“The support, on very concessional terms, will be used to fund our budget, strengthen the Government’s general health operations and to respond to COVID impacts around the country,” Ling-Stuckey outlined.
“Protecting lives is the first priority in our war, and this money will strengthen the front-line defenses we have put in place.
“Secondly, it will be used to protect livelihoods and households by supporting the MSMEs that so many Papua New Guineans own or rely upon for income, especially in rural areas. A priority will be enhancing gender equality by promoting women’s involvement in decision-making.
“It is welcome news from the World Bank, in particular the very generous terms.”
The support is part of a coordinated COVID-19 response and recovery plan between Papua New Guinea and major development partners including the IMF, the ADB, Australia, Japan and the United Nations.
It will also help Papua New Guinea strengthen the foundations the Marape Government is laying for sustainable post-pandemic economic recovery.
The financing focuses on plans for fiscal and debt sustainability, greater financial sector efficiency and financial inclusion, and preparing PNG for the impending impacts of climate change.
“There is no point just fighting the coronavirus pandemic and ignoring the structural economic weaknesses,” Ling-Stuckey said.
“There is no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on our country. However, we have been proactive in taking steps to lay out a clear recovery plan to help stabilise the economy, maintain frontline health services and provide support to the business sector, especially MSMEs.
“Beyond the COVID crisis, the Marape Government has made a firm commitment to resume fiscal consolidation to ensure fiscal and debt sustainability and this operation is a strategic partnership with the World Bank to achieve this.”
(World Bank country manager for PNG, Stefano Mocci, briefing Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey at Waigani on Thursday, June 24th)