prime Minister said when people rubbish the national economy, they are ignoring sound management over the past five years, and they would be better to ask questions as to where eight billion Kina went during the 2000’s.
“During the Somare Government, they delivered surplus budget after surplus budget when global commodity prices were high,
“There was more than eight billion Kina from surplus budgets that was placed in trust accounts parked in Waigani.
“With all that money, they never fixed our hospitals, our roads, and our airports, they built nothing in the country.
“Eight billion Kina went missing from the Government, eight billion Kina that belongs to the people of Papua New Guinea, and the National Alliance Somare Government continues to hope that they will never be held to account for this massive theft.
“When we took over, there was almost zero balance in Government accounts. That is why we had to go into deficit budget to build new infrastructure around the country, to pay for our school fees, and to pay for our hospitals in the country that our people deserve.”
The Prime Minister said the Nation is moving beyond the damage of the lost decade of the Morauta and Somare Governments, and one day the theft of the past will be revealed.
“We will make sure that we continue to develop this country, we will continue to bring investment into Papua New Guinea to create jobs.
“We are building the infrastructure, we are delivering the services, and this is all an indication of the economic growth that our country is going through.
“In the next Parliament we will continue to investigate the missing billions of the Somare and Morauta Governments, and bring thieves to account.”