ANZ Banking Group chief Pacific economist Paul Guenwald said Papua New Guinea is the economic powerhouse of the Pacific and is set to outperform Fiji in the next decade as it did in the last.
Guenwald, elaborating on new report from the bank on Pacific economies this week, said the resources boom would see PNG continue to outperform Fiji until at least 2020, Radio Australia reported.
It quoted Guenwald as saying that despite the strong growth reported, PNG still lagged behind most Pacific countries on measures of personal economic well-being.
According to the bank, PNG’s per capita gross domestic product was around one-third of that in Fiji.
Gruenwald told Radio Australia he expected that to improve in the next 10 years, good management of the resources revenue by the government, was important to boost income and wealth.
“As of last year, which is the latest data we have on an annual basis, PNG’s economy is approaching US$8 billion in terms of GDP, that’s substantially larger than Fiji’s that is closer to US$3 billion,” he said.
“However, if we look at it on a per capita basis, the fixture is quite different, where we’ve got PNG’s per capita income of about US$3,000 and PNG is closer to US$1,000,” he said.
Guenwald’s comments on Wednesday came as international accounting firm Deloitte Touche said that PNG’s economy grew by an estimated 5.5% last year and was expected to grow by 7.1% this year.
Asked how he saw PNG performing in the next 10 years, Guenwald said: “We think the story is also quite good in the decade we’ve just begun.
“The reason is the LNG project, which, if it is managed properly, should be able to keep PNG’s growth rate relatively high.