Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey

Infrastructural growth discussed

The Treasurer said the Marape-Basil Government has a deep understanding of the transport needs of the people of PNG, adding often, the focus of transport infrastructure is around road construction, linking towns and villages across PNG.

“The PNG Connect program is indeed working to finally link both sides of the mainland as well as around the coastal areas and within islands,” he stated.

Alotau Wharf For Upgrade

Major upgrades to the Alotau Provincial Wharf will begin in quarter 2 of 2022, after the Climate Change and Development Authority and the Milne Bay Provincial Government, signed the construction contract with Pacific Marine Group Limited in December 2021.

The project (Building Resilience to Climate Change) agreement was signed in January 2016, but was delayed until now it is now on course for completion in early 2023.

TUC Calls For Ling-Stuckey’s Sacking

TUC Acting General Secretary, Anton Sekum said the amendment of section 55 of the Central Banking Act has left a permanent dent in the Independence of the Central Bank.

“The people of PNG must braced themselves for a sharp hike in the prices of goods and services and all trade unions will now be forced to seek salary and wages increases from their employers.

Government Introduces 13-year Fiscal Plan

Treasurer, Ian Ling-Stuckey said the fiscal plan framework would enable PNG to have zero debt for the first time ever. However, he said this is not our only option. 

The Treasurer added that if governments maintain the steady path of budget repair and reconstruction, then the 12th Parliament elected by the people in 2027 has profound choices. 

“For example, it could decide to build the budget surplus to 1 per cent of GDP, then the debt to GDP ratio would fall down to 19 percent of GDP and the debt level would drop to below K50 billion. 

Talks Focus On COVID-19, Climate Change

He said that like many of his discussions with PNG’s international friends, there was intense concern about the growing impacts of COVID-19 on the country.

“Our friends are worried about both the health and economic impacts, including the loss of jobs and incomes and budget revenues.

“Some in the opposition pretend that the COVID-19 global pandemic has not affected the economy, but the rest of the rationale world knows that it has caused enormous damage to PNG and the global economy,” Treasurer Ling-Stuckey said.

More Assistance From USAID

He made this announcement during discussions in Washington recently. “This is a welcome development and reflects the Government’s work in rebuilding international partnerships to grow the economy and improve lives,” said Mr 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.”