Today the Treasurer and I are pleased to announce the Australian Government will provide over  K1 billion  (USD300  million)  of  funding  to  immediately  assist  our  budget  and  the economy.

This follows my first State visit outside of Papua New Guinea to Australia where I had cordial but frank discussions with Prime Minister Scott Morison about the challenges facing our country.

Much was discussed about the great potential for closer collaboration and engagement between our two countries.

We successfully negotiated the loan on favorable terms to be the cheapest possible (the LIBOR rate of 2 per cent plus 0.5 per cent) compared to the more expensive sovereign bond negotiated by the former government with more than 8 per cent in interest.

The funding is the first significant concessional loan Australia has offered in many years to anyone in the world.

This reflects the confidence Australia has in the extensive and comprehensive reform program undertaken by the Marape-Steven Government.

Our reforms are focused on continuing the urgent task of budget repair through more prudent macroeconomic management, embarking on significant reforms to improve our revenues, to strategically target expenditure towards growing the economy and removing the trade barriers to propel our exports to overseas markets.

The  Treasurer  has  already  released  the  2019  Supplementary  Budget  and  will  shortly release the 2020 Budget, which will detail how the Australian funding will assist the budget and businesses in Papua New Guinea.

The Treasurer will also use the budget to chart the path to recovery for the budget and the economy for today and over the future.

The other credible reforms taken by this Government is to appoint a Ministerial Committee to support the Minister for State Enterprises.

This will turn the financial performance of the country’s State-Owned Enterprises around and significantly improve the services they provide to the people of Papua New Guinea.

This will also oversee the implementation of a detailed and comprehensive Policy Matrix that my Cabinet has approved with the support of the Asian Development Bank

These actions are important to respond to our country’s development needs. Our country has one of the lowest rates of access to reliable electricity in the world and 60 per cent of our people don’t have access to safe drinking water.

It’s why the Australian funding and our reforms are important in assisting us overcome these long-standing challenges.

I want to convey my gratitude to the Australian Prime Minister Morrison, Treasurer Frydenberg, Minister Alex Hawke and the people of Australia for their steadfast commitment to Papua New Guinea on behalf of the people of Papua New Guinea.

I look forward to continuing our close and enduring partnership.