Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey says this targeted, decentralised support will get to those who need it most as quickly as possible.
“The money – K500,000 for each district – has already begun to flow to district COVID-19 accounts.
“The informal sector and MSMEs are the backbone of the rural economy and provide livelihoods for over 80 percent of the population. By supporting MSMEs, we support the rural and subsistence economy throughout the nation, which has been hard hit by the State of Emergency lockdown.”
The MSME stimulus will support families and communities in remote locations as well as those living around the major towns and cities. The funds must be used for activities that support MSMEs and be in addition to those already planned through the District Services Improvement Program.
The funds can be used for activities such as:
- Lowering market fees for vendors;
- Spending on small-scale infrastructure that provides both health and economic benefits such as market upgrades;
- Spending that boosts local employment through MSMEs;
- Support for farmers to get goods to urban markets through produce aggregation and transportation;
- Financial literacy and small business training, and
- Similar activities that help women and men alike.
The funds should be spent locally rather than directed to businesses outside the district wherever possible.
“These funds are deliberately provided at the local level to help ensure local MSME needs are best met. There is a larger national program of MSME assistance worth K200 million which is being organised through the major banks to provide low-cost, long-term finance to MSMEs.
“MSMEs are also receiving support through other COVID-19 support programs. For example, the K111 million support package for agriculture and food security will also benefit small, local businesses. The K60 million WASH program will include support for better public hygiene facilities in local markets.
“Every district will receive K2 million in total through these programs – K1 million for agriculture, K0.5 million for WASH and K0.5 million for MSMEs. We are confident that all three of these programs, being implemented at local level, will be properly coordinated,” stated Treasurer Ling-Stuckey.
Provinces and districts are to report on all spending, in accordance with Finance Instruction 5-2020 on COVID 19 procurement and reporting requirements, which is available on the government’s procurement website (http://www.procurement.gov.pg/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/FI-05-2020-Expe...).
All local communities are encouraged to share photographs or progress reports on social media on the ways they have been using these funds in their local communities.
(From left: Finance & Rural Development Minister, Rainbo Paita, Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey and National Planning Minister, Sam Basil)