By Bridgette Komatep – EM TV, Port Moresby
As 2015 is an important year for the country with the 2015 Pacific Games, the government is determined to get straight into business.
The government accounts open for the 2015 fiscal year next week Monday.
In a news conference this afternoon, Business Minister, James Marape said although the country will run on a Deficit Budget in 2015, all is well.
Minister Marape said the government has spent 96 per cent of the money allocated in the 2014 National Budget.
The remaining amount has been put forward as recurrent budget.
He says the economy is strong, fuelled mainly by sale from the PNG LNG project.
He said despite the global effect on commodity and mineral prices, the country’s strong reserves in the Central Bank continues to provide investor confidence, adding it’s no different to when the former treasurer, Don Polye was in office.
Minister Marape said the country has sufficient foreign exchange reserves to cover 7.8 months of non-mineral import cover and overall 4.6 months cover. The foreign reserves figures are not much different now from when former Treasurer Don Polye presided over the economy less than one year ago.
He said as an example, foreign reserve was at K6.912 billion at the close of the 2013 financial year and was K6.4851 billion by close of business for the 2014 financial year. The variation he says is within acceptable margins so discarded Mr Polye’s criticisms on the country’s economy.
The government’s priority for this year is to continue with the government’s education and free health care policy.
It will also see through the housing policy with BSP for young working Papua New Guineans.
Agriculture and SME programs are also highly regarded in 2015.