Covid-19 A Strain On Economy, Says Marape
Prime Minister James Marape has revealed the government’s economy stimulus strategy for Papua New Guinea last week in Port Moresby amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
In a press statement released last week, the prime minister acknowledged that Covid-19 has put a strain on world economies and even brought some to a halt.
Mr Marape said the government is aware of the economic impact of the pandemic and will do their bit to give citizens a helping hand through sound policies and incentives.
“Through policies and incentives, your government will give a helping hand to our citizens, our macro small to medium enterprises as well as corporate businesses and our state owned enterprises,” he said.
“For instance, we looking at working with the central bank (Bank of Papua New Guinea) and commercial banks as well as non-banking lenders to defer loan repayment by three months or more for those citizens and businesses with loans.”
Mr Marape said measures that would be taken included:
A review and downward revision of the 2020 budget;
A review of all tax and non-tax revenue projections;
Re-prioritisation of expenditure for key and essential functions including health, education, law and order and the public investment program (PIP);
Immediate cessation of all non-essential expenditure (conferences, vehicle purchases, overseas travel, etc;
Review of PIP to consolidate funding for existing contract-based projects along with counter-part funding support;
Deferral of some projects, including the continued implementation of the NID and the National Census until 2021;
Rescheduling of loan repayments, including the conversion of government treasury bills to inscribed bonds; and
Reach out to our key bilateral and multilateral partners, including other friendly private sector firms to source new value-based financing, to enable retirement of expensive debt and financing of the budget.
Review of cash reserve requirements to increase total liquidity;
Review of Kina facility rate to cushion upward pressure on interest rates;
Review of foreign exchange regulations to shorten the holding exports receipts off-shore to no more than three months, and for surpluses to be brought into the country immediately; and
Application of stringent foreign exchange controls over currency trading by banks to prevent overpricing of currencies.
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