“Indeed, of the 18 benchmarks set out in my presentations to Parliament, 17 have been met and one has had a minor delay as the updated Medium-Term Revenue Strategy has been agreed to by the Ministerial Economic Sub-Committee of the NEC, but not considered yet by the NEC itself,” the Treasurer stated.
In addition, Mr Ling-Stuckey said there has been “staff level” agreement for new benchmarks that will be taken to NEC for consideration.
“During our final meeting of the ‘first review’ visit from September 6 – 21, the IMF review team indicated that less than half of countries passed the first review process of an IMF program.
“Despite all the political critics, PNG is continuing well with its economic reforms on budget repair, lifting incomes, creating jobs, reducing foreign exchange shortages and fighting corruption” stated Treasurer Ling-Stuckey.
“The Marape Government’s closer working relationships with the IMF started in 2019.
“One of the advantages of working with the IMF is that they really test all the numbers the government includes in our budget statements.
“During two weeks of intensive questioning, our staff at Treasury and BPNG have been answering many detailed questions on how the budget is performing, on central bank operations, and how the economy has been performing.
“Getting to the facts, and being transparent are vital for good governance. Our people, and our international partners, can now have much greater confidence in our budget documents and other economic figures.”
He said working with the IMF has clearly benefitted PNG’s credit rating.
“Since the announcement of the program six months ago, the “risk premium” in international markets for PNG has dropped by a third, or nearly 3 percentage points. This has probably helped lower domestic interest costs on the PNG government’s borrowing program.
Ling Stuckey said: “Indeed, the savings in lowering the costs of government borrowing are estimated to be over a billion Kina each year – money that is being re-directed towards the record increases in funding for health and education and law and order that has been provided in recent budgets.
“With staff level agreement on new benchmarks, we will now confirm through NEC that the updated program continues to support the Marape-Rosso Government’s economic reform efforts.
“We did not go to the IMF in crisis – indeed, PNG has record levels of international reserves. We have invited the IMF in to provide their expertise and credibility to support PNG’s own economic reform priorities.
“And as we finalise the processes of this first review over the next two months, PNG stands to benefit from the release of further K330 million in good, cheap, international budget support for the 2023 budget,” stated the Treasurer.