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PNG PM O'Neill eyes positive year for economic growth

THE New Year brings increased opportunity to expand positive growth, stimulate business and create jobs. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said this in his welcome message to businesses, their staff and public servants returning to their workplace after the festive season break. Mr O’Neill said as Government operations resume, and businesses end their Christmas shutdown, global indicators are also positive for the economy. “Last year we weathered one of the most challenging global economic environments in recent years and our economy is still producing positive growth. “There is no doubt that we are facing challenges and our Government has been very frank about this.

“We are taking on each of these challenges and implementing measures that maintain fiscal discipline and continue to stimulate growth,” Mr O’Neill said. He said the national government had delivered a very careful 2017 budget that did not cut core services,  continued to fully fund school fees and healthcare, and did not increase taxes on business. “To be reducing government spending during an election year speaks volumes for this Government’s commitment to sensible economic management,” he said. He said the start of the New Year was also seeing greater potential in crucial sectors which will have a positive impact on economic expansion in 2017.

 “We can see a degree of common sense entering the oil market and greater price stability that we hope will continue.  “The oil price is more than double where it was this time a year ago, and investment in our resources sector continues to grow. “In the agricultural sector we are moving beyond drought, and at the same time agricultural prices are rebounding. “Our Government will continue to invest in strengthening supply chains for our rural producers so that we can get more goods to market,” he added. He also urged individuals with vested interests, who seek to run down the economy for political gain, to get behind economic growth. “There is no excuse for these individuals seeking to mislead investors and the business community.

“The facts are clear and the data is irrefutable. “The national economy grew by close to three percent last year, and our debt to GDP in 2016 was at 29.4 per cent, well below the limit of 35 percent and will reduce to 28.8 percent this year.  “Our economic fundamentals remain strong and international investors continue to maintain confidence in our economy,” he said.
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