State of PNG economy to be presented to cabinet, Debt to be unveiled

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape. Picture: POST COURIER

PORT MORESBY, 21 JUNE 2019 (POST COURIER) —The debt level and the state of the economy will be presented to Cabinet on Monday, says Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape.

“I have tasked the Treasurer (Sam Basil) to announce our debt profile so that we all know the debt that we are faced with and as a government, we will take responsibility and prudent steps to arrest further borrowing and unnecessary borrowing,” Marape said when speaking at the Speaker’s Summit at Stanley Hotel on Wednesday.

“We can only borrow for key areas we feel will be interventions to stimulate the economy and propagate economic growth.

By June 24 this year, the Treasurer will present to cabinet what is really our debt level and the state of the economy. We will be honest with everyone as the steps we will take going forward.

“Those statistics and figures will be available to everyone. We will also be making sure we slash or make redundant lesser priority areas in the 2019 Budget, and as we also go forward that should give you an indication of where our 2020 Budget will be.

“We will stop non-economic stimulant programs, including some of the loans that are also in the queue. If that will not satisfy growth in the first instance, they will be brought under scrutiny so that they do not continue the debt profile we have,” Marape said.

The Opposition had expressed reservations this week that there was still no economic rescue plan announced by the Marape government under Treasurer Sam Basil.

And this should have been the most urgent business for the government when it assumed office, according to shadow treasurer and Member for Kavieng Ian Ling-Stuckey.

“Our economy is in crisis. Living standards have dropped by 10 per cent under O’Neill.

“Health, education and justice delivery are in crisis,” he said, asking where the new government’s rescue plan was.

Ling-Stuckey suggested forming “a true crisis team” to save PNG from the failed policies of the previous PNC-led government.

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