By Ian Ling Stuckey
MINISTER FOR TREASURY
PO Parliament House
m: +675 71111777
“It is a great honour to have been asked by Prime Minister Marape to become the new Minister for Treasury. I recognise the huge responsibilities of the position given the budget and economic crises facing PNG and the desperate need for especially a new way forward.
This change coincides with some key members of the opposition deciding it is now too important to assist with the Marape-Davis reform agenda than waiting any longer.
We will not let the Prime Minister down, we will not let the people of PNG down” stated PNG’s new Minister for Treasury, Ian Ling-Stuckey who was sworn in at Government House on 27 August 2019.
“The Prime Minister has accurately stated that the PNG economy has been “struggling and bleeding”. I was encouraged by this honesty, an honesty which had been lacking in the seven years of fake news and fake budgets of the O’Neill years.
Recent statements in Parliament by my predecessor and now colleague has started the process of revealing more about PNG’s true economic situation. In my discussions with the Prime Minister, it is clear he has very high expectations of his Treasurer in delivering the vision of taking back PNG and dramatically lifting our country’s economic performance.
There is a need for major change in our budget and economic policies to match the ambition of the Prime Minister’s vision. When current policies are failing, clearly new policies are required.
“Over the last two years, I have always approached discussion of PNG’s economy with the guidance of the motto “Expose, Oppose and Propose”.
I have worked constantly through my dozens of media releases, my responses to the budget, my questions in Parliament and other speeches to expose the lies and fake news put forward by the O’Neill government. He kept saying things were going well when the people of PNG knew that things were going badly.
“I have continued to oppose bad policies. Bad policies have led to PNG’s annual debt interest bill increasing from K0.4 billion in 2012 to over K2.0 billion in 2018. Our public service wages bill is out of control. Our health and education budgets have been squeezed as a result.
Formal sector job levels are falling. The incomes of our people have been falling. Where do our people find hope when O’Neill’s failed economic policies have destroyed so much hope?
“I am a great believer in PNG and its possibilities. So in addition to exposing lies and opposing bad policies, I have also been proposing better policies. I had set out many ideas for better policies in my budget response speeches.
Of course, as a new member of the Marape-Davis government, I need to reconsider my earlier proposals and ensure they fit with the new government’s economic agenda. The first step will require actually understanding PNG’s current budget and economic position.
I fear not enough has been revealed about the big economic hole dug by the O’Neill regime. I will then work with the other economic ministers, our public service, and a committee of advisors drawing on our local expertise, including from the business, church and community sectors, as well as international expertise, to help formulate better policies.
Over coming weeks, following NEC endorsement where required, I will start setting out these new approaches required to get PNG working again, to get PNG growing again, to make PNG a favoured destination for local and international investment, to make PNG a fairer country again.
This will involve new medium-term fiscal plans, revenue plans and debt plans in the 2020 Budget Strategy. This will involve the need for a Supplementary Budget. There is much hard work ahead. Some of the required adjustment could be painful.
We may need some international support to help reduce the pain of needed adjustments. But PNG needs a new path so that we can really ensure that none of our children are left behind.
“I pay respect to the work of previous Treasurers and their efforts in seeking to improve PNG. I look forward to working with other economic Ministers, including former Treasurers, and all other members of the government, in delivering on the new vision of Prime Minister James Marape” stated PNG’s new Treasurer.
Minister for Treasury
27 August 2019