Business

New Ireland assembly passes 2020 budget

The New Ireland Government has passed a K271 million budget in its last and final Assembly sitting for 2019, held on 18th December.

Of the K271 million 2020 Budget,

  • K160.5 million will come from the National Budget. That is K2 million less than what New Ireland received this year.
  • However internal revenue will total K110.5 million which is up by K4m this year.

“So, despite the reduction in National Government funds, we are increasing internal revenue so we can continue our programs, “Chairperson assisting the Governor in Finance Hon. Misbil Nelson made the announcement while handing down the 2020 New Ireland budget.

The biggest slice of the budget

  • K103.3 million goes to Infrastructure,
  • K95.8 million goes to Recurrent,
  • K35.9 million to the social sector,
  • K23 million to other Development Expenditure (DSIP and SSG Nimamar LLG),
  • Administration K7.7 million, to the Economic sector

K4.9 million and K580,000 to Finance and Planning. “We continue to increase expenditure on Development for our People, while we control what we spend on recurrent costs. Infact, of our Internal Revenue of K110.5 million, we will spend K82 million on Development, and only K29 million on administration and Recurrent costs. That is 75% of Internal Revenue being spent on Development. We spend our money on the people, not on administration or car hires or accommodation and travel expenses,” said Hon Misbil Nelson.

The first strategy of the New Ireland Government is to become more independent in revenue and expenditure. Through Autonomous arrangements and the second strategy is to work together to build a better New Ireland. “The 2020 New Ireland Budget is not just a Provincial Government Budget. No. The 2020 New Ireland Budget is a budget of all the People of New Ireland. It is a Budget of the People, for the People and by the People. Let me give you a few examples of what I mean.

“We are letting the People decide their own priorities for development. Next year we are introducing the Community Development Program. This Program is the new form of the Ward Level Projects, but it is being expanded and improved.

“Next year we will spend K7 million on the Community Development Program. Every Ward in the province will receive more than they have received during any year since the program was introduced in 2014. These funds are to be used on whatever projects you – the People – decide at the local level. This Government trusts the People.”

During the Budget debate, President for Nimamar LLG Stanely Tunut queried why there was no funding allocation for his LLG stating this was the case in previous budgets. Sir Julius in response, “The Mining company, Newcrest has taken so much from the people of Lihir the least it can do is live up to its social responsibility and give back to the people. But don’t worry the New Ireland Government is working on new agreements that will give greater benefits to the landowners. LLG and State But at this juncture I want to thank the people of Lihir for all that you have given to your brothers and sisters in the rest of New Ireland, for that we will always be greatful to you,” said Sir Julius.

President for Namatanai Joshua Takin joining in the debate called on funding meant for the LLGs and wards to be given to the mandated leaders and not politisized. Otherwise he expressed gratitude for the Solar Power Plant project for Namatanai stating that the people of Namatanai have suffered for too long without power supply.

The budget was passed through a resounding vote ofrom both sides of the house. The MP for Kavieng and Treasurer Ian Ling Stuckey, Namatanai MP Walter Schnaubelt and Matalai LLG President Augustine Topi were not present at the sitting.

The Namatanai MP who was present earlier excused himself from the budget sitting, citing unfairness in the running of the Assembly. Matalai President Augustine Topi followed him out as well.

Sir Julius commented that it was: “ Really unnecessary for the Namatanai MP to storm out like that, he knew this was a budget sitting and he knows too well that is the normal order of the day. If he wanted to talk about other issues he should have attended the previous Assembly sittings instead of abstaining himself,” said Sir Julius.

 He was accompanied by Finance and Planning CEO Richard Andia to Port Moresby and handed the New Ireland’s Budget to Treasurer Ian Ling Stuckey. “We are ready to move for our people in 2020, this is a budget that partners with the people, lets all unite and move New Ireland forward,” said Sir Julius.