Political, policy stability seen as country’s greatest need


The country’s greatest need in this term of parliament is political and policy stability to ensure major projects in the country reach construction stage, says National Planning Minister Richard Maru.
He told the media in Port Moresby yesterday that this included the three major clan resource projects: Papua LNG, Wafi-Golpu and Frieda River mines.
Other major projects such as the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) and many large-scale agriculture and manufacturing projects have been secured and will reach construction stage during the remaining four years in this term of Parliament.
“We have been over dependent on the resource sector for a very long time,” Maru said.
“We did not build sustainable sectors like agriculture, fisheries, tourism and forestry.
“With the high cost of transport and high incidence of law-and-order, it was difficult to build the country on the back of tourism and all these.
“Our country has now recognised all these mistakes and has put in a new policy, a medium-term development plan three, which focuses on growing the economy.
“This is so that one day we can have K20 billion coming into our coffers.
“Then we can really assist our people, build the roads they want.
“Right now there’s nothing.
“We generate an estimated K8 billion a year in tax revenue coming into purse of the country and Customs brings in K3 billion.
“So total revenue for Papua New Guinea in any given year at the moment, without loans and grants, sits at K11 billion.
“For a country of eight million people, tropical environment and terrain we have, that is totally insufficient to meet our education, our health, and all our other requirements.
“The economy is far too small.”
Maru said New Zealand operated from an annual revenue of K190 billion, a population of 5.5 million, and a landmass a third of this country without gold, copper or other mineral resources except agriculture, fisheries and manufacturing.
“When you start to compare other developed countries, they are talking about 100-plus billion to run an economy,” he said.
“This situation we are in is not created by our Government.
“Prices have gone down.
“This economy needs to grow double, triple and go on.
“We are always out of revenue to develop and provide services that our people want.
“We are always under pressure on cash flows because our revenue sources are too small to cater for the growing needs of our people.”