Thursday, January 01, 2015

PM O’Neill: 2015 will bring challenges and PNG well-placed to make progress despite global conditions

1 January 2015 
Office of the Prime Minister

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill (pictured)  is looking forward to the challenges that will be faced and progress that will be made through the new year.

“The year 2015 will mark our 40th year of independence as a nation, and will provide an opportