Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey

Gov’t seeks to shift away from loans

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey when meeting with the head of the MCC, Alison Allbright, during his recent visit to Washington said this is all part of the government’s Targeted Grants Strategy (TGS), where they are seeking to move from loans to more and more grants to support PNG’s economic reform program.

“The MCC pre-qualification process is a demanding one. Currently, PNG is a long way from qualifying.  It will take several years to improve on enough indicators to get access to the potentially large grants available.

Kimbe Hospital funding still being finalized

Treasurer Ian Ling Stuckey responded saying that it is not a straightforward issue but the government is getting there, stating ‘hopefully’ he will have some good news to report to Governor Muthuvel in the near future.

“Kimbe hospital will cost around K300 million. That’s a very large project so that requires a lot of assessment. To get straight to the point, the status of the Kimber hospital, treasury is now finalizing an NEC submission to take to cabinet to endorse this particular project.

Treasurer says there are five other similar large projects totaling K1.2 billion.

Treasurer discusses banking regulation impediment

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey said too many of our people are left unbanked, and those in the banking system face high costs and often, poor services.

“Part of the problem is domestic, where businesses keep telling me of excessive red tape,” said the Treasurer.

Treasurer confirms US100 million per month to be released

“First is to assess the specific issues of whether PUMA has breached our country’s banking and taxation requirements. 

Ling-Stuckey said, “We are checking the facts in our discussions with PUMA and Government agencies.”

The treasurer also highlighted the need to address failings in the fuel market, including the appropriateness of some long-term contracts going back to the InterOil days adding that the Prime Minister has announced actions underway on this. 

Labour mobility opportunities for PNG

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey said this will result in them sending some of their high wages back home, and then return with increased skills and knowledge. 

Mr Ling-Stuckey added that the Marape-Rosso Government is moving forward quickly with these new labour mobility options, seeing already an increase of over 1000 percent in the number of workers going overseas in just one year. 

The initial target is 8,000 workers by 2025, although the success of the program to date may mean this target could be further increased. 

Treasurer pushes for employment opportunities

He said most of the over 1,500 PNG workers in Australia are focused on the agriculture and Meat Works sector.

“There are major opportunities in other sectors in Australia, especially in aged and health care where Australia has massive labour shortages and good jobs available.

“Much of this work requires having a Certificate III qualification in health or aged care recognized by Australia.

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.