But domestic flights to resume from Monday
By GYNNIE KERO
GOVERNMENT has extended the state of emergency for two months, but restrictions on domestic flights will be lifted from Monday.
Prime Minister James Marape, during a special sitting of Parliament yesterday where a K5.6 billion Covid-19 stimulus economic package was announced, said State of Emergency Controller David Manning also had the powers to relax other restrictions where and when necessary.
Marape said the extension of the lockdown was necessary “to ensure that we mitigate potential harm that the spread of the virus may cause”.
It was also to allow Government agencies to implement “urgent and ongoing measures to protect all Papua New Guineans”.
Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey, when tabling the stimulus economic package, said the closing of the borders and restricting the movement of people had serious economic impacts “on tourist facilities, airlines and markets”.
“There are reports of looting in some areas, driven on occasions by increasing hunger from workers laid off jobs,” he said.
“The slowdown in growth and people losing their jobs will lower personal income tax, company income tax and GST (goods and services tax) collections.”
Elements of the economic stimulus package are:
- issuance of K2.5 billion in Treasury bonds. Ling-Stuckey said: “We are going to market hard for K2.5 billion in domestic financing. There will be an offer of at least K1 billion as early as next week. We need this cash now. We are talking to the banks, superannuation funds and others to support this fundraising. But we also understand that things are very tight for them.”
- K0.6 billion to support loan repayment holidays. He said: “We know that households and businesses are doing it hard. We welcome the support of our banks in indicating that various forms of mortgage repayment holidays are available for up to three months.”
- K1.5 billion in foreign assistance which includes K1.26 billion from the International Monetary Fund, K170 million from the Asian Development Bank and K70 million from the World Bank;
- K0.5 billion in superannuation measures to assist people who have lost their jobs;
- K0.5 billion for the health, security and economic sectors;
- K250 million for the health and security response – K175 million for Health, K50 million for Police and K25 million for Defence.
He said K250 million was to support the rural sector, jobs, micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and families.
“Details of these support measures will be announced shortly,” he said. Ling-Stuckey said the Government needed to prepare a Supplementary Budget.
“I have asked the Central Agencies Coordinating Committee (a committee of the secretaries of government departments) to review our budget. We need to find budget cuts to finance the increased needs of the health, security and economic sectors,” he said.
Parliament has been adjourned to June 2.