PRIME Minister James Marape says people should embrace the emphasis on agriculture and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) in the 2020 Budget.
Commenting on the budget handed down by Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey on Thursday, Marape said agriculture and SMEs were 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; and,
- oil palm smallholder roads K10 million.
Marape said the Government was putting more money into previously-neglected sectors such as agriculture and SMEs.
“We will be tailoring a programme,” Marape 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 network.
“We want to partner with our districts and provinces who will identify SMEs operating at their level, especially agriculture-based SMEs.
“This money is not for the prime minister, Treasurer or Finance Minister to distribute to 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.”
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.”