Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey

Gov’t is prepared for the worst

In his statement in Parliament, he outlined where the K5.7 billion COVID1-19 response package went.

The report stated that the funding went towards protecting the people, the budget and the economy of the country.

Minister Ling-Stuckey stated the two largest parts of the response package was designed to firstly, protect the budget in the face of much lower export receipts due to declining oil prices, a big fall from the 2020 budget figure of K92.2 billion down to K81.6 billion and a sharp drop in revenue, ultimately estimated at K2.7 billion.

World Bank support welcomed

“The support, on very concessional terms, will be used to fund our budget, strengthen the Government’s general health operations and to respond to COVID impacts around the country,” Ling-Stuckey outlined.

“Protecting lives is the first priority in our war, and this money will strengthen the front-line defenses we have put in place.

Central budget approved

The K272.7 million budget focuses on building the economic base of the province based on agriculture, tourism and sports.

“Governor Robert Agarobe’s money plan is in good alignment with the Marape Government’s Take Back PNG agenda,” the Treasurer said.

“Its strategy of building on the fundamental strength of Central – the skills of the people and the productivity of their land – is also what underpins our PNG Connect policy to support economic growth by providing the necessary infrastructure and services.

Gulf budget approved

“The budget is an advance on 2020, despite the difficult circumstances the coronavirus has created throughout the country,” Ling-Stuckey said.

“The approved budget of K255.9 million is K61 million more than last year, which is quite an achievement in these hard times and reflects the wealth of experience provided by Gulf’s political leadership.

“I congratulate Governor Chris Haiveta and his provincial assembly and provincial administration for the hard work they have done in pursuit of their vision for the province.”

Second stimulus package planned

“This latest and very severe wave of COVID-19 is having very serious impacts across all of Papua New Guinean society,” he said. “We are not only fighting it to save precious lives, we are also trying to save businesses, jobs and the domestic economy.

“The Marape Government is taking a balanced, whole-of-society approach to protecting the nation, and values suggestions from business and commerce.”

Juffa presents 2021 Budget to Treasurer

The 2021 budget saw a massive increase of K31.5 million from the 2020 budget of K115 million mainly attributed to a number of Public Investment Programs (PIP) under the Marape-Basil Government.

The 2020 budget then was also increased by K30 million mostly due to the establishment of an effective Internal Revenue Collection Division.

Focus on limiting COVID-19 impact

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey described COVID-19 as a “dual killer”.

“It kills on the health front, especially our elderly and those already sick. It also kills on the economic front. The Marape Government is fighting hard on both,” stated Ling-Stuckey.

On the health front, the Marape Government has lifted resources to the health sector by over 25 percent, a lot of that as a result of the Coronavirus Economic Stimulation Package, and the rest from better economic and financial management.

K41.2 million for hospitals

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey said today that Tuesday’s Budget Management Committee meeting No.49 instructed officials to urgently release K41.2 million in cash to Provincial Health Authorities.

“This is a necessary immediate step to deal with the growing COVID-19 health risks across the nation,” he stated.

‘2021 will be better’

Ling-Stuckey outlined that 2020 started with a positive outlook.

“After the economic recession of 2018, growth had bounced back by 6 percent in 2019 under the Marape Government. The prospects were good as the economic reform program, supported by international partners, had begun,” he stated.

“Budget reforms were underway, PNG Connect was underway, foreign exchange reforms were underway, financing reforms were underway, tax avoidance was being targeted, and the growth focus was on supporting the agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and services sector, especially SMEs.

Support to economic reform policies

In a statement, Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey said he had the opportunity to meet with the Australian High Commission on December 3rd, including a conference call with officials from the Australian Treasury, to talk about the broader strategic relationship and PNG’s multi-year budget repair and economic reform program.