K1bn funding from Aus: PM

Prime Minister James Marape has announced that the Australian government will provide over K1 billion (USD300 million) of funding to immediately assist the country’s budget and economy.

Prime Minister Marape and Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey agreed to the Landmark Funding Package with Australia.

The PM has conveyed his gratitude to the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Minister Alex Hawke and the people of Australia.

The funding assistance comes after PM Marape’s first state visit to Australia where he had discussions with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morison about the challenges facing the country.

Marape said they successfully negotiated the loan on favourable terms to be the cheapest possible (the LIBOR rate of 2 percent plus 0.5 percent) compared to the more expensive sovereign bond negotiated by the former government with more than 8 percent in interest.

The funding is the first significant concessional loan Australia has offered in many years, which the Prime Minister says reflects the confidence Australia has in the extensive and comprehensive reform program undertaken by the Marape-Steven Government.

The reforms are focused on continuing the urgent task of budget repair through more prudent macroeconomic management, embarking on significant reforms to improve our revenues, to strategically target expenditure towards growing the economy and removing the trade barriers to propel our exports to overseas markets.

Marape said the Treasurer has already released the 2019 Supplementary Budget and will shortly release the 2020 Budget, which will detail how the Australian funding will assist the budget and businesses in Papua New Guinea.

The Treasurer will also use the budget to chart the path to recovery for the budget and the economy for today and over the future.

In response to the country’s development needs, other credible reforms are being taken by the Government, like the appointment of a Ministerial Committee to support the Minister for State Enterprises. This will turn the financial performance of the country’s State-Owned Enterprises around and significantly improve the services they provide to the people of Papua New Guinea.

“This will also oversee the implementation of a detailed and comprehensive Policy Matrix that my Cabinet has approved with the support of the Asian Development Bank,” stated the PM.

Sally Pokiton