Treasurer focuses on securing good, cheap finance

The Minister for Treasury, Ian Ling-Stuckey, says his recent trip to Washington DC was focused on getting more World Bank assistance for the people of PNG.

“World Bank loans represent good, cheap finance – the type of assistance that PNG should be seeking rather than expensive borrowings from private banks,” stated the Treasurer after his October 17-19 trip.

“The trip linked in with the annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF of which I am by ex-officio, PNG’s Governor. Sometimes one must travel overseas to talk to the very senior people who in reality simply do not come to Port Moresby that often.

“Let me give you three specific, successful outcomes from this visit.

“First, in our discussion with very senior people, it became clear that without some urgent action from the Marape-Steven government, we had three major projects worth over K350 million at risk. If we don’t take urgent action, this K350 million will be given to other countries. We would have lost vital assistance in the agriculture, health and employment areas.

“By talking directly to senior World Bank management, we now have a path forward to stop these funds being given away to other countries. This is good assistance available at very cheap rates – essentially 0 percent interest with repayment terms of up to 30 years.

“Second, there was the second part of a budget support loan worth K224 million that is also at risk. We talked through the reform processes that we have commenced with our Due Diligence/IMF process and the Supplementary Budget. Frankly, they were pretty impressed. We outlined the next steps we are taking heading towards the 2020 Budget and securing these funds is now much more likely.

“Third, we found some new possibilities for increased funding. I can’t go into specifics, but some of these options could include concessional funds of close to one billion Kina. Access to these will require more honesty.

“Our meetings in Washington indicated that there is friendly foreign support that is willing to assist us to take these steps. Subject to meeting PNG’s priorities and our national interests, and qualifying as good cheap loans, we should accept such assistance.

“I will also be heading to the Asian Development Bank to pursue other options for securing good cheap assistance. This is all part of a coordinated program of better economic policies so we can start increasing incomes and creating more jobs,” stated Treasurer Ling-Stuckey.

(Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey, right, during a World Bank and IMF meeting in October)

Press release