Prime Minister O’Neill said the decision to relieve the former Treasurer of his portfolio was made in order to maintain confidence in the economy and ensure responsible administration of the Treasury portfolio.
“The Honorable Patrick Pruatich has been relieved of Treasury responsibilities and will remain as minister without portfolio until after the elections,” the Prime Minister said.
“Following recent comments, that have only served to undermine the work and function of the Treasury, his position has become untenable.
“These recent claims on the economy, for which he has had sole responsibility as Treasurer for the past three years of this Government, have undermined his role and credibility.
“Further, recent misleading comments on election funding, which was also under his ministerial delegation, have been driven by political motivation over substance.
“Minister Pruaitch is an experienced member of Cabinet and should know all of the established protocols associated with being a member of the National Executive Council and the Executive Government.
“In this role he is expected to behave in a manner political interests.
“His recent announcement that he wishes to be elected Prime Minister has clouded his judgement and prevents him from continuing to hold on to this position.
“Leaders have to take ownership of the issues and outcomes for which they are responsible, rather than abandoning their prior decisions and actions for political convenience.
“This decision is regrettable, but necessary, in order to maintain confidence in the economy and its continued growth.
“I wish him well in his election nomination, and hope that common sense will prevail during this period where even grown men are driven to making foolish and misguided decisions for the sake of politics.”
The Prime Minister will have responsibility for Treasury and consult with Coalition Partners as to the immediate future of this portfolio allocation.
Treasurer highlights mismanagement of PNG economy
Meanwhile, speaking to the Sunday Chronicles in Port Moresby, the outgoing Treasurer Hon. Patrick Pruaitch made the following statements.
1. PNG will have budget deficits for next 5 years;
1. PNG will have budget deficits for next 5 years;
2. PNG govt borrowed up to K21.6 billion excessive borrowing;
3. Formal sector jobs have fallen since 2014;
4. K3 billion govt borrowing to buy Oil Search shares hidden in Kumul Holdings books;
5. Govt owned entities such as PNG Power, PNG Ports, Telikom, Air Niugini, NAC, Eda Ranu, etc owed millions by govt and struggling to exist even to pay their employees' salaries;
6. PNG Embassies in overseas whose staff are not paid their salaries for 10 months. As a result their children kicked out of schools and offices closed for non payment of rentals;
7. PNG LNG Landowners after 3 years of Spirit of Hela making shipment gas to Asian markets not even a toea is paid as a royalty to landowners;
8. Spending in extravagant projects built at highly inflated costs;
9. Employers reducing their staff level because foreign exchange crises;
10. Inability of Central Bank to raise sovereign bond;
11. Finally, PNG was described as failed state.
Police has no money to run the 2017 elections
On the 10th May 2017, Pruaitch also warned that the ability of the police to deliver a fair and safe 2017 National Election has been compromised by “artificially imposed” funding constraints.
Mr Pruaitch said he was shocked to learn on Friday (4 May) during a meeting with Police Commissioner Gari Baki that the national police force has only received K8 million of its K121 budget allocation for its election operations.
But Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari said on Wednesday(10 May) that there was nothing to be alarmed about as Police have K10 million in their account and the K121 million will be released on a cash flow basis, as part of an exercise to manage funds appropriately.
Pruaitch said: “We are two weeks into the election campaign and our police force should by now have been fully deployed to ensure that a free, fair and safe National Election will be delivered by the time polling ends in July,” he said. “How can the police have their logistics in place when adequate funding is not flowing through?”
But Lupari countered: “Electoral Office has K56 million still there in their trust account and Police have K10 million in their account.
“Every week we will be drawing down funds to two trusts accounts, one managed by Electoral Commissioner and the other looked after by Police Commissioner. Doesn’t mean that this country has got cash flow problems, or this government has cash flow problems.
“As a Papua New Guinean, you have to ask that question, that doesn’t demonstrate to me that we have a huge cash flow problem,” Mr Lupari said.
But Mr Pruaitch said everyone has heard of the plane loads of money delivered by O’Neill cronies in the 2011 political impasse and the 2012 national election. “There are serious concerns the level of corrupt practices encountered in 2012 will continue to be perpetrated again this year,” he said.
The NA Leader said he was confident the leaders of many other political parties would join his call to urge the Peoples’ National Congress (PNC) to stop playing politics with the election process so Papua New Guineans can be confident that the 2017 election outcome will reflect the will of the people.
|Sacked Treasurer Patrick Pruitch (right) with former Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare (middle) and NA candidate for East Sepik regional Allan Bird.|