The Papua New Guinean government has proposed a cut in the goods and services tax (GST) for six months to help ease cost-of-living pressures, but the Highlands Farmers and Settlers Association disagrees with the move.

The GST cut would be applied to certain household goods, services, and fuel products such as petrol, diesel, and kerosene. However, Wilson Thompson, the president of the Highlands Farmers and Settlers Association, has expressed his opposition to the move.

Mr Thompson said, “We appreciate the Government’s response to price increase but warns that it will only add to administrative costs and create uncertainty in the business and the economy, and prices will still increase.

“We request the Government to rescind the imposition or reduce the increase in non-tax fees, charges and levies that has direct bearing on food production and domestic manufacturing sector that caused increases in price of goods and services,” Thompson said.

“All fuel levy and surcharge that had caused rising costs of land, air and sea transport must be cut off,” he added.

“The Government needs the money, but it should be careful at where it is collecting its revenue as it is affecting the 85 per cent of the people who rely on agriculture for sustenance and 100 per cent of the people who eat imported or locally produced food, use transport to access health and education services.

“But we believe that Independent Consumer and Competition Commission is the independent entity that can review the critical areas that we have raised, and surely if nothing is done, most price increases will take effect on Friday and is serious,” Mr Thompson said.

Caption: Mr Thompson is the President of the Eastern Highlands Agriculture Society Inc. (since 2008) and Farmers and Settlers Association Inc. (since 2012). Picture credit PNG National Research Institute.