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PNG Opposition leader says PM Marape mocked parliament democracy
05:40 am GMT+12, 18/11/2020, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea Opposition camp has described Tuesday's Parliament sitting as a mockery of parliamentary processes and principles.  
 
In a statement, the leader claimed the sitting was illegal because members of the opposition were not properly informed, thus the matter will be challenged in the Supreme Court.
 
Opposition Leader Belden Namah said all actions and proceedings of Parliament, including purportedly passing of the 2021 national budget are invalid and asked people to be wary of implementing the budget.  
 
He added the Speaker's conduct in reconvening Parliament and the entire conduct on the floor of Parliament makes a mockery of the proud tradition of parliamentary democracy.  
 
Namah questioned how members passed the 2021 budget on voices when there was no input from the opposition.

He claimed the budget was done in a hurry, and was an insult to the country because it was not certified by the Solicitor General and the First Legislative Council.
 
Namah said they are yet to view details of the budget. All they know is that the expenditure has been increased by K1.6 billion (US$456 million) from 2020 levels to unsustainable levels at K19. 6 billion (US$5.48 billion while revenue remains at K1.3 billion (US$370 million).  
 
The budget deficit is put at K6.6 billion (US$1.8 billion) and total debt at K48 billion (US$13.6 billion) which is 53 percent of the GDP.  

He said they will not study the budget because it is not the budget of the country, adding that it has not been studied, properly debated and voted on by majority of the members.  
 
Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey described the 2021 National Budget as a 'responsible budget adding that government aims to reduce the deficit as quickly as possible.

Prime Minister James Marape right after the budget said, November is the budget session and it's in the best interest of the country that government pass the budget.
 
Marape said the Opposition Leader hijacked the Parliamentary procedure last Friday and adjourned Parliament.
 
The Prime Minister told reporters the Speaker was doing the right thing when he reconvened the house which enabled government to conduct normal business including the passage of the budget.
 
Marape also thanked MP's who were present to pass the budget.
 
Treasury Secretary Dairi Vele told NBC news a proper media release on the budget would be made available soon.

SOURCE: NBC NEWS PNG/PACNEWS


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