Papua New Guineans urge to go into agriculture

Papua New Guineans urge to go into agriculture 

Prime Minister, James Marape has urged   Papua New Guineans to participate in agriculture and small businesses.

The government has    allocated K300 million for these in the 2020 national Budget.

Mr Marape was addressing Parliament in support of Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey 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. Let no foreigner or someone tell you that you are poor.

“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.

Prime Minister Marape said the Budget would be a “tool to engage Papua New Guineans to participate in business.

Two hundred million Kina   has been earmarked    for agriculture and small to medium enterprises (SMEs), while the other K100 million will be set aside for other SMEs.

The money will    be accessed through either Bank South Pacific or National Development Bank.

Mr Marape has also requested 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.

 “I have also indicated that 50 per cent will be given to businesses run by women, and the balance to businesses run by men.

“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.

 “It is all about encouraging Papua New Guineans to go into business, instead of waiting for free handouts from Government.,” he said.

 Prime Minister Marape said the Government was putting more money into previously-neglected sectors such as agriculture and SMEs.

The allocations   in the 2020 Budget include:

·         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   

About   t 10 per cent of the money would be made available to Bougainville SMEs.

Mr Marape is confident the money will impact on the country’s economy.