“This latest and very severe wave of COVID-19 is having very serious impacts across all of Papua New Guinean society,” he said. “We are not only fighting it to save precious lives, we are also trying to save businesses, jobs and the domestic economy.
“The Marape Government is taking a balanced, whole-of-society approach to protecting the nation, and values suggestions from business and commerce.”
Ling-Stuckey said his team received advice on a range of support measures during a recent meeting with representatives of Micro and Small to Medium-sized Enterprises, adding MSMEs need to be involved in the dialogue as early as possible to ensure the government has accurate information when considering a second economic stimulus package.
Ling-Stuckey announced a K5.6 billion economic stimulus package in April last year in response to the first coronavirus impacts on the nation. While it had proved very effective, consideration is now being given to follow-up measures, and extensions to existing support.
The president of the MSME Council, Des Yaninen, presented a 15-point set of recommendations to Treasury. These include:
- A request for banks to place a moratorium on repayments of SME loans;
- More transparency around MSME funding from NDB and BSP;
- Waiving of late lodgment penalties for annual returns to IRC and IPA;
- Recognition of the need to keep businesses operating at the highest level possible;
- Domestic tourism interventions;
- Extension support for agricultural MSMEs to be provided by commodity boards;
- Waiving of provincial and local licensing fees;
- Offering landlords incentives to allow them to extend a grace period to MSMEs that are late in paying office rentals; and
- Transparency and accountability on MPs’ expenditure of coronavirus funds for 2020.
The MSME Council thanked Minister Ling-Stuckey for listening to feedback and looked forward to helping the Marape Government develop an equitable package for MSMEs.
“Treasury will now consult with other stakeholders before finalising a second economic stimulus package to respond to the second COVID-19 wave,” Ling-Stuckey said.
(President of the MSME Council of PNG, Des Yaninen, and James Gore presenting recommendations to assist small business for consideration by the national government)