PNG health and education suffer in Budget – economist

Papua New Guinea 's national parliament in Waigani. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Papua New Guinea government allocations to the health and education sectors have reduced substantially in the last several years, an economist says.

The 2019 Budget, released this week, was bigger than last year, boosted in part by a lift in resource earnings.

But the expected deficit is also high at $US545 million dollars, or two percent of GDP.

The education and health sectors have been struggling to pay wages and provide adequate services.

Paul Flanagan from PNG Economics said the situation would not improve as a result of this Budget.

The increase in education funding was only in line with inflation at 6.6 percent, he said.

“There is no net increase that’s required to pay the teachers the three percent agreement that was planned,” Mr Flanagan said.

“And there is not enough funds there to increase the number of teachers that are actually required for the many, many tens of thousands of PNG students who are coming into schooling each year.

“Overall education has actually suffered some very big cuts since 2015 – cuts of about 30 percent after you allow for inflation. Even more than health which has been cut by 17 percent.”

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