'Frank' talks on govt owing K290M

THE Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry has described its discussions with Papua New Guinea politicians and revenue officials over non-payments to member companies as “frank”.
'Frank' talks on govt owing K290M 'Frank' talks on govt owing K290M 'Frank' talks on govt owing K290M 'Frank' talks on govt owing K290M 'Frank' talks on govt owing K290M

IRC commissioner Betty Palaso

Staff Reporter

At issue was the issue of non-payment by government to 16 private companies amounting to K290 million.
"There was a frank discussion with the Inland Revenue Commission on the issue of companies being pursued for taxes due being unable to pay because they had not been paid by the government," POMCCI said in a statement.
"This often involved penalties being applied on the outstanding tax. We asked that there be some level of compromise and fairness applied in the system and 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 of penalties.
"IRC also acknowledged that there had been some issues with transfer of data in to the SIGTAS system which may have led to inaccurate assessments, but these issues could be addressed and suitable negotiated," POMCCI said.
POMCCI was represented by Rio Fiocco, David Conn and CPL managing director Mahesh Patel. From the government were Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Charles Abel, IRC commissioner Betty Palaso and deputy commissioner Dr Alois Daton.
POMCCI says the discussion went well with the National Department of Planning (GoPNG) acknowledging the debts and said they were taking steps to address them but with some immediate priorities like public service salaries, debt repayments, outstanding superannuation contributions, "the Treasurer admitted there were no quick or easy fixes but would try to do what he could".
"The Treasurer advised with the implementation of the Public Monies Regularisation Bill this should ensure the government earned monies would come into consolidated revenue and be managed through the proper process in budget management.
"The Treasurer and IRC agreed to improve the communication between POMCCI and IRC so that specific, 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 Alois Daton," POMCCI said.


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