Prime Minister Hon. James Marape stated today that public servants nationwide, who collectively lost K7.3 million in payroll deductions last week, will be refunded in the next pay run scheduled for the following week.
He reassured public servants that, after the upcoming pay run, everything will return to normal.
Prime Minister Marape made this announcement following a meeting with suspended Finance Secretary Sam Penias, suspended Treasury Secretary Andrew Oaeke, and suspended Personnel Management Secretary Taies Sansan. Also present at the meeting were Chief Secretary Ivan Pomalaeu and Justice and Attorney-General Secretary, Dr. Eric Kwa, who are conducting an investigation into the payroll issue that led to last Wednesday’s rioting, arson, and looting in the national capital by opportunists.
“The issue is being looked at in totality with detailed investigations into what took place,” he said.
“I want to assure our public servants that the K7.3 million that was taken out of their pay last week will be reimbursed in the second pay run of the year.
“This works out to about K60 per person, which is a benefit of the K20,000 non-tax threshold of the Pangu Pati-led Government.”
Prime Minister Marape said he queried the suspended secretaries about the implementation of the dependency rebate during the meeting, to which they replied in the negative.
“This dependency rebate has not been implemented as yet, and I directed Treasury not to implement it until it is amended in the February session of Parliament,” he said.
“In the first pay run of 2024 last week, many public servants thought that additional taxes had been imposed.
“I want to assure that this was not influenced by the dependency rebate, which has not been implemented as yet.
“The problem was caused by the non-configuration of the K20,000 non-tax threshold reverting back to the earlier K12,500 non-tax threshold of the previous O’Neill government.”
Prime Minister Marape expressed his desire to identify the individuals responsible for the configuration of the tax.
“There were officers who were supposed to input that but were not at work at the time of the first pay run,” he said.
“The irony of this whole tragic incident is that we were supposed to have given benefits to our public servants; however, we were hit in the face.
“I apologise to our hardworking public servants, including the Police, that some people went to sleep when Pay No. 1 of 2024 was supposed to have been paid according to the right Government policy.
“Papua New Guineans must appreciate that no government, before our time, has lifted the non-tax threshold to K20,000, and also that not too many countries in the world do this.
“We did this because of the hard times our people are going through.”