Opposition Leader

PM brushes away Opposition’s claims

Opposition Leader Patrick Pruaitch accused the Government of diverting K150 million to a separate account rather than the Disaster Trust Account set up on March 1, 2018.

He claimed that there has been no transparency on the restoration work carried out by the Controller of National Disaster state-of-emergency.

Opposition calls for probe into disaster funds

He claimed that there has been no transparency on the restoration work carried out by the Controller of National Disaster state-of-emergency.

Pruaitch, in a statement, accused the Government for turning a blind eye to the suffering of tens of thousands of Papua New Guineans in the badly hit provinces of Southern Highlands, Hela, Western and Gulf.

He said conflicting information has been provided on funding for earthquake impacted provinces by the Department of Treasury and Dr Bill Hamblin, Controller of National Disaster state-of-emergency.

Opposition calls for tax explanation

Mr Pruaitch said the public is entitled to facts and not rhetoric explaining why Kumul’s tax figure for 2014 alone was much higher than the total tax paid by Kumul Petroleum for the three years to 2016.

The Opposition leader said the Internal Revenue Commission records released in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) annual reports show that the total tax paid to IRC by Kumul Petroleum in 2014, 2015 and 2016 was only K127.5 million, or K115 million less than what was due in 2014.

Pruaitch on cash flow issues

That was his response when responding to Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel on cash flow issues in the country.

The Opposition leader said his advice from his very first budget in 2014 was to sharply curtail the level of borrowing.

He added that when Government is in receipt of record revenue, it is not the time to be making excessive loans and running large fiscal deficits.

He said the Government borrowed far too much in a brief period and most of it has been misspent.

Opposition calls for disaster report

Pruaitch in a statement said the aftermath of the disaster has seen ongoing clan fighting, chaos, law and order issues in Hela and Southern Highlands provinces.

Pruaitch raised this concern as the Government’s report was due nine weeks ago.

He said the Government is yet to provide a clear account of the extent of damages and devastation and future plans for the people affected.

Opposition commends OC’s report

Pruaitch said if the Ombudsman had not investigated a 10-year Build-Operate-Lease-Transfer (BOLT) agreement, the National Government would have agreed to pay K981.79 million annually for Government accommodation it planned to build.

Pruaitch claimed that the annual lease payment would have been more than four times the total current office rental paid by Government if the negotiation had gone through.

Deputy PM assures landowners of royalty payment

He said the landowners have to get their facts right and deal with land boundaries and clan vetting exercise before the Government can release the royalty payment.

Abel added that the Government is still committed in releasing the funding that was rightfully belong to the people and will not hold back if everything is in order.

The Deputy Prime Minister was responding to questions from the Opposition leader, Patrick Pruaitch on Wednesday.

“When will the Government fulfill its commitment in releasing the royalty payment to the landowners?

Masiu appointed deputy opposition leader

When announcing the shadow cabinet, Opposition Leader Patrick Pruaitch said Masiu, 53, has a solid background in community socio-economic development issues and is destined to play a key role in Parliament as Deputy Opposition Leader.

Masiu, who entered Parliament after a by-election in July 2016 and regained his seat in the recent general election, spent his early career as a journalist and broadcaster prior to taking on key advisory roles in government.

​Pruaitch welcomes Oil Search decision

Pruaitch says he stood by his earlier statement that it is in the national interest for locally produced resources such as crude oil, copper, gold, fishery and forest products, to be sold to local purchasers in PNG’s national currency, the Kina.

Pruaitch believes it is an infringement of our sovereignty for lenders, or any other entity, to insist that domestic resources have to be paid for in US dollars or other foreign currencies, even when sold to PNG buyers.

Such arrangements add to the cost of doing business and hamper efforts to encourage domestic processing.

Basil’s move strengthens Alliance: Pruaitch

Opposition Leader, Patrick Pruaitch in a statement said Basil’s decision surprised leaders within the Alliance although the public received early warning through media reports that a crossover was about to happen.

“A formal announcement was delayed allowing for negotiations on the ‘30 pieces of silver’ needed to entice 12 Pangu Pati members across to Government, rather than the initial nine or 10 MPs,” he said.

Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, currently has 73 MPs in the ruling coalition, giving him the ability to dominate Parliament and to bulldoze through any legislation.