Marape considers stimulus effort

PAPUA New Guinea's government is considering asking banks to defer loan repayments by three months to help people and businesses.
Marape considers stimulus effort Marape considers stimulus effort Marape considers stimulus effort Marape considers stimulus effort Marape considers stimulus effort

James Marape

Staff Reporter

Marape said government wanted to give a helping hand to citizens, small-to-medium businesses, corporations and state-owned enterprises, Radio New Zealand International reported.
 
He said the government was looking at working with the Central Bank and commercial banks as well as non-banking lenders to defer loan repayments by three months or more.
 
Marape said government was also working to use its business stimulus fund under the 2020 budget.
 
It would be used as security in government's partnership with commercial banks to lower interest rates in business loans.
 
As well, PNG's two main super-funds will be asked to advance payments to contributors who have lost work as a result of the state of emergency 14-day lockdown.
 
Marape said immediate fiscal management measures would take place, including:
 
• A review and downward revision of the 2020 budget;
 
• A review of all tax and non-tax revenue projections;
 
• Reprioritisation of expenditure for key and essential functions including health,
education, law and order and the public investment program.
 
• Immediate cessation of all non-essential expenditure (conferences, vehicle purchases, overseas travel).
 
• Deferral of some projects, including the continued rollout of the national identity document and the national census until 2021.
 
Meanwhile PNG officials say Indonesia has bolstered security measures at the border between countries.
 
The border has been closed for two months in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but the porous nature of the border meant people had still been able to cross over.
 
An official from PNG's West Sepik provincial administration said it had been informed by the country's embassy in Jakarta that police and military were guarding all known entry points used by PNG citizens.
 
The Post Courier newspaper reported the official warned PNG citizens not to take advice discouraging border crossings lightly.
 
He said PNG citizens caught illegally crossing could be at the mercy of Indonesian authorities who have strict penalties for such breaches.
 
While PNG had only had one confirmed Covid-19 case in the country to date, the neighbouring Indonesian region of Papua had at least eight cases, with most of them in cities close to the PNG border, at Jayapura and Merauka.
 

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