Prime Minister and Treasurer Hon. James Marape today expressed his commitment to thoroughly investigate key issues affecting the country in his capacity as Treasurer. The Prime Minister officially assumed the role of Treasurer following a Cabinet reshuffle announced last Thursday, succeeding Hon. Ian Ling-Stuckey.
The Prime Minister looks forward to a comprehensive review that aligns with the government’s commitment to economic stability and the well-being of the people.
“I will look into major issues affecting the country such as foreign exchange, the Central Bank, national fuel security, how fiscal and monetary policy can work in tandem, and many others,” Prime Minister Marape affirmed.
Acknowledging the accomplishments of his predecessor, he stated, “I am not taking anything away from Hon. Ling-Stuckey, as during his term, he elevated the role of Treasurer over the four challenging years. He will be assisting me as we undertake a holistic review of Treasury, including its relationships with National Planning and Monitoring, Finance, and the Central Bank.”
Over the next three to four weeks, Prime Minister Marape outlined his plan to reposition Treasury, emphasising the importance of finding solutions for outstanding economic issues, particularly foreign exchange and the national fuel security issue involving Puma Energy.
Additionally, the Prime Minister emphasised the need to scrutinise the events at the end of the 2023 financial year to prepare the 2023 Final Budget Outcome (FBO) for Parliament by March 31, in accordance with legal requirements.
Looking at the broader economic landscape, Prime Minister Marape asserted, “I will also engage with the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) to examine the best tax modalities, including personal income tax, corporate income tax, Goods and Services Tax (GST), and other associated taxes. The tax review aims to align with the Pangu Pati’s people-centered approach, exemplified by initiatives like the K20,000 tax threshold, a first in our country.”
Addressing concerns about the impact on the 13-year Fiscal Plan to achieve a debt-free country by 2033, the Prime Minister clarified, “The tax review will not compromise Hon Ling-Stuckey’s fiscal plan. It will encompass the earnings from key projects such as the Papua LNG Project, P’nyang LNG Project, Pasca LNG, the Wildebeest LNG prospect, Wafi-Golpu Mine, and the New Porgera Mine.”
Expressing his personal stance, Prime Minister Marape concluded, “I subscribe to the notion of lesser tax for our people as long as we ringfence the economy. To ensure efficiency in tax collection, we have increased funding to the IRC in the past year and this year.
“We have demonstrated, over the past four years, that increasing funding for capacity-building within the IRC has yielded heightened efficiency and a substantial increase in revenue collection.
“Our achievement lies in doubling tax collection by the IRC, not through a direct tax hike, but rather by enhancing operational efficiency.
“In the current fiscal year, we have earmarked over K80 million to bolster the IRC’s endeavors. Furthermore, we have extended our support to Customs, aiming to fortify the efficiency measures for greater revenue collection and to shield against the impact of the black market economy.
“Upon the successful implementation of these efficiency measures, I am committed to unveiling a new tax regime for Papua New Guinea. This initiative is poised to coincide with the 50th anniversary of our independence, marking a pivotal moment in our fiscal policies.”