By MALUM NALU
THE economy is projected to grow by 2.7 per cent this year – slightly lower than the 2017 budget estimate of 2.8 per cent.
The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook report prepared by the Treasury Department said it reflected lower-than-anticipated growth in the mining and the agriculture sectors, while the oil and gas sector was projected to contract by 0.5 per cent.
“The mining and quarrying sector is projected to grow at 11.9 per cent in 2017, driven by a rebound from the Ok Tedi mine and the Ramu Nickel mine after a lacklustre performance in 2016,” it said.
“However, this is lower than the projected 14.3 per cent at the 2017 budget, reflective of the lower than expected gold production from the two major mines: Ok Tedi and Porgera.
“The agriculture, forestry and fishery sector is projected to grow at 3.2 per cent, slightly lower than the 2017 budget estimate of 3.3 per cent. This reflects low log production in 2017.
“Other agricultural commodities are set to perform well at expected levels.
“Palm oil production is expected to return to normal following the effect of El Nino.
“Supply response from cocoa is expected to gain momentum with new areas coming into production, especially the Sepik provinces despite a contraction in cocoa prices.
“Copra oil production will continue to benefit from favourable prices while coffee production is to moderate in 2017 as the crop recovers from a bumper season in 2016.”
By MALUM NALU