Ghost names on PNG Government Payroll blows out Budget

TREASURY Minister Don Polye has revealed a further K150 million budget blow-out caused by salary payments to ghost people on government payroll and the fall in commodity prices.
Mr Polye said the 2013 Budget projected a fiscal deficit of 7.2 per cent or K2.5 billion for this year but this has blown-up to 7.7 per cent, that is an additional K150 million on top of the original projection of K2.5 billion.
He said this on Friday during Question Time in Parliament when responding to questions from the Deputy Opposition Leader Sam Basil who asked what the Government was doing to push the deficit past the projected deficit level.
Mr Polye said the projected budget deficit of 7.2 per cent or K2.5 billion was with the within the 32 per cent of the overall GDP (gross domestic product) debt ratio, which was manageable.
He said however that has now gone up to 7.7 per cent or K150 million.
“Now where did the K150 million come from? K78 million has come from personal emoluments at the provincial level. In other words, the salaries and wages that we are paying,” Mr Polye said.
He appealed to provincial governors and administrators to check the workers they were paying at the provincial level to see whether they were casuals, permanent staff, acting appointments or if they were putting excessive people on pay roll or paying the same person for two positions.
He said regardless of whatever irregularities, it has resulted in a K78 million deficit which is manageable compared to last year, when the deficit level reached around K300 million on personal emoluments. He said the balance of the extra K150 million (K72.8 million) came about as a result of the down-turn in commodity prices of major trading goods of oil, copper, cocoa prices and other key agriculture commodity.
“These are the two reasons for the extra blow-out and not because of government over expenditure,” he said.
He said the drop in commodity prices was beyond the Government’s control but thanked Forestry, Fisheries and MVIL for paying K100 million dividend into the consolidated revenue that will off-set some of this additional cost.
“I would like to assure the Parliament and the people that the Government’s management of the budget especially in terms of fiscal controls are sound and good and we will maintain that to the end of the year and next year’s budget will lay out a similar strategy.” Mr Polye said.

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