The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Treasury, Hon. Charles Abel handed over the 2019 Budget on behalf of O'Neill-Abel Government, at the Parliament, yesterday. Theme of this year budget is "Building a Broader Based Economy".

This is the second annual budget presented by this government and builds on the 25 day 100 point plan presented before, last budget session. The government claims to have increased revenue, improved fiscal discipline and enhanced governance.

The budget continues to be guided by the long term visions to, rank among top 50 nations in terms of Human Development Index by 2050 (Vision 2050), be a middle income earning economy by 2030 (PNG DSP 2010-2030), be a world leader in responsible, sustainable developments (StaRS), implement development aspirations as envisaged in Alotau Accord 2 and Medium Term Development Plan 2018-2022.

The ten pillars on which the 2019 budget is based include smaller efficient government, renewed focus on revenue, empowered private sector, simpler and fair fiscal regime, sustainable population growth, self reliant sustainable industries, encourage import replacement, job creation and SME development, Sovereign Wealth Fund creation and good governance

Important highlights are
1. Budget presented at K16.13 billion, as compared to 2018 revised budget estimate of K15.29 billion.
2. Total revenue and grants are estimated at K14.27 billion in 2019 with increase of K0.87 billion from 2018 revised budget estimate of K13.4 billion
3. Tax revenue is estimated at K10.78 billion more than K828 million and Non-tax revenues are estimated at K2.5 billion more than K120 million, from 2018 revised budget.
4. Deficit budget of K1.87 billion with deficit approximately amounting to 2.1% of GDP.
5. More than 50% budget allocation for Key Priority Areas of Education, Infrastructure, Health, Law & Order and Economic & Agriculture.
6. The inflation level expected at 5.4% in 2019.
7. Various tax measures introduced to facilitate increased revenue collection, simplify rules, provide transparency, obtain participation from taxpayers etc.

Kindly click on the link below to read the commentary presented by our Papua New Guinea member, SHISHYA BUSINESS SERVICES