By GYNNIE KERO
THE Government has approached the commercial banks and superannuation funds to assist those currently facing financial hardship related to the State of Emergency.
Prime Minister James Marape said commercial banks were expected to give a three-month buffer to customers who took out loans.
Superannuation funds have been asked to allow members recently laid off from work to access their savings.
“We will be working with the commercial banks to provide short-term relief to borrowers (affected by) the immediate impact of the current global crisis,” he said.
He thanked the commercial banks and superfunds for the “positive meeting with me and the Central Bank governor”.
“They have shown that they are true corporate citizens during this downtime,” he said.
He said the banks had indicated that they would give “three months or so” to defer loan repayments for individuals, small and medium enterprises, and businesses.
“We are also working with the superfunds to take care of families whose breadwinners had been laid off,” he said.
“We know many in the private sector had laid off employees. So the superfunds have been asked to ensure that their savings are given to them, at least their personal savings.”
Marape also announced a number of measures to be taken to cushion the impact of the crisis on the national economy.
“Borders have closed. Movement of goods and people have been constrained. Economic activity has slowed,” he said.
The measures include:
- a downward revision of the 2020 budget to reflect the changing and evolving economic circumstances that we face;
- a review on tax and non-tax revenue projections;
- the deferral to next year of some projects including the rollout of the national identification programme (NID) and the national census.
On the monetary policy, there will be:
- a review of cash reserve requirements to increase total liquidity;
- a review of the Kina Facility Rate to cushion upward pressure on interest rates;
- a review of foreign exchange controls over currency trading by banks to prevent overpricing of currencies.