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Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, James Marape, announced last night that his Government is working on some possible solutions to overcome some of the concerns Papua New Guineans are facing or likely to face.
In Facebook post last night, the Prime Minister said that his Government will announce the measures through policies and incentives in order to “give helping hand to our citizens, our MSMEs, our corporate businesses and our State Own Enterprises.”
In so far as loan repayments are concerned, which is obviously on top of the list of concerns for individuals and businesses alike, Mr Marape said a possible solution would be the deferral of loan repayments by three momnths:
“For instances we looking at working with central bank and commercial banks ( plus non banking lenders ) to defer loan repayment by 3 months or more for those citizens and businesses with bank loans.”
The Prime Minister further added that his Government was working on a stimulus package that would lower lending interest rates for businesses:
“We (are) also working to use our business stimulus fund we budgeted in 2020 budget to be used as security in our partnership with commercial banks to lower interest rates of business borrowings.”
For workers who have been “laid-off” as a result of the Corona Virus, the Prime Minister indicated that he has asked the two superfunds, Nasfund and Nambawan Super, to look at advancing “some contributor funds” to those employees who have been laid off as a result of COVID-19. It is uncertain as to what he means by “laid-off” whether it is temporary or permanent but that will undoubtedly be made clear in the coming days, possibly by the superfunds if the proposal actually is effected. At this stage, the superfunds have yet to release anything to the public on this issue.
Aside from the economic measures suggested by the Prime Minister, other areas his Government is looking at are:
- Mobilizing enough medicines and medical personnel work place safety gears to ensure they are safe whilst serving the sick in our country.
- All Provinces including Bougainville government to update their health requirements for possible funding by National Government
- Re-prioritization of expenditures and focus on people’s health , economy and education for the balance of 2020
Here’s the Prime Minister’s full unedited post:
Good early morning my fellow PNG compatriots, Corona and many challenges we face as a Nation will not kill us neither hurt our spirits but by God’s grace we will live on.
In moments like this, I ask all people to appreciate each other and give each other a helping hand.
Your government will by policies and incentives give helping hand too to our citizens, our MSMEs, our corporate businesses and our State Own Enterprises.
For instances we looking at working with central bank and commercial banks ( plus non banking lenders ) to defer loan repayment by 3 months or more for those citizens and businesses with bank loans.
We also working to use our business stimulus fund we budgeted in 2020 budget to be used as security in our partnership with commercial banks to lower interest rates of business borrowings.
We also asking our two super-funds to look at advancing some contributor funds to those employees who have been laid off as a result of Corona period lay-off at work places.
We are now mobilizing enough medicines and medical personnel work place safety gears to ensure they are safe whilst serving the sick in our country.
All our 21 provinces and Bougainville government will be asked to update their health requirements so we at National Government will finance for them to serve our people better.
We will reprioritize expenditures, cutting away activities that we can defer or terminate and put focus on our people’s health , economy and education for the balance of 2020.
On another matter, I know some of you who support me are writing negatives against my colleague the Opposition Leader BN who is running a series of application with Supreme Court on my election as PM.
Those of you who support me, please be kind in your writings, he is doing what he thinks he must do as opposition leader and it is nothing personal.
In our country as a democracy, every body has every right to go to court and he is doing what is within his rights.
And lastly but not the least, we thank God Yahweh for his mercy and grace. All person we tested for C19 so far including the 15 who were in close work contact with the first positive person, has come out negative.
I thank Harmony mine for working with government in quickly isolating the 15 and IMR test confirms them to be negative.
I also thank Exxon for bringing 2 sick employees at Angore/ Hides for testing and both came out negative. There was one defense force officer who was locked down who also came out negative
Our SOE induced isolation strategy will allow us to map further wherever the Virus is for us to zero in and eliminate Corona so bear with us the next 10 days.
I thank God of PNG for Divine care over our country. All 7 former PMs before me have declared our country as a Christian country just like I have and as Government we will do all we humanly can, but we will still fall short.
Look at Italy and USA and others, despite best health care and border securities, they feel greater effects of C19.
We are safe thus far because of God and for that I give Him all Honor, Glory and Praise.
Lastly but not the least my heartfelt thank you goes out to our health workers, our police, our defense, our church workers, our public servants , private sectors who helping, our thousands of volunteers and my colleagues who are all mobilized to assist in the fight against corona.
I also recognize our bi lateral partners and multi lateral partners who are coming in with helping hands and hearts.
God of PNG bless you all, and may God’s grace continue to be with PNG.