Marape commends treasurer

He said Treasurer Ling-Stuckey’s presentation updated Papua New Guinea on the state of the economy during the ongoing war against COVID-19.

Marape also commended the Budget Management Committee (BMC) spearheaded by Treasury and Finance for keeping ‘MV PNG afloat in rough seas'.

“If they (BMC) hadn’t done this, we stood every possibility of sinking, but the Treasurer and his team stood strong.

“There were so many lies and deceit spun by the Opposition that we relied on overseas advisors.

Kavieng Finance Woes

In a letter to the Provincial Administrator, Ling Stuckey said he granted the budget conditional approval, and named two conditions that need to be satisfied before full approval is granted.

The conditions are that the provincial development plan 2017-2022 and acquittals on all Lihir royalty funds from 2007 to 2020 must accompany the budget submission.

Stuckey also said in the letter that the funds for the months of January, February, March and April only will be released and the balance of the funds will be frozen until the conditions are met.

Treasurer put on Notice

Mr O’Neill asked the Treasurer to explain the COVID-19 loans that are adding up into billions of Kina.

“Can you assure this House where you are spending this money, so that our people and our country can be aware of the spending the Government is doing to stop the spreading of the COVID-19 in the country.

“Could you give us the exact time frame you will lodge the full report of this loans,” O’Neill asked.

O’Neill said the reason for raising this concern is because the funding are from international organisations that will be repaid by our country and our people.

K462m Western budget approved

The Budget, submitted by Governor Taboi Awi Yoto, consists of National Government grants of K236 million, and internal revenue (mostly from the resources sector) of K226.7 million.

Ling-Stuckey complimented Governor Yoto on the focus of the budget, which reflects the Marape-Basil Government’s agenda for national economic and social development.

He said he and the Treasury would work closely with the Governor and his provincial administration to ensure that the 2021 provincial budget is delivered according to plan.

K1bn support from Japan

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey said the K1 billion provided to the 2020 Budget was welcome support from a long-standing partner and demonstrated the confidence partners had in PNG's economic recovery.

“The assistance was provided as a very, very cheap loan, with an annual interest rate of only 0.01 percent (one-hundredth of a percent), a 15 year loan term and 4 years before any loan principal repayments are required,” stated Ling-Stuckey.

“Funds were allocated to the urgent fight against COVID-19, and general health measures.”

Govt payment system to be reformed

The BMC comprises of Chairman and Treasurer, Ian Ling-Stuckey, Finance Minister John Pundari, Planning Minister Rainbo Paita and his Vice Minister, Dr Kobby Bomareo.

In explaining the purpose of the meeting, Ling-Stuckey said: “We have heard the frustrations of our local businesses, Members of Parliament and Government agencies, with late and declined government payments. This has to stop if we are to deliver services to our people.

Treasurer confident following ADB forecast

“The ADB statistics highlight once again the extraordinarily bad economic impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having around the globe, producing the most challenging economic times in a century. In this global context, the PNG economy is doing so much better than most,” stated the Treasurer, Ian Ling-Stuckey.

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.