December 5, 2016

O’Neill calls on investors to have confidence in PNG economy

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill have called on the resource sector and investors to maintain confidence in the country’s economy.

Speaking at the 14th Mining conference in Sydney Monday , O’Neill said the government will do what it can, without exceeding borrowing and spending limits to promote the economic growth.

“2016 has certainly been a challenging year for PNG we are now almost at the end of the year. And there is no doubt that 2017 will be a challenging year for the global economy as well.”

O’Neill said Government revenue from the oil and gas sector had fallen from nearly two billion Kina a year at the height of prices, to around 260 million Kina a year.

“Adjusting to changing realities has been challenging but is key to surviving the challenges that we face today and into the future.”

He added that the budget for 2017 is tough on Government and the public sector – but not so tough on business and the resource sector.

“We aim to main stability in these sectors. It encourages business and investment growth in a challenging economic environment.

“We have maintained as much spending as we can on economic infrastructure – on roads, on ports, airports and other sectors that will develop our communities. As well as the development of urban communities with a focus on affordable housing and services.

“We have, above all else, delivered on our benchmark policies that improve living standards, opportunity, and community harmony.

“They are directly benefiting the people, the families, who need it most of all. We are doing what we can to maintain good government at all levels in this challenging global economic environment.”

O’Neill further reiterated that the inflation is manageable, Government debt is within the legal limits, and the availability of foreign currency continues to improve as export revenues increase.

“In fact, we are doing much better than so many other countries around the world facing similar challenges.

“While we face challenges in the short term, the economic future of Papua New Guinea is looking bright and remains a sound investment destination.”

Meanwhile, the PNG Government have made substantial investment in restoring the critical infrastructure right across the country.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the Government is not just developing the cities with improved infrastructure, but it is right across the country.

“For decades our ports, roads, and public buildings had not been maintained and had been left to ruin.
“We have restored assets where we could and built new infrastructure where it is was needed.
Now we are seeing greater productivity in Government, and greater opportunity for business and our people.

“We have also devolved key decision-making on government services, and their delivery, to the levels that are closest to the people especially the district administrations and local level and community councils.”

He said this will continue to cut waste and mismanagement and to ensure the people have a real say in the government priorities for their communities.

However, he said the government could not do this alone.

“The Government can’t do it alone – partnership with industry is vital. Together we must continue to harness the opportunities that are before us.”

He said over the past five years of the Government, the country has also seen a great deal of change in this space of time.

“We came to Government with a very straight-forward plan for the nation. We promised to advance development through a focus on a set of policies of improving education, expanding access to healthcare, improving law and order and restoring critical infrastructure for the country."