Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP said the people should embrace the emphasis on agriculture and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the 2020 Budget.
He said today this when commenting on the 2020 Budget handed down by Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey last Thursday (28/11/19).
Agriculture and SMEs are key-ticket items in the Budget:
SME funding for agriculture K200 million
State equity fund for agriculture K20 million
Special economic zones K16 million
Tourism sector development K23 million (loan K13.6 million)
Cocoa industry development K7 million
Coffee industry development K8 million
Fresh produce development and marketing K7 million (loan K8.5 million and grant K600, 000)
Coconut downstream processing and marketing K9 million
Land development programme K15 million
Livestock industry development K5 million
Oil palm smallholder roads K10 million
PM Marape said the Government is putting more money into previously-neglected sectors such as agriculture and SMEs.
We will be tailoring a programme, he said.
In my view, the banks should have a role to play, either NDB (National Development Bank) or BSP (Bank South Pacific), which are the banks with nationwide networks.
We want to partner with out districts and provinces, which will identify SMEs operating at their levels, especially agriculture-based SMEs.
This money is not for Prime Minister, Treasurer or Finance Minister to distribute to Open MPs.
We will go to banks.
This money will be parked in the banks, with different criteria for different SMEs.
Existing Papua New Guinea businessmen and businesswomen, who are struggling out there, can apply for assistance.
The major qualifier is that they must be tax-paying businesses.
PM Marape said about 10 per cent of the money would be made available to Bougainville SMEs.
I have also indicated that 50 per cent will be given to businesses run by women, and the balance to businesses run by men, he said.
I stress here that this is not money which will disappear into thin air, like the infamous National Agriculture Development Plan (NADP), but which will impact on the economy.