The Connect PNG (Implementation and Funding Arrangements) Bill 2021 that was passed in Parliament yesterday will commit governments for the next 20 years and undermine the budget process by pre-empting it.
Alotau MP Charles Abel said the main issue in relation to the new law is that this Parliament is trying to make budget decisions for the next four governments.
He said such important legislation committing K20 billion over 20 years to be deposited into a trust account needs to be properly scrutinised and debated upon.
“We have had so many bad experiences with the placement of funds into trust accounts where they tend to bypass proper scrutiny and are abused,” Mr Abel said.
“We have bad experiences with the creation of structures like Kumul and the statutory authorities that undermine government and create parallel systems which results in government budgets having no money and running massive deficits.”
“No one is against building the road network in PNG. In fact, we are talking about the same highways and missing links but each new government simply comes up with a new name for a new program and creates unnecessary confusion amongst government’s agencies and development partners.”
Mr Abel also highlighted as an aside that seaways, waterways and rural airstrips continue to be given low priority.
“My recommendation is that we support the government budget process and oversight, not undermine it like this new law does.”