Photo credit: Post Courier - Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey
Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey said the Papua New Guinea government had launched a K350 million package to assist households with the rising cost of living.
He stated that the government will do so responsibly, striving at a temporary decrease with expenditures restricted to K350 million as part of a "program of responsible budget repair."
The current idea, according to Ling-Stuckey, is to target GST cutbacks on vital household items such as gasoline, wheat, rice, corned beef, canned fish, biscuits, cooking oil, and women's sanitary products.
“Given feedback from the community and sectoral interests, we are also examining options for partial or full tax relief on fuel, including import taxes on fuel and excise charges on fuel,” he said.
“The necessary legislative changes will be introduced in the Parliament session on April 19.
“The National Executive Council will need to consider workable options before then.
“I have instructed the acting Treasury secretary to convene and continue talks with the Internal Revenue Commission, Customs and the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) to develop a full set of costed options.
“Meetings will occur this week with PNG peak business groups on how best to implement such important administrative changes.
“The war between Ukraine and Russia continues to impact cost-of-living pressures on PNG families.
“As announced in the March session of Parliament, the Marape-Basil Government is determined to make life easier for families and small businesses through GST tax cuts.
“As previously stated in response to some industry groups, just cutting income taxes will only benefit the small proportion of our people in the formal economy, and even then, there will be no benefit for those on minimum wages as they already pay no income taxes.
“The preference is GST and fuel excise and fuel import tax cuts.
“We need to work with businesses to determine a fair, efficient and fast way to deliver these tax cuts. We need to work with the ICCC to ensure these tax cuts are passed on to families.
“I am listening to advise on the proposed household items to benefit from a GST cut.
“I am very concerned about the health of our people, including the increase in obesity levels (some say fatness), which increases the chances of diabetes and heart attack and other health conditions.
“On this basis, I have recommended the removal of sugar from the proposed GST tax cuts with savings allocated to other key household items.
“I look forward to the outcome of consultations with local businesses on how best to deliver these important cost savings for our families.
“I understand that our businesses will need to make these changes and there will be some costs.
“I hope they understand that this is important for our people.
“It is also good for business in that the increased spending power to our families also means that businesses will benefit from that.
“The good, steady hand of budget repair and responsible fiscal management under the Marape-Basil Government and quick responsive targeted and balanced understanding the cost of living pressures on families, targeted tax increases through the additional company tax on those that can afford to pay, and targeted tax reductions flowing through to all families and businesses.”
Reference: Papua New Guinea Today (7 April 2022). “PNG Government Sets K350 Million to help Families”.