Treasurer Urges Banks To Cooperate

Minister for Treasury, Ian Ling-Stuckey said full cooperation is needed between the State, Bank of PNG and the commercial banks to address anti-money laundering and fraud policies.

He was responding to queries raised by Governor for East Sepik, Allan Bird in Parliament yesterday.

Minister Ling-Stuckey said there must be cooperation between banks, BPNG and the Government to address issues stemming from certain anti-money laundering and fraud policies that prevents Papua New Guineans from depositing large sums of cash.

Governor Bird said: “Our small people are being harshly dealt with by the banking system. They are not allowed to deposit K1000 in cash.”

He said 80 per cent of Papua New Guineans operate in the informal sector that is largely cash-based. Governor Bird stated that several small businesses in his province struggled to deposit cash in the bank due to banking policy.

He said small business people and family operations in his province struggle to deposit cash in the bank.

“Approximately 60,000 vanilla farmers in East Sepik make almost K5000 monthly but are unable to deposit these sums of cash in the banks.  

He further stated: “Why is that an ordinary Papua New Guinean is not allowed to deposit the equivalent of $250 US dollars. Why can’t the limit be raised and what are the issues?”

“Why are the banks penalizing the small people who are really trying their best and particularly in these last two years of COVID-19 where people are really struggling to put food on the table?”

Governor Bird strongly urged the Minister for Treasury to state who makes the banking policy decisions for the country.

Minister Ling-Stuckey when responding said the State has had a number of meetings with the key stakeholders to try and resolve these issues.

The key stakeholders being the regulator of the financial sector, BPNG, all commercials banks, Department of Finance, Ministry of Treasury and Financial Analysis and Supervision Unit (FASU).

The Treasurer said there has not been much appetite between BPNG and the commercial banks to resolve this problem.

He said the last meeting held in regards to the issue was three to four weeks ago at the APEC Haus. That was the third meeting.

Minister Ling-Stuckey said: “I need the full cooperation of the BPNG and the commercial banks. I will continue to hold meetings with them.

“My patience is running out and if they don’t make decisions to ensure that our guidelines set to them are followed. The Government may be forced to make the decision for them.”

Marysilla Kellerton