Rigorous bank processes to be discussed

The commercial banks’ stringent regulations will be on the agenda once Treasury arranges a meeting date.

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey is planning on addressing this concern soon.

The subject of rigorous bank processes was brought up during question without notice when Bogia MP, Robert Naguri, expressed his frustration over the rejection of a discretionary fund cheque.

“This cheque was paid by me to one of my disabled public servants, who is my budget officer, to assist him to build his house so when he retires, he can go and settle with his family,” said Naguri.

“It’s a cheque of K20,000 from my discretionary funds. Not project funds or DSIP. The branch manager of Bank South Pacific in Madang rejected that cheque. The branch manager wanted it to be paid the way he wants it to be, not the way I decide it to be.

“I don’t understand if the branch manager knows what the meaning of discretionary funds are.”

Naguri then asked the Treasurer on when he would meet with the bank’s executives, as their project funds had also been delayed, among other issues.

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey said while due process has been followed to approve cheques, banks are also adhering to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing Act of 2015.

“And as a result of those laws, Mr Speaker, the banks have had to put in place certain rules, certain processes and procedures,” he stated. “The anti-money laundering laws are a step in the right direction, but it’s just how they’re implementing it that is creating the frustration and I want to assure this House that the Prime Minister has directed me, on two occasions already, to try and resolve this issue.”

The Treasurer says he intends to call a meeting with the heads of the commercial banks, the Bank of PNG Governor and relevant officers within the departments of finance and treasury to see where amendments can be made.

(Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey)

Carmella Gware