Prime Ministers Media Releases

PRIME MINISTER PARTICIPATES IN FIRST INTER-SESSIONAL SUMMIT OF THE OACPS LEADERS VIRTUALLY WITH MAJOR DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Hon. James Marape called on the World Health Organization (WHO) last week to assist the most vulnerable developing nations such as PNG and the smaller island nations of the Pacific, Caribbean and Africa, to procure vital gear and equipment for COVID-19 with ease and in a timely manner.

The Prime Minister said this in his response to the major development partners on behalf of the Pacific Islands States members of the Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).

He also expressed PNG’s deep gratitude to its development partners for the assistance and support to the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said ‘Small islands states of the Pacific, Caribbean, and Africa including PNG were already challenged by limited funds and lack of technical resources and did not have the financial bargaining power or the capacity to realistically compete with cashed up developed nations in the open market for the highly contestable personal protection gear and medical equipment and accessories required to combat and protect their citizens from the COVID-19 pandemic’

Prime Minister Marape was speaking during the First Extraordinary Inter-Sessional Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the OACPS, which was virtually convened by the President of the Republic of Kenya, Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, as current President in Office of the OACPS, to discuss the COVID-19.

The Prime Minister joined a high-level group of leaders from the OACPS and leaders and heads of a number of major development partner countries and international organizations including, President of France; Prime Ministers of Australia; Canada and Norway; Secretary General of the United Nations; Director-General of the WHO; and President of the European Union Commission.

The Summit was held under the theme ‘transcending the COVID-19 Pandemic: Building Resilience through Global Solidarity’,” Prime Minister Marape said.

The meeting allowed the OCAPS the opportunity to dialogue with major development partners to assess the impact of the pandemic on the OACPS region; identify and review areas of immediate action and response; and enhance global solidarity and collective action to combat and mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

In his earlier Statement, the Prime Minister briefed the Summit on the measures put in place by his Government to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and the success of these proactive measures in ensuring that PNG was able to effectively contain and prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading in PNG.

Prime Minister Marape further highlighted that while these measures were necessary and vital to stopping the spread of the virus, there was an undeniable and enormous economic cost to the country, similar to other countries that have also imposed such measures.

The country has now moved from a total lock-down to a phased re-opening of key social sectors and the economy,” the Prime Minister stated.

He outlined that his Government has put together an economic stimulus package to address the economic loss and to restore key economic goods and services to acceptable levels.

The Prime Minister said that the challenges and lack of capacity in the health systems of the OACPS were put in the spotlight during the COVID-19 and spoke strongly in support of the development of a collective strategy within the OACPS to solicit assistance and support from the international community to address these challenges.

He reiterated the call for the accelerated operationalization of the OACPS Endowment Trust Fund (ETF), approved by Leaders last year in Nairobi as a vital financial mechanism to mobilize funds and resources to invest in intra-OACPS medical and scientific research needs.

Others in attendance for the virtual Summit was the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International, Hon. Patrick Pruaitch and Minister for Health and HIV Aids, Hon. Jelta Wong, who were all supported by senior officials from the Departments of Prime Minister and NEC, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and Health.

PPM MARAPE SAYS THE NID PROGRAM WAS A FAILURE

Approved for Release: Monday 08th, June 2020.

The Prime Minister Hon James Marape MP has expressed concerns that the PNG National Identity-NID Program was a failure and not many citizens have been registered.

He said this last week Friday (05/06/20) when responding to questions from Opposition MP, Richard Maru in parliament. 

Mr Maru who was a former National Planning & Monitoring Minister asked Prime Minister Marape whether an electronic voting system will be used where citizens will use NID cards to vote in the next 2022 national general elections.

He asked whether the government will deliver that and if funding will be made available for it to the PNG Electoral Commission.

Prime Minister Marape in response told parliament that the NID program which Mr Maru was taking charge of as a former Minister for National Planning was a disaster.

The Government has allocated and or budgeted over K200 million but that has gone to waste and or evaporated into thin air without any results.

Today our Marape-Steven Government has put on hold the NID program because of such reckless spending and misuse of K200million by the Central Registry Office managing the NID program’, said Mr Marape.

He said the government needs to do the National Housing and Population Census and the NID registration at the same time.

I want to inform this House that many of the pet programs and projects by the former O’Neill regime were only run in Waigani and did not bear results.

This so called O’Neill-Abel’s NID program was a total failure and disaster and not more than 5 percent of our population have been registered.

It was a shameful project at the lowest level with no citizens given NID cards. 

The Marape-Steven Government as a responsible government is fixing those mess and is preparing to ensure there is a better common roll for the 2022 national general elections, which is important.

