Parliament passes budget bills in lightning session, then adjourns until April 2021


Parliament sat briefly and unexpectedly yesterday to pass the 2021 National Budget legislation after Speaker Job Pomat ruled that last Friday’s surprise adjournment was illegal. It may not sit again until April 2021.

Parliament in session yesterday, with the Opposition benches empty. Credit: Loop PNG

Parliament opened yesterday morning with the Opposition completely absent, and passed legislation necessary to pass the 2021 National Budget, before adjourning until 20 April 2021.

Most Opposition members had flown to Vanimo following Friday’s adjournment of Parliament and were not present.

‘We cannot delay the Budget, which means our negotiations with International partners are also delayed,’ Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey told Parliament. ‘These delays will damage our country and our economy.’

Business Advantage PNG understands the session was so impromptu that copies of the budget papers had not yet been printed, while the traditional pre-budget lock-up for economists and the media was cancelled to make way for the session.

Business Advantage PNG is running a special free online business briefing on the Budget tomorrow morning at 9am PNG time (Thursday 19 November). For further information, visit: or click on the image above.

Most challenging

Click on the image above to read the Budget Speech in full

In introducing the budget to Parliament, Ling-Stuckey was keen to emphasise the impact of global factors on PNG’s finances.

‘The domestic and international context for our 2021 budget is the most challenging in our nation’s history. Since 1975, there has never been … a global crisis as the one we are now facing today,’ he said.

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The Treasurer said government expenditure was expected to reach K19.61 billion in 2021 – ‘a very substantial increase of 9%’ on the K17.99 billion in the 2020 supplementary budget.

He remarked that this was ‘still not enough’, with projected revenues expected to total only K13.00 billion – an increase of K1.64 billion or 14.4% on the supplementary budget.

Deficit and debt

As detailed in the Budget Strategy Paper released last week, Ling-Stuckey said the government’s budget deficit was projected to be K6.6 billion in 2021.

While this sum would be funded by the government acquiring additional debt, Ling-Stuckey stated that the debt would be substantially cheaper to service than previous debts thanks to lower concessional rates granted by lenders.

He also said the government was committed to bringing the deficit under control in future years.

‘We’ll see a rapid decline in our deficit as a share of GDP. Specifically, after hitting a high of 9% in April 2020, the deficit declined to 8.1% in the supplementary budget, 7.3% this year, 5.3% in 2022, 3.2% in 2023 and then sustainable levels of around 2% for the following years.’

The Treasurer also presented some bullish growth projections for PNG’s economy. He said PNG’s GDP would grow by over 10.6% in the next two years, from K81.6 billion this year to K90.3 billion in 2022.

‘Shortly, we will become a K100 billion economy,’ he said.


By suspending Parliament until April next year, the government led by Prime Minister James Marape has bought itself time to not only to conclude negotiations over its debt financing but also to resolve negotiations on the forthcoming resources projects such as Papua LNG and Wafi-Golpu, and the reopening of the Porgera gold mine.

However, the Opposition is reported to be seeking a ruling from PNG’s Supreme Court on the legality of yesterdays’ parliamentary session. A ruling in its favour, and the budget may need to be revisited.


  1. Good to see someone taking some action and helping the people of PNG after the exploration by the oil companies and the gold mining companies from Australia and the US

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