The Ministerial Economic Committee recently met for three days and will continue meetings for another two days this week, as they work towards finalizing various budget submissions.
Treasurer, Ian Ling-Stuckey said these submissions will cover the operating budget and the capital budget and includes submissions covering key sectors that can help drive growth and jobs through various sectors like Trade and Investment, Agriculture, Tourism, Labour and Employment, Oil Palm, Forestry, Live Stock, Coffee, Communications and SOEs.
Following the first MEC meetings, Ling-Stuckey said the 2024 Budget, guided by the Circular requirements of Prime Minister Marape dated 27 October 2023, they plan to streamline the budget decision-making processes.
“Budgets are hard work. Budgets are where visions hit the realities of limited funds.”
“There is never enough budget moneys to meet all the pressing needs of our people.”
“Tough choices are required. Making good tough choices is helped by good budget processes.”
He said he believes that under the leadership of Prime Minister James Marape, an important innovation in the 2024 budget process is all major budget policy decisions must go through the Ministerial Economic Committee (MEC).
The MEC is one of two key sub-committees of the National Executive Council (NEC).
The MEC considers all economic related submissions with major financial implications.
“The requirement for all budget submissions with financial implications to go through the MEC means that there is more time devoted for analysis, discussion and debate including input from relevant government departments.”
The Treasurer said these discussions are based on an agreed budget framework as set out in the third year of the 13-year Budget Repair Plan.
As announced at the last Parliament session, and as supported by the Opposition, another billion Kina reduction in the budget deficit is the target for 2024.
All on the path to a budget surplus by 2027, and the option to repay all debt by 2034.
“By considering all these budget submissions close together, Ministers are better informed of the merits of different proposals. There is a chance to consider the trade-offs.”
He further added that there is the information and context to recommend the best practical way to meet the needs of struggling PNG families within the limited funds available.
“All of these budget deliberations will require final NEC endorsement and our National Parliament for its formal decision.”