Posted By Staff Reporter
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape says the COVID-19 pandemic has weighed heavily on the country’s economy but PNG has tried its best and has had corrective measures thus far in addressing the pandemic.
“We continue to remind ourselves that it is both a health and economic issue in so far as COVID-19 is concerned.
“We have to maintain a fine balance to ensure the economy stays alive,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister made a statement to Parliament yesterday on the government’s achievements in office on the eve of the nation’s 46 independence anniversary.
Mr Marape said the pandemic has made it a very difficult situation and had to deal with economics and politics although very unrelenting at all times.
“We will accept that there is a new normal way of life.”
Mr Marape said among the government’s key priorities of the government, there is a focus to grow the rural economy through agriculture, SME, economic development infrastructure, repositioning of Kumul Agriculture – to realize its potential, introduce the commodity price support program and shipping freight subsidy policy and the need to advocate for rural agriculture.
“There is a need to focus on SME and migrate 50 percent to the rural economy.”
Marape said with the roll-out of SME lending of K200 million, which his government is in review with NDB and BSP to see how it is being transferred to small businesses in the country.
In the mining sector, plans are afoot to establish a mint and gold bullion facility to save this vulnerable resource onshore.
“We need to be in downstream processing business to add value to natural resources.
Marape is determined to reopen Pogera Mine on 16th September.
"We are working to meet the deadline and at the same time deliver this in partnership with Barrick. Their (Barrick’s interest is equally important.”
“For oil and gas we intend to assimilate petrol and chemical products, thus this will greatly boost foreign reserves and stabilize the exchange rate. We are increasing consideration on community service obligation or domestic market obligations of all future gas agreements,” the Prime Minister said.
In forestry, the government has imposed duties on logs to encourage downstream processing.
There will be a total ban of round log exports by 2025 for new and existing foreign companies.
There is a need to design a pathway to move away from round logs exports and for landowners and provincial governments to participate in this space.
Also, the government is committed to sustainable fisheries.
Furthermore, the government is committed to “Connect PNG Policy” through improved roads, airports, and airstrips wharves and ICT and energy to make PNG economically viable.
Prime Minister also stated that there is a major restructure in place for State Enterprises which he will announce soon.
The Exeprenuer Magazine / PNG Economy Watch / Photo by PNGfacts.com
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