O’Neill wants more focus on agriculture


THE agriculture sector has not been given the attention it deserves, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.
He said revenue from agriculture could cater for the increasing expenditure the Government had to take care of given the increasing population over the years.
“The theme (Unlocking the power of agriculture for PNG) is important. And much of it you would realise that we have captured in the Alotau Accord,” he said.
“We’ve seen PNG’s economy going through a bust-and-boom cycle for quite a while, largely because we over-depend on one sector – the resources sector. And it has helped PNG well.
“But I think we are too complacent and we are not realising other potential we have in our country, especially when commodity prices, oil, gas and copper go down, our economy takes a huge downfall.”
As an example, he said 10 years ago, “we used to have K2bil in oil and gas taxes”.
“No country can afford that kind of money. And that is why it is crucial that we continue to build the potentials that we have in the other sectors of the economy. Grow other base of the economy so it can sustain us”
O’Neill said the country’s population was increasing at a much faster rate.
“Because of the limited revenue base we have, and the ever expanding expenditure levels of government, it’s not easy to attend to every priority. We are the fastest growing population in the world. Revenue of the Government cannot be able to sustain the growth.