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The Papua New Guinea Government will outline its 100 day plan for economic recovery and how to sustain its programs this week.
Acting Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel, last Friday, directed the set up of a small team to compile a list of targets and deliverables for the next 100 days to increase economic activity and install efficient public expenditure.
Flanked by Treasury Secretary Dairi Vele and Gulf Governor Chris Haiveta, Abel said the plan would be worked into a broader comprehensive response to the Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) in a supplementary budget.
Having taken briefs from the department, Abel said that a key priority of the Government was to return the confidence of the people and business community in the economy.
“As we emerge from the National Election and a period of slow global growth we have directed officers to focus on driving our economic growth,” he said.
And leading up to the upcoming Parliamentary session, Mr Abel said the Government will be considering a Supplementary Budget to respond to some of the issues that have arisen “to ensure that we continue to meet some of the targets as projected in our budget and we continue to manage this economy responsibly and live within our means.”
“There are a number of significant things that we can undertake to continue to grow our revenue stream and continue to manage or economy responsibly,” Abel said.
“The first priority of the Alotau Accord II is economic growth through sound revenue and debt management, economic participation and empowerment, ownership rights and equitable benefit sharing. The Government was set to ensure we develop and progress as a people and country.
“The recently released MYEFO had been noted from business and social commentators as-an honest assessment of the Governments fiscal and financial operations.”
He said it was necessary to respond appropriately to the report.
The Deputy Prime Minister said there was mutual agreement in consultations with departments and the private sector to sharpen the focus on increasing revenue and managing expenses.
Increasing revenue will capture the most appropriate means to improve regulatory compliance, increase exports and helping local companies increase their turnover. Whereas the focus on managing debt will aim at efficient spending and getting the most value from our borrowing programs and ensuring that borrowing is on productive means.
Abel also noted the concerns around accessibility of Foreign Exchange and has requested a detailed briefing from the Central Bank Governor and noted that the focus on increasing business activity would capture the issues relating to the availability of foreign exchange.
Meanwhile, the small town of Mendi has come under heavy gunfire with five people reportedly killed on Saturday.
The heavy gun battle between supporters of some regional candidates for Mendi and supporters of incumbent governor William Powi erupted as a result of the failure to count 86 ballot boxes believed to be from the Nipa-Kutubu electorate.
This is despite the Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gama to issuing a directive to stop counting and advising the provincial election manager David Wakias to count all the boxes.
In a letter dated August 4, Gamato instructed Wakias to set aside the 84 ballot boxes in question when the open boxes were admitted for counting while the regional boxes have been set aside.
He ordered Wakias to advise the newly appointed provincial returning officer Michael Ariando to admit the 84 boxes and ensure they were all counted.
Gamato has also directed the boxes to be repatriated to Mt Hagen to be counted there given the volatile situation.
However the failure to adhere to the Electoral Commissioner’s lawful directives has resulted in many lives lost and properties destroyed as both sides took to the streets with bush knives, sticks, stones and guns.
Acting provincial police commander (PPC) Mas Tuman confirmed the deaths and destruction to properties in Mendi town.
He said the total cost of damages is yet to be confirmed but admitted that several lives were lost while many others have sustained injuries.
Sources there said the security forces were outnumbered although they tried to defuse the tension in town.
However with both sides armed with high powered weapons, the town has come to a stand still as it is being used as a battle field.
A policeman on the ground said it was one of the worse fights with many supporters injured and properties destroyed.
The officer said a vehicle was burned and the nearby Mendi Travellers Inn was destroyed. He said many received injuries but could not confirm the number of casualties.
He said a person had his legs chopped off and was admitted at the nearby Kumin Catholic church run health centre and another was shot in a car.
A man was also shot at the main Poroma bus stop, which is yet to be investigated by authorities as it is alleged to have been fired from a police issued firearm.
A senior government official confirmed by phone from Mendi that several dead bodies were put into the Mendi General Hospital morgue.
Governor Powi has condemned the violence and said that the provincial election manager and regional candidates have incited it by defying lawful orders.
He said earlier Wakias has ignored instructions not to count the boxes and has forced the former provincial returning officer Jacob Kurap to declare and this time he has defied order to count the 84 boxes, and yet he defied orders resulting in the deaths.
“Wakias is equally responsible for the deaths. The deaths would not have happened if Wakias had followed orders and after the death of the five men and the millions of kina worth of destruction, he has seen fit to move the counting to (Mt) Hagen,” Powi said.
He said Michael Ariando is the duly appointed PRO and Wakias should allow him to do his job and not overriding his decision to count the boxes and move to neutral ground.
Powi said he also learnt that Wakias has also left behind the boxes but he should learn from his mistakes after lives were lost as a result of his alliance with candidates and serving their interest.
Powi added that he (Wakias) should not dictate and run the show to please the candidates which has cost lives due to his ignorance and direct disobedience of his superior and employer the Electoral Commission.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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