Photo: James Marape
"The Bank of Papua New Guinea has an excess of US$3.7 billion (K13 billion) worth of foreign reserves sitting in the bank that can cater for the country for one year," said Prime Minister James Marape in response to questions raised by the Governor for Southern Highlands William Powi in Parliament. He went on to say, "I was informed by BPNG that the Central Bank has K13 billion (US$3.7 billion) in foreign reserves currently in the bank," and, "the K13 billion currently at the Central Bank is the highest the country has held in reserve at the Central Bank."
Marape also addressed the FX issue between Puma Energy and the Bank of PNG, stating, "BPNG did allow Puma Energy to be on the board for the commercial bank order to supply FX to Puma to do their purchase because BPNG saw an unusual order of FX from Puma and felt that Puma needed to answer to those issues." He went on to emphasize the importance of the BPNG's role in ensuring the foreign reserve threshold in the country is suitable for the economy and emphasized the need for the monthly release of US dollars into commercial banks for them to transact and supply to those who need US dollars for import expenses.
"This issue points us to the fact that we need to relook at how Central Bank regulates and controls flow of FX to commercial banks and traders. We want ease of forex to our business community," said Marape in reference to the FX issue with Puma Energy and the wider business community's need for FX, especially for the import of products into PNG.