Marape dismisses claims of 2015 budget being unsafe due to fall of oil prices

The Government is confident the 2015 Budget assumptions are?safe despite the fall in the price of oil.

Finance Minister James Marape said this yesterday, despite?the doom and gloom predictions of an Opposition Leader determined to talk down?a growing?economy.

?While we welcome the advice proposed by the Opposition,?this needs to be based on fact instead of drivel,? MrMarape said.

?There is no cause for alarm and this is not the time for a?knee-jerk reaction, as proposed by the Opposition.

?A number of factors have contributed to the current market,?with the oil price trending downwards. In less than two months the global oil?price slumped about?35%. It may take the same period, if not less, for the?price to climb back up and beyond.

?You do not have to be a former Treasurer to understand that?this is how a market works.??Even high?school students know that markets fluctuate, so I think?the former Treasurer?could be more considered in what he says.

?As a responsible government, we are watching these trends?very closely. We are not about to over-react, nor should anyone else.

?The factors causing these price swings are beyond our?control. All we can do is closely and carefully monitor the situation, and act?to protect our interest?when the time to review our budget comes around. That?time is June next year when Treasury releases a review of the Budget.

Mr Marape said forecast for the revenue from the PNG LNG?project remain on track because the sale price was locked into long term?contract agreements?signed with the customers.?

Minister Marape also said the Central Bank?s decision to?intervene in the currency market is a decision that the government welcomes.

?The buy and sell margins were too wide, and the commercial?banks were sitting back and making money at the foreign exchange market, at the?expense of?our people and visitors, so the Central Bank intervention is timely?and one we fully support.

?The kina exchange rate against its major trading currencies?remains stable around levels very attractive to exporters. Members (MPs) should?be back in the?villages using their district funds to help people get their?coffee, copra and cocoa and other export crops to the market.

?Members (MPs) should not be holed up in hotels in Port?Moresby listening to prophets of doom who preach nothing but negative politics.?It?s the festive?period and we must be with our people to celebrate Christmas,??MrMarape said.