Ian Ling-Stuckey

Policies to improve living standards: Treasurer

In his Supplementary Budget speech, the Treasurer said he had set out four examples of forward looking policies. They are examples of how they are trying to broaden PNG's economic growth focus away from the resource sector and into the broader economy.

"Following is an extract from my Supplementary Budget speech last Thursday which was under the heading ‘Looking forward’ and provides four specific examples of a new vision for PNG," outlined the Treasurer.

Modernisation of Central Banking Act

“We are borrowing, paying off expensive debt with much cheaper international financing, such as the zero percent interest rate on the no conditions IMF loan received in June,” said Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey.

“One issue with the substantial increase in international financing is that much of it is expected to arrive in December – possibly up to K2.5 billion of it. So we are facing a major cash management challenge of cash arriving late but having to continue paying for our health, education and justice systems.

“A two-stage solution is planned.

K44.5m for MSMEs

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.”

Treasurer: Balancing health and livelihood during COVID-19

“We still know so little about this enemy. There is great uncertainty.

“We know, based on fighting viruses in the past, that measures such as social distancing, washing hands with soap, coughing and sneezing into a cloth or elbow are vital.

“We know that lockdowns can slow the spread of the disease. But what type of lockdown? Just at international or internal borders? Complete lock-down or partial lock-down? And if a partial lock-down, what are the vital actions to protect livelihoods while also reducing health risks? Are we aiming for eradication or suppression?

Treasurer unimpressed with Opposition Leader’s statement

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.

Discussions with NZ to progress economic cooperation

This follows Prime Minister James Marape’s state visit to New Zealand in February where it was agreed to forge closer relations between the two countries.  

“I thanked the New Zealand government for its continuous support for PNG’s economic development,” stated the Treasurer.

Commitment to managing debt, deficits: Treasurer

“The starting point at the time of my appointment as Treasurer on 27th of August 2019 has now been revealed as a debt to GDP ratio of 42 percent,” he said.

“The debt to GDP ratio will be reduced from 42 percent down to 38 percent in just five years. Clearly, getting debt back under control is a long-term task given the mismanagement during the ‘lost decade’.”

The Treasurer said the government was committed to working within the existing legal framework governing borrowing.

Critical economic sectors will grow: Treasurer

They will be driven by a strong performance in the communications sector and broad-based growth in the agriculture, fishing and forestry sector.

Ling-Stuckey says in 2020, real non-resource growth is projected at 3.3 percent. This is the part of the economy that actually brings greatest benefit to our people.

New expenditure rule for fiscal discipline: Treasurer

“For too many years, the vital development budget kept losing out to uncontrolled increases in wages and goods and services expenditure,” stated the Treasurer, Ian Ling-Stuckey.

“One key element of budget repair is to spend the money we have much more wisely. For too many years, the development budget has been squeezed due to rapid increases in the operational budget which covers wages and goods and services expenditure. This was a major structural problem in the budget.

Imminent review of Bank of PNG

Minister Ling-Stuckey responded to a series of questions asked by the Governor for Gulf, Chris Haiveta, in a sitting late last year.

Governor Haiveta asked the Treasury Minister on whether he was willing to undertake a review of the Act, management and the role of the Central Bank in supervising commercial banks and finance institutions to ensure they adhere to government policy.

He further asked if there will be a review of the membership of the board to allow independent, technically qualified board members rather than having industry interest groups in the board.