The National, Monday 17th June 2013
THE government will invest revenues from the booming extractive industry in agriculture, tourism and infrastructure to sustain economic growth in the long-run, Treasurer Don Polye said recently.
“This shift would mean that the government can no longer be a ‘beggar’.
“However, we appreciate the continuous financial support by our donor partners …. PNG can take the lead now by giving loans to the Pacific Island countries,” Polye said.
He noted that by way of supporting agriculture, tourism and infrastructure sectors, the government would be increasing financial support and would drive land mobilisation, road and transport infrastructure programmes.
He said over a span of four years the government has embarked on a major road and maritime infrastructure developments nationwide at a cost K1 billion.
Polye said discussions were taking place with reputable international investors in agriculture to ensure that the government was holding direct equity shares.
The high impact agriculture projects would stimulate small-to-medium enterprise, women in business, and youth in business to improve the declining living standards of households.
“In economic perspective, agriculture, infrastructure (i.e. roads, jetties, wharfs, communication, electricity and water) and tourism would take us to the next level.
“The most important of all is the development of our human resource through quality education.
“We have to shift our resource in these viable areas because they are much more sustainable.
“I like the New Britain Oil Palm Agri-project model and would like to see more of this to sustain our economic growth when mine and petroleum activities in the country are depleted.
“Our continuous reliance on the mining and petroleum sector for our public purse is welcome.
“However, the bad news is that the growth in agriculture has been declining,” Polye said.
Polye said that previously, the sector grew by 36% but this year, its growth has been projected to decrease by 8% and in 2017 — if the trend continues — it will be further reduced by five,” he said.
Polye said in the last 10 years, some sectors had performed well while others had not prompted the government to correct the weak spots.
The transportation, communication and storage sectors have better records in the last 10 years.
The Mid-year Finance Outcome Report will be presented next month in Parliament.
Polye stressed the National Development Bank would continue to support small-medium enterprises and the expansion of agri-business by the citizens.
Special attention would also be given to the rehabilitation of cash crop plantations nationwide.