The NID project must stay until we have a good census program and record done’, he said. 

Prime Minister Marape said so many agencies of government are asking for the same amount of K200million or more and no work is done and or the work is being duplicated by responsible agencies like the PNG Electoral Commission and the NID’s Civil Registry Office.

Prime Minister Marape Secures K1.2 billion loan from IMF in Major Vote of Confidence In PNG

The Marape-Steven Government has secured a K1.2 billion soft loan following an IMF board vote on Friday 5 June 2020. This landmark achievement is a strong vote of confidence in the Marape Government from the international community.

Prime Minister Marape was delighted that Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey had secured this landmark financing agreement.

I want to congratulate Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey for working tirelessly to repair the country’s budget. He has put a stop to reckless borrowings for poorly conceived capital projects that mostly benefited foreign firms and SOEs. He has stopped expensive commercial borrowings where the financial benefits flowed to foreign bankers. He has instead delivered a major reform agenda that has reshaped our debt management strategy to focus on securing good, cheap, transparent financing from the international community and our priority strategic partners such as Australia”.

This vote is a major sign of confidence in the PNG economy from the IMF. 

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey and his dedicated team had worked closely with the IMF over many months to achieve this extraordinary outcome. 

I thank the IMF Board for recognizing my Government’s sincerity and transparency in setting a new direction for the economy. We are a more open, transparent and accountable government working to reduce corruption. We are working diligently to adjust from recurrent expenditure towards increased investment in growth through the capital budget while focusing on improving efficiencies and productivity for export growth”, said Prime Minister Marape.

The K1.2 billion lending program was secured on unprecedented terms of 0.0% interest rate over 10 years with a 5.5 year grace period and the first principal repayments to start in December 2025. Like the Australian bridge financing in 2019, the loan will go straight into the Bank of Papua New Guinea with direct foreign exchange benefits for the private sector.

I want to assure the people of this country that this loan will be put to good use in supporting our proven policy based programs. These include support for our COVID-19 response, Connect PNG, Special Economic Zones to promote exports, HELP program, Agriculture and MSME policy, State-Owned Enterprises reforms, and Public Sector reforms”, said Prime Minister Marape.

Prime Minister Marape, added, “This loan forms the core of the 2020 budget and is within our five-year fiscal consolidation strategy that aims to bring debt-to-GDP ratio to below 40 per cent in 2024 in order to restore commitment to the
limits set out in the Fiscal Responsibility Act”.

This new lending program for PNG is part of a reconfigured relationship between the IMF and Papua New Guinea. The earlier work under the Staff Monitored Program (SMP) established a track record to allow access to the new emergency
funding. The IMF and the international community will continue playing a key supporting role as partners in PNG’s own growth and development reform program.

Prime Minister Marape made it clear that unlike the previous IMF program of the 1990s which was characterized by strict trade and capital markets liberalization, and currency devaluation policy conditionalities, the current support of the IMF
reinforces his Government’s home-grown policy based programs and reforms.


Hon. James Marape, MP
Prime Minister
08th June 2020

PM Marape thanks the Bougainville Referendum Commission for successful Referendum

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP, thanked the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) for conducting a successful Referendum in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

The Prime Minister made the acknowledgement when receiving the Bougainville Referendum Report from the Commissioners of the Commission.

Prime Minister Marape said the Referendum was credible and was ranked by international observers as one of the best, especially coming out of loss of lives as a result conflict and civil war.

Congratulations of the highest order to the BRC and all the people who put in a strong, consistent and committed effort into to ensuring the majority of the people of Bougainville in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB), in other parts of the country, in the Solomon Islands and Australia, had their say in the Referendum,” he said.

Let me also take this time to acknowledge the work of the Honourable Bertie Ahern, who travelled long distances from Ireland, showing dedication and commitment to cause of ensuring our country find a good resolve in what is a long and extended conflict.

He also thanked the Minister for Bougainville Affairs, Hon. Sir. Puka Temu for taking the lead politically to ensure the Referendum happened.

The Prime Minister said the report presented to him will be tabled in Parliament for ratification and the post Referendum process will start after consultations with the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Government.

He said the consultations will happen after the elections of the special region’s parliament.

Prime Minister Marape said the National Government is also working on giving greater autonomy to other provinces in the country while still keeping the country united as one country.

He added that the National Government in consultation with the ABG Government will be calling on the BRC Commissioners for their expertise when it is required.

The Prime Minister was also pleasantly surprised when the Commission revealed that off the K27 million given to the Commission for the Referendum, the Commission has made a savings of K2 million that will be given back to the state.

He said that money will be held to carry out commitments in the special region.

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