Treasurer Thanks Australia for its Economic Assistance
Because Australia has pledged to provide economic assistance of A$596 million in the year 2020/21 and has agreed to suspend interest and principal repayments for the US$300 million concessional loan given last November 2019, Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey has expressed his gratitude for their strong support for the people of PNG.
In addition, Australia is providing economic assistance for COVID-19 such as a new infrastructure facility, guaranteeing that PNG (and other countries in the Pacific and Southeast Asia) are a beneficiary when a vaccine has been developed. Total cost is at A$500 million.
“Combined, it is likely that 2020 and 2021 will represent the highest levels of support in Kina terms ever. This demonstrates the very high level of international support being received by the Marape-Basil government for the reforms they are implementing,” said Ling-Stuckey. “Our increased budget transparency and genuine willingness to work with international organisations to meet international best standards are paying dividends for the people of PNG.”
In providing vaccines to the people of PNG, he said, “Early access to vaccines will save lives and underpin PNG efforts to tackle health issues and overcome the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Australian government has signed advance purchase agreements for vaccine supplies from the University of Oxford and the University of Queensland. The benefits from the supply of safe vaccines will have an inestimable value to the government and people of PNG.”
Over the next two years, Australia will also provide economic assistance worth A$304.7 to help PNG and other Asia-Pacific countries recover from the brunt of the pandemic through food security, health initiatives, and improved air services. Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) which has been in operation since July 2019 has also targeted PNG as a direct beneficiary for high priority infrastructure projects such as the suggested solar power facility in Morobe Province.