Treasurer

Nearly K18bn economic growth forecast

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey said this growth is for the people of PNG as the growth forecast will mainly benefit the non-resource economy.

The 2021 budget was passed today with only 49 MPs from the Government bench.

In his budget speech, under the theme ‘consolidation for growth’, Minister for Treasury, Ling-Stuckey, said PNG’s economy is expected to grow by nearly K18 billion over the next two years; from K81 billion to K99 billion.

SOE reform program initiated

“This programme encompasses all SOEs. It will bolster their financial and technical capacities and, together with greater transparency and accountability, will underpin PNG’s long-term economic growth prospects and potential.”

The SOE reform program is being supported by a US$500 million loan approved by the ADB with the initial US$100 million provided in 2021.

“The Opposition will jump up and down and just say more debt. But as a businessman I am willing to borrow if my returns are much greater. This loan from the ADB will be at an interest rate of less than one percent.

Treasurer acknowledges Aust for economic support

Australia has indicated that it will provide - in their fiscal year 2020/21 - A$596 million (K1,252 million) in economic assistance as grant funding. In addition, they have agreed to suspend interest and principal repayments for the US$300 million (K742 million) concessional loan provided last November.

Australia is also providing a major COVID-19 economic assistance package, guaranteed PNG would be part of a major vaccine distribution program when one is available, and is providing additional support through a new infrastructure facility.

Govt forced to renegotiate K375m loan: Treasurer

Ling-Stuckey said this involves a deal by the former government that saw them agree to a K375 million one off payment, if Petromin (now Kumul Minerals) failed to service a BSP loan for the Solwara-1 deep sea mining venture.

“The National Executive Council recently, had no choice but to restructure the debt, which has been transferred from the former Petromin subsidiary, Eda Kopa, to the Department of Treasury.

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.

No conditions attached with IMF loan: Treasurer

Ling-Stuckey clarified this again, for the member for North Waghi Fabian Pok.

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stucky, who was questioned on this by the member for Ialibu-Pangia on Tuesday, repeated that the loan was interest free with no conditions attached.

“There are no conditions attached to the IMF loan,” says the Treasurer.

However, the former Prime Minister and Ialibu Pangia MP Peter O’Neill remained unconvinced.

“There are two conditions that are normally given by the IMF to member countries that are seeking this.

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.”

Namah calls for audit into COVID-19 funds

Namah made this call in a press conference in Port Moresby.

Leader of the Opposition Belden Namah is calling on the Government to tell the people of the country how the 23 million Kina COVID-19 funds is being spent as there is no supplementary budget to cater for the expenses.

Mr Namah made this call after Treasurer Ian Ling Stuckey announced an additional K600 million to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

“Whilst all the rest of the world is scaling down on its response on COVID-19, PNG is scaling up with its response.

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?