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.