Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Richard Maru, made the announcement today.
The past 15 months has seen the Pipol’s Microbank record over 30, 000 clients, with loan bookings growing to K10 million.
The minister says this is one of the key strategies under the new SME policy to be launched soon to empower Papua New Guineans.
There are currently 4 micro bank branches in the country. They are at Boroko, Madang, Wewak and Poppondeta, with Mt Hagen’s under construction.
Known as the Pipol’s Microbank, they now have over 30, 000 clients and a total loan booking growing up to K10 million. The minister said the national government has approved and released K15 million to establish 5 more branches.
The minister said every year, the national government will be pumping funds to build the micro banks’ capital until they are upgraded into a fully-fledged commercial bank, replacing the PNGBC.
In 2001, Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta announced that Bank South Pacific was the cabinet's preferred bidder for PNGBC under the government’s privatisation program.
One of the terms of sale of the bank was for the national government to retain 25% of the merged bank and shareholdings made available to ordinary Papua New Guineans.
The minister said the micro banks do not charge fees for the various transactions; the only charge is of K10 for opening an account.
He said 80 per cent of Papua New Guineans have no bank accounts and these micro banks have been established to push our people into developing saving habits and creating their own wealth without charging fees for every transaction.
Another submission will be made for a further K15 million to develop another 5 branches in the 2015 budget.