By Allan Bird, Governor of East Sepik
One thing I see in our people is a lack of discipline and a lack of vision.
This entire planet revolves around the ability to make money efficiently with little or no losses.
In the 80s, we took over the plantations from the white people and they left. The State owns 3% of the land, we still own the remaining 97%.
Last week, ESP ran out of petrol again. On the 15th, we ran out of flour and cooking oil.
Researched, Edited & Published By Albertis Photography
Papua New Guinea’s efforts to strengthen agriculture’s position as a major economic driver have been given a boost following the much-anticipated launch of a series of new projects.
One of these, inaugurated by the European Union (EU) in late August 2019, is a 340 million kina (US$99.6 million) pilot programme designed to benefit smallholder farms. This deal comes after the launch of the EU’s Enterprise Development Fund earlier in 2019, which will provide funding for small-scale vanilla and cocoa farmers in the provinces of East Sepik and Sandaun in the north-west.
Aside from financial help, the programme is designed to assist with entrepreneurship and expand trade connections in the region. The project could significantly boost economic development, in the process bolstering two of PNG’s signature cash crops.
Allan Bird, governor of East Sepik Province, told OBG that there are currently an estimated 138,000 cocoa farmers and 20,000 vanilla farmers in the province. “The GDP of East Sepik is 600 million kina (US$175.7 million), but a successful implementation of the project could lift this to one billion kina (US$292.8 million).
Research, Edited & Published By Albertis Photography
This publication is the current series of PNG Economic Updates. It has two principal aims.
First, it analyzes the key recent developments in Papua New Guinea’s economy and places these in a longer-term and global context.
Second, the publication provides a more in-depth examination of a selected development issue and evaluates the implications of recent trends and policy reforms in terms of the government’s stated development objectives.
This publication has a special focus on institutional capital for public service delivery in Papua New Guinea.
In 2020, Papua New Guinea faced three crises: the COVID-19 health emergency, an economic contraction, and political uncertainty.
Although the country largely avoided the health emergency experienced elsewhere, as end of January 2021, Papua New Guinea had recorded more than 860 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nine deaths.
As a result of pandemic-related restrictions and weaker demand, it is estimated that real GDP contracted by 3.8 percent in 2020 (compared to a pre-crisis projection of 2.9 percent growth), and the fiscal deficit widened to 8.1 percent of GDP (three percentage points higher than the pre-crisis projection). Consequently, the debt-to-GDP ratio surged to 49 percent (nine percentage points higher than the pre-crisis projection).
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.
PAPUA New Guinea must exercise its sovereignty and not allow itself to be seen as a client state to friends, says an economist.
Saul Eslake, an independent economist of Corinna Economic Advisory, said during the digital investment conference yesterday that PNG occupied a strategic location in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Inevitably, China is going to want to continue to seek PNG, as it is doing with other developing economies, particularly in the Pacific, while the West conversely will like to keep PNG in it,” he said.
“The US is significantly a greater provider of official development of foreign aid than China.
“Official assistance is not the only way in which large countries provide aid to other governments, and China in particular has been providing financial assistance to other countries (including) soft loans and other investments that are primarily representational.”
THE Papua New Guinea economy is expected to recover later this year and into 2022, Steamships Trading Company Ltd says.
The company stated in its half-year report for the 2021 financial year, that recent announcements by the Government on major resource development projects were encouraging.
The group’s Coral Sea Hotels experienced a good start to the year and benefited from the quarantine requirement for arrivals into PNG.
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