Business in Port Moresby ask Government to pay up K290 million owed

PORT MORESBY, 25 APRIL 2018 (THE NATIONAL) – The Chamber of Commerce in Port Moresby recently discussed with the Papua New Guinea Government a debt totalling more than K290 million (US$89.5 million) the Government owes 16 businesses.

Discussions were held recently with Treasury Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel, according to a statement from Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Rio Fiocco.

Abel is in the United States capital of Washington DC.

Efforts to get a comment from him last night on the result of the discussion were not successful.

According to the Fiocco statement, the discussion went well “with the Government acknowledging the debts” and that “they were taking steps to address them”.

He said Abel told them “there were no quick or easy fixes” but that he would try to do what he could.

“Treasurer (Abel) advised the implementation of the Public Monies Regularisation Bill should ensure the government-earned monies would come into consolidated revenue and be managed through the proper process in budget management,” he said.

The chamber also had “a frank discussion with the Internal Revenue Commission on the issue of companies being pursued taxes due, (but) being unable to pay because they had not been paid by the government”.

“These often-involved penalties being applied on the outstanding tax. We asked that there be some level of compromise and fairness applied in the system.

“The IRC advised they were amenable to that and had over 167 companies currently in payment plans which, if base tax was met, consideration could be given to look into waiving penalties.

“The IRC also acknowledged that there had been some issues with the transfer of data in to the SIGTAS system which may have led to inaccurate assessments. But these issues could be addressed and suitably negotiated.

“The Treasurer and IRC agreed to improve the communication between POMCCI and IRC so that specific (and) proven concerns could be considered to enable business continuity, without forfeiture of debts to the State.

“It was agreed that companies with valid concerns could address their concerns to the chamber through the CEO which would then be communicated to a designated officer at IRC, directly under deputy commissioner Dr Alois Daton.” it said.