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Papua New Guinea’s Fiscal Frailty
Source: islandsbusiness.com
Source Date: Thursday, August 14, 2014
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: Papua New Guinea
Created: Aug 20, 2014

Despite having one of the fastest growing economies in the world and a booming resource sector, PNG is facing its own ‘resource curse’. Six months into 2014, the government appears to have fallen short in sticking to its budget plans.

Over recent months, a few morsels of information have come to light suggesting that the financial situation is tightening around the government of Papua New Guinea. Now with the benefit of the Treasury’s mid-year report we have a much clearer picture. As expected, it’s not a pretty one.

What we see is a government struggling to play by its own fiscal rules or to deliver on its own budget plans. It’s not obvious how long the country can safely continue down this path. PiPP’s latest Open Budgets analysis by economist Mark Evans looks at these issues. He warns that, left unchecked, the current state of affairs, ‘can lead to a place where the government is unable to pay its bills, where it’s forced to default on its debt or even to suffer externally imposed austerity.’

Questions need to be asked of the government of PNG. Are they aware of the growing risks? Are they taking steps to address them? The Pacific Institute of Public Policy’s Pacific Open Data (pacificopendata.com) service exists to shine a light on policy-related questions. Using new visualisation technologies and approaches, it makes specialised information more approachable and usable. By visualising data in ways that help everyone grasp the impact of budgeting and other important policy decisions, we hope to make it easier for people from all walks of life to better understand how government decisions affect their day-to-day existence.

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