Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has urged the people of Papua New Guinea to into agriculture and small businesses, with Government having allocated K300 million for these in the 2020 Budget.
He said this after passage of the Budget in Parliament last Thursday night.
“The message from me to our citizens is that you own land, you are not poor,” Prime Minister Marape said.
“Let no foreigner or someone tell you that you are poor.You have your land back home. We want to link your land to productive use in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism and others.We are encouraging our people to think about business.My Government is pro-business for Papua New Guineans.Local Papua New Guineans must pick up a business.”
Prime Minister Marape said the Budget would be a “tool to engage our people to go into business”.
He said K200 million would be made available for agriculture SMEs and other K100 for other SMEs.
“This will be put into either Bank South Pacific or National Development Bank,” Prime Minister Marape said.
“We’re asking the banks to drop interest rates to as low as 4 per cent. If they can drop interest rates to 4 per cent, and extend out to a 20-year loan repayment period, that will incubate Papua New Guineans – women and men to be split 50 per cent – to get into business.
“We will have businesses which are start-ups, and existing Papua New Guinean businesses which are already in business and paying tax, and are struggling to go to the next level.Hopefully that can assist them to the next level.
It is all about encouraging Papua New Guineans to go into business, instead of waiting for free handouts from Government.”
Agriculture and SMEs are key-ticket items in the Budget:
SME funding for agriculture – K200 million
State equity fund for agriculture- K20 million
Special economic zones- K16 million
Tourism sector development – K23 million (loan K13.6 million)
Cocoa industry development- K7 million
Coffee industry development -K8 million
Fresh produce development and marketing – K7 million (loan K8.5 million and grant K600,000)
Coconut downstream processing and marketing- K9 million
Land development programme – K15 million
Livestock industry development – K5 million
Oil palm smallholder roads- K10 million
Prime Minister Marape said the Government was putting more money into previously-neglected sectors such as agriculture and SMEs.
He said about 10 per cent of the money would be made available to Bougainville SMEs.
“I have also indicated that 50 per cent will be given to businesses run by women, and the balance to businesses run by men,” Prime Minister Marape said.
“I stress here that this is not money which will disappear into thin air, like the infamous National Agriculture Development Plan, but which will impact on the economy.”