Minister confident of investment increase in economic sector


National Planning and Monitoring Minister Richard Maru is confident that the increased investment in the economic sector through the 2018 budget allocation will result in a decrease in imports.
He said PNG’s import bills for items that could be easily substituted, like rice which was about K800 million and dairy products which was about K400 million annually, had been soaring.
“The import substitution has been on the Government agenda for many years,” Maru said during the 2018 budget presentation on Tuesday.
“We have not taken any real steps in that direction through development of appropriate policy directives to substitute imports.
“Thus, Papua New Guinea’s import bills have been soaring on items that can be easily substituted. For instance our rice import bill is about K800 million annually while our dairy product bill is about K400 million annually.
“Papua New Guinea has a comparative advantage in producing many of these things so that we save and also to help create additional jobs and build our foreign reserves.
The imported agricultural fresh produce is also crowding out the local production due to lower costs of importation and certification.
“The 2018 budget allocates significant funding for industrial centres development, trade ports, the State equity fund to build appropriate industrial centres for the private sector investors to operate and also for the State to partner the private sector through equity participation.
“Import substitution will improve our balance of trade, whilst increasing employment opportunities for all Papua New Guineans through the development of competitive local industries, which will contribute to enhance social welfare of our people.”