Thursday, 23 February 2017

PNG loses UN voting rights over unpaid annual contributions of about K532,000.00 (US$ 16,7458.84)

by ERIC TLOZEK - ABC Correspondent in PNG.

PAPUA New Guinea has lost its vote in the United Nations General Assembly because it failed to pay its annual contributions.
Key points:

UN announcement highlights recent problems with the PNG Government's payment of bills
Comes after state-owned electricity provider cut services to several government agencies over failure to pay bills
Five other countries — Venezuela, Libya, Sudan, Cape Verde and Vanuatu — have also lost voting rights for non-payment

PNG needs to pay the UN at least $180,000 to regain voting rights.

It is one of six countries whose voting rights have been suspended for non-payment — the others being Venezuela, Libya, Sudan, Cape Verde and Vanuatu.

The UN's announcement highlights recent problems with the PNG Government's payment of bills.

It comes after the state-owned electricity provider, PNG Power, cut services to the country's national parliament, Government House and several government agencies because of their failure to pay bills.

PNG Power said government agencies owed $11 million as of the end of 2016.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister raised the issue of PNG Government debts to NZ companies during a recent visit, and there are other examples of financial management problems.

One of the most disturbing is a reported food shortage at a major prison, Baisu Jail in Mount Hagen.

The jail's catering contractor ceased its services because it had not been paid and staff told local media they had to buy food themselves for 170 starving prisoners.

The UN suspension also comes as PNG strives to become an influential international player.

The country is preparing to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum meetings throughout next year, culminating in the expensive leaders' summit in November.

There has been debate about whether PNG can afford the summit at a time of severe economic contraction and increasing public debt.

The Australian Government has acknowledged it will spend roughly $100 million helping PNG host APEC, which is logistically complicated and requires extensive security preparation.

The ABC contacted PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato and the Department of Foreign Affairs but did not receive a response.

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by FREDDY MOU - PNG LOOP

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has blamed the Department of Foreign Affairs for not paying the United Nations General Assembly annual payments.

O’Neill told Loop PNG in a text message that the funding for the payment of the UN General Assembly has been sitting in a trust account for months.

“Someone in the Department of Foreign Affairs needs to explain why they did not pay,” says O’Neill.

PNG lost its vote in the United Nations General Assembly because it failed to pay its annual contributions of at least (K532,000) for its voting rights.

PNG is one of six countries whose voting rights have been suspended for non-payment — the others being Venezuela, Libya, Sudan, Cape Verde and Vanuatu.

The news of the unpaid contributions have raised concerns with PNG elites and some members of parliament.

One such MP is Oro Governor Gary Juffa who called on the Minister responsible Rimbink Pato to resign and the Prime Minister to voluntarily step aside.

He said while the Prime Minister and his Government assure the people that "the economy is doing well" the country devolves into totalitarianism and withdraws from a key international forum.

“Are we saying we cannot afford this or is this incompetence?

“The Minister responsible should resign immediately and if not the Prime Minister should sideline himself for bringing PNG into shame and ensuring we are not represented.”



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