PNG seeks K224mil loan


THE Government hopes to secure a K224 million loan from the World Bank following talks in Washington last week, according to Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey.
“World Bank loans represent good, cheap finance, the type of assistance that PNG should be seeking rather than expensive borrowings from private banks,” Ling-Stuckey said.
He held talks with World Bank officials from Thursday to Saturday last week, which coincided with the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Ling-Stuckey said the Government stood to lose three major projects worth more than K350 million if it did not get financial support.
“If we don’t take urgent action, this K350 million will be given to other countries. We would have lost vital assistance in the agriculture, health and employment areas. By talking directly to senior World Bank management, we now have a path forward to stop these funds being given away to other countries.
“This is good assistance available at very cheap rates – essentially zero per cent interest with repayment terms of up to 30 years.”
On the K224 million budget support for the Government, Ling-Stuckey said: “We talked through the reform processes that we have commenced with our Due Diligence/IMF (International Monetary Fund) process and the Supplementary Budget. Frankly, they were pretty impressed.
“We outlined the next steps we are taking heading towards the 2020 Budget and securing these funds is now much more likely.”
Ling-Stuckey said the meeting with World Bank also found new possibilities for increased funding.
“I can’t go into specifics, but some of these options could include concessional funds of close to one billion kina,” he said.