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PNG Parliament reconvenes and passes K19.6 billion 2021 budget
05:42 am GMT+12, 17/11/2020, Papua New Guinea

 Papua New Guinea Parliament reconvened today at 10am and Treasurer Ian Ling­Stuckey presented the 2021 Budget before adjourning to 20 April, 2021.
 
The Budget for K19.6 billion (US$5.6 billion) was passed purely on voice.
 
There was an increase of 09 percent compared to the 2020 supplementary Budget.
 
This budget was passed after a tumultuous days of political instability.
 
Opposition leader Belden Namah’s had a mass movement of government MPs crossed to the opposition Friday and they successfully adjourned Parliament to 01 December.
 
This was however overruled by Speaker Job Pomat which said was against Parliamentary procedures.
 
He said Namah couldn’t take such an action. Only a minister or the speaker could adjourn parliament.
 
The bulk of the opposition were still in Vanimo awaiting a planned vote of no confidence in the government on 01 December when Parliament met today.
 
PNG’s Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey launched a stinging parliamentary attack on MPs who have quit the government, as he introduced the bill.  
 
“Another round of power greedy politics that ignored the national interest. Sometimes we are own worst enemy.”  
 
“This was the most cowboy of attempts to overthrow the PM James Marape and his government,” he said.
 
Ling Stuckey told Parliament that the budget needed to be urgently passed.  
 
“We need to get the budget passed… if we let those opposite get their greedy hands on to the budget process, let me assure the house that many of good, cheap finances will simply disappear.”

The Treasurer has warned that the current political turmoil could damage the nation’s access to international finances.  
 
“They have demonstrated no economic credibility, the international community will step back and watch the nature of the new government, and these delays will damage our country and our economy.”
 
There was only 50 of 111 MPs in parliament and there was no opposition to the bills, which passed rapidly.
 
Soon after a motion was also passed that adjourned Parliament until April next year.
 
Prime Minister James Marape said Papua New Guinea is built on democratic foundations that no one politicians like him must break.
 
“Our parliament, our executive and our judiciary are three separate arms of governance of our country that operates within its legal mandate, processes and procedures.
 
“Laws are there if one is discontent, we all go to court. Lest we forget the illegal hijack of power from Somare (Sir Michael) in August of 2011, I am not going to allow this to happen this time, I am sorry,”
 
He said the government which he led for the last 18 months have not broken any laws.
 
“I have learnt the last 18 months and if my stay is longer I will continue where I have started on from including delivering Papua and Pasca LNGs, Pogera reopening and Wafi Golpu without sacrificing the Principles of the generation,” said PM Marape.
 
Meanwhile, Ialibu Pangia MP and former prime minister, Peter O’Neill who was with his lawyers at the Waigani Court House seeking urgent orders to declare the reconvening of parliament sitting today has been advised to properly re-file their application for it to be heard in the Supreme Court.
 
He told the reporters   outside the court house, that the opposition will re-file an application seeking supreme court orders.
 
He was accompanied by lawyers Greg Sheppard, and Philip Tabuchi from Young and Williams lawyers.
 
The refiling of the application follows two unsuccessful attempts to verbally apply for it to be heard before sitting judges Derek Hartshorn, and Colin Makail.
 
They were advised by the courts to have it properly channeled to the supreme court registry first and serving it on parties, before it can be listed to be heard.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/ABC/PACNEWS


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