Sir Mekere queries PM on loan arrangements

The Government is conducting intense negotiations to build local content into loan arrangements by up to 50 percent.

This will allow local companies to bid for infrastructure projects funded through loan financing.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said this in Parliament yesterday afternoon.

The Prime Minister made the statement when questioned by Moresby North-West MP, Sir Mekere Morauta, about the loan arrangements with the Chinese Government.

Sir Mekere asked the Prime Minister how much debt has the Government accrued through loans with the Chinese Government.

Prime Minister O’Neill defended the loan arrangements saying they were at concessional rates and primarily for infrastructure.

He added they are the first government to negotiate away from the previous arrangement and try to see more local content.

Meanwhile, Sir Mekere said the country was being invaded by Asians who are operating trade stores and little businesses that should be reserved for locals and asked what the Government’s plans are to address this.

O’Neill said the reserved business list has been endorsed by Cabinet and should be implemented.

(Loop file pic)

Cedric Patjole