FINANCE MINISTER REJECTED BUDGET SPECULATIONS

Minister Rick Hou rejects Sasako's claims. Photo: Courtesy of Pacific Policy

Minister Rick Hou rejects Sasako’s claims. Photo: Courtesy of Pacific Policy

The Ministry of Finance and Treasury has rejected recent speculations that the 2014 Budget is in Crisis.

The Ministry made the statement in response to a news article by Alfred Sasako, who claimed the Government is facing a budget crisis on funding for constituency development this year.

In his article, Sasako claimed the so-called budget crisis has forced Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo to slash this year’s funding by sixty percent.

But Permanent Secretary for Finance, Shadrach Fanega says constituency development funds have been reduced by around 39 per cent on amounts provided in the 2013 Budget, because Parliament will be dissolved in early September, and the national general election will be held in around October.

Mr Fanega said this is good financial management on behalf of the Government, and appropriate to reflect the shortened opportunity to commit funding due to the elections this year.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s Office has called on Alfred Sasako to exercise responsible journalism and to check his facts first to avoid writing ill-informed stories that misleads the world.

Press Secretary to the Prime Minister, Douglas Marau said Sasako has only belittled himself as a self-styled veteran journalist by glorifying unfounded claims in the media.

Mr Marau described the reporting as “ridiculous and unprofessional” for someone in Sasako’s caliber to practice journalism that’s fed with “hearsay and filled with inaccuracy”.

The Press Secretary also said “Sasako needs go back to the basics by exercise responsibility and fairness in his reporting”.

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