O’Neill leaves for ADB meet

National, Normal

The National, Monday, May 2, 2011

FINANCE and Treasury Minister Peter O’Neill left yesterday to attend the Asian Development Bank’s 44th annual meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam.
O’Neill was expected to attend 40 events planned for the week, including plenary sessions and meetings of finance ministers of the 67 member countries to discuss bilateral and multilateral issues.
Economic growth in the region, integrating and harmonising Asia’s capital and financial markets, private capital investment in infrastructure and climate change challenges were among issues to be discussed.
“The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is PNG’s largest bilateral development partner,” O’Neill said.
“At this stage of our development, it is imperative we maintain a cordial relationship with this institution.”
The treasurer will hold talks with ADB officials for possible further funding of the upgrade and redevelopment of the Highlands Highway.
The redevelopment of the highway, considered a lifeline for the resource-rich highlands region, is crucial to the country enhancing its economic growth, led by the PNG LNG project in Southern Highlands.
The ADB is involved in a number of infrastructure development projects in the country.
O’Neill had been busy in recent weeks, travelling two weeks ago to attend the spring meeting of the World Bank Group, and travelling early last month to China to sign loan agreements with the Export Import Bank of China.
In their recent visit to the country, representatives of the ADB and World Bank had praised the work of O’Neill and the government for the sustained economic growth the country had enjoyed in the last eight years.
The institutions had warned against inflation and excessive government spending, something O’Neill said the government was keeping a close watch over.