Lockdown extended

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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.

6 comments

  • Lets all not be greedy. We must forgo and sacrifice some things.
    Banks need to extend loan loan terms and reduce interest.
    Shops must not take advantage of the situation.
    Real estate businesses must relax rental payments.
    Employers must pay people who have been laid off as a result of the SOE.
    We all need to do our bit.
    People in the informal sector are the worst affected in terms of survival. How will they be bailed out as part of the economic stimulus package? What is the plan?

  • Ralph Makaen- i do agree, this Pandemic is a test to human kind humility and considerations. Privileged and opportunists wealth gaps widened. This time is to give freely and sit back and wait for double returns.

  • The time of crisis is also a time of test and trial for the whole world and smaller nations in particular. It’s a time for sacrifice for every single citizen, whether rich or poor, whether famous or not, whether politician, businessman or grassroot. And it’s a time of solidarity and for solidarity. Let us see how we will be passing this test as a nation.

  • Retail stores and especially pharmacies can help out by buying plenty of hand sanitizer and selling it in their stores. We are thankful for those stores who make hand sanitizer available to their customers at the entrance. They are providing a good service that can help to prevent the spread of Corona virus.

  • Correction……. The 2 months extension is for State of Emergency (SoE) ONLY.
    The ‘Lockdown’ was/ is only for the14 days – up to & until (to be lifted) on Monday/ Tuesday 7th April 2020.
    Repoter/ Editor – note the difference for accurate reporting.

  • May Government allow both employees who are working and been laid off, to withdrew their savings from NASFUND and so forth, it doesn’t mean people who are still working are doing fine its a big NO NO every one is affected by this lock down due to this World Wide Deadly Disease (Corona virus) . Hence, please may Government allow both people who are laid off as well as people who are still working, otherwise people will resign to have their funds, we all need money to survive at this point of time.

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