International Friendships Help Government
In the past 18 months, strong international friendships have helped the government in its continuing economic reform policies.
According to Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey, this included the chance to meet with the Australian High Commission last December 3 - which included a conference call with Australian Treasury officials - to discuss the robust strategic relationship and PNG’s multi-year budget economic program.
“We are now exploring other options, including making direct contact again with the Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. As another Treasurer having to deal with the COVID-19 challenges, he will be putting out the Australian MYEFO later this month,” said Ling-Stuckey. “This will highlight once again the massive budget hole that the pandemic has been creating around the world.
He continued, “Australia one year ago estimated its 2020/21 Australian Budget deficit would be 0.3 per cent of GDP. Because of the bushfires and COVID-19, Australia’s budget deficit estimate increased to 11 per cent of GDP – a massive increase of 10.7 per cent of GDP (PNG’s deficit in 2020 increased by 3.1 per cent of GDP – less than one-third as much). Australian debt levels as a share of GDP are expected to increase because of COVID-19 from 34.5 per cent in 2019/20 to 44.8 per cent in 2020/21 to 55 per cent in the medium-term. Sharing our experiences with friends, even across very different economies, makes it easier to understand the impacts of the global pandemic and stay true to the reform course. We cannot slow down the process of PNG’s budget repair by the Marape Government in these most difficult of COVID-19 times.”