In a wide-ranging speech on the economy to the PNG Update being held at UPNG on Thursday and Friday of this week, the Shadow Treasurer, Ian Ling-Stuckey, has highlighted how PNG can gain most benefits from the APEC meeting. ‘We need to have in place the policies that will actually encourage the business investment to flow after the meeting. I have no doubt that visiting leaders will be enormously impressed with PNG and what it has to offer. But we need the policies in place to translate this opportunity into reality. Unfortunately, PNG does not have the right policies in place to encourage investment.’
Mr Ling-Stuckey indicated the Alternative Government’s willingness to work with the government to try and get the best out of the opportunities of the very expensive APEC meeting. The speech highlights the importance of being true to the themes of APEC: “There is also the hypocrisy of our hosting a meeting which has its focus on building trade and investment links between countries. However, contrary to these objectives, PNG has introduced over 900 tariff increases over the last year. We are becoming less open to trade in both a policy sense, as well as in reality because of the foreign exchange shortages.’
“APEC may be a positive for the country, but the real cost of APEC means a lack of focus on other areas to advance our people’s well-being.” In the speech, the Shadow Treasurer explores the lack of inclusive development for the people of PNG since Independence. PNG’s relative performance on social indicators is disappointing – PNG is towards the bottom of regional countries on many indicators such as poverty, maternal health, malnutrition, diseases such as HIV/AIDs, Tuberculosis and malaria, and a lack of access to basic services. PNG’s economic performance is disappointing. Although the economy has grown, it has not kept pace with population growth.
Focusing on a positive action plan, the speech then considers policies that can take PNG forward. These include actions to deal with PNG’s jobs and incomes crisis, its budget crisis, and its foreign exchange crisis.
The speech will be available on the Alternative Government’s website on Thursday morning (http://www.opposition.gov.pg/).
The annual PNG Update conference at UPNG is co-hosted by the ANU. The theme for this year is “PNG in the year of APEC”. “This conference is an important opportunity to discuss research and analysis of contemporary economic and public policy issues in PNG. I commend conference organisers for encouraging democratic debate and inviting both the Treasurer and Shadow Treasurer to give presentations. I encourage people to follow this importance conference for understanding PNG’s current place in the world and how things can improve” said the Shadow Treasurer.
Shadow Minister for Treasury & Finance
12 June 2018