Government. Papua New Guinea press review
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea (PNG) Hon. James Marape has announced that his government would like to restore PNG back to normalcy at the earliest amidst the presence of COVID-19 for the rest of 2020. Hon. James Marape got to health experts to finalise protocols for living with COVID-19 in schools, workplace, churches, and community. «I want the specific protocols to be tailored to ensure that the SoE period be used to acclimatise our people to live with COVID-19 protocols beyond June 2, when the SoE expires», Mr. Marape said.
Prime Minister also said that Cabinet would sit and went through recommendations from the main COVID-19 centre, including schools and universities, flights, and shipping.
The Government will also ensure those who are laid off from work has financial assistance flowing for some time.
«The national government will also partner city/urban authorities, starting with NCDC to identify unemployed families in Port Moresby who need food for us to supply food at the earliest», Mr. Marape said.
For those engaged in small and medium enterprises (SME) and also businesses, Government is injecting funds into commercial banks for partnerships for low-cost borrowing: Bank of South Pacific (5% for 15 years), Kina and NDB banks (4% for 20 years). The Government has budgeted K200 million for 2020 as guarantees of SME access to bank loans every year for the next 10 years.
Shadow Treasurer Joseph Lelang said there is an urgent need for the government to introduce a supplementary budget. According to Mr. Lelang, the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy has affected world demand and an exponential loss of lives. He said that trade has suffered as a result and PNG, which has a highly open economy, faces significant loss in export earnings, declining world LNG and oil prices, and supply chain networks grinding to a halt.