Treasurer unimpressed with Opposition Leader’s statement

The Minister for Treasury was not impressed with the Opposition Leader’s claims that the Government will force up the prices of all imported goods by more than 20 percent.

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey said Belden Namah’s statement was ‘extremely irresponsible’.

Opposition Leader Namah recently hosted a press conference to criticise the Government’s coronavirus preparedness as well as query alleged strings attached to the Government’s arrangement with the International Monetary Fund, or IMF.

Treasurer Ling-Stuckey said as the country is facing a major economic crisis because of the coronavirus disease, unsubstantiated statements will only do more damage to the economy.

“I am going through and releasing all of the 31 KPIs included in the IMF Staff Monitored Program. The revenue ones are out, the budget ones had already been given to the press, the remaining ones are being released over coming days. It is very, very clear that the KPIs are from the Marape-Steven’s economic reform program. Of course the standard SMP announcement from the IMF is always similar as they have to meet their own internal rules. But if you look at the actual KPIs in the program documents, it is all about PNG’s home grown reforms. There is no IMF imposed condition of a devaluation of over 20 percent.

“And if he had half a sensible economist advising him, they would have mentioned that a 20 percent devaluation would immediately lift rural incomes by 20 percent because the value of all coffee, cocoa and other cash crops also goes up by 20 percent. So every bag of coffee gets 20 percent more Kina. And a 20 percent devaluation would translate to a 6 percent shift in average prices, not a 20 percent increase.

“There are no plans at all for such a large devaluation – but please don’t try and scare the nation by not indicating that a move in the exchange rate has both winners and losers.”

The Minister encouraged leaders to deal with facts, and propose alternative policies based on facts.

Press release