National Economy Remains A Priority: PM
The national economy remains a priority issue that is being discussed and dealt with on a daily basis, says Prime Minister James Marape.
“We are working, everyday there’s a meeting on the economic front,” he said when asked about the impact of Covid-19 on the economy.
“Security of our economy is our number one concern also, so we are not going back to sleep. A new normal lifestyle of PNG will be introduced to us, and based on advice from our health team, they will tell us how to live and behave.”
He said the daily discussions would plan out how the economy would be revived at the earliest opportunity.
“The economic stimulus package comes in many forms and something that I am very interested about is our small businesses, small and medium enterprises, given our great deal of support,” he said.
“Our banks have been very responsive and working with BSP, Kina Bank, ANZ and, hopefully, Westpac as well as our own NDB, we will be looking at very soft lending for our SMEs.”
He said this would ensure that SMEs had their own money to restart business as well as banks’ response in deferring interest repayment and those that carry loans in their business.
“These are the sort of interventions we want to make. For government, we are looking at apart from revenues that we supposed to raise from IRC, Customs and dividends.
Remember we have almost 40 per cent of the 2020 Budget as deficit financing. We are looking in those areas where we can source finance to come in.”
Mr Marape said the government would use the budget as a tool to ensure there was life in the economy; moving money out from Treasury to our districts and provinces and to those life contracts to ensure life in the economy.
“These are activities very much a big part of my job as prime minister, working with treasurer and finance minister, and planning minister to ensure our economy is not killed in the process,” he said.
“Hopefully, after Cabinet meeting next week Wednesday I will be in a position to advise the country of the exact details and the final arrangements we have with our banks and how they will react and deal with the business community.
“Coronavirus gives us an opportunity to reconfigure the way we have been doing these,” Mr Marape said.
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