Wages bill too high: PM

By STAYCEY YALO

CLOSE to K300 million has been blown up by public servants over the budgeted amount and this year, it is expected to increase by K130 million (K430 million), according to Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill.

Mr O’Neill while commenting on the presentation of the Supplementary Budget this week in Parliament said many cuts in the budget is to compensate for the over expenditure of public servants every year.

“No country like ours would continue to fund that kind of blow outs. We have talked about this issue over and over again but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears,” he said.

“We have given some specific timelines and guidelines, particularly expenditures on salaries, office expenses and all these cost blow outs that is depriving the right of our people of basic services because we are diverting funds to meet this expenses.

“The Treasurer is trying to get this back on track by providing the Supplementary Budget so that we cut costs and not create expenditure. The economy when we first came in 2012 was sliding into recession and we agreed to operate the budget on deficit to focus on infrastructural development.”

Mr O’Neill reiterated, Sinesine-Yongomugl MP, Kerenga Kua’s statement that the government is not borrowing money but it is focusing on infrastructure, health and education.

Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel when presenting the Supplementary Budget said as a responsible government, they have to spend within their means and as a result were required to adjust to appropriate expenditure to ensure the deficit remains at budgeted level of K1.8 billion or 2.5% of GDP.

Despite a shortfall of K494 million revenue, Mr Abel said, the government is taking decisive steps through its 100 day 25-point plan.

“Tough economic environment underlined the need for tough and urgent action,” he said.

“The first eight months of this year have been very difficult, and the economy has underperformed as a result of the combination of slower global growth, low oil and gas prices, the El Nino drought and the effects of foreign exchange imbalance.

“Consequently, company tax receipts, royalties, and gaming machine tax receipts were all down and total revenue grants for the year were expected to reach K10.9 million, K494 million less than was expected.”

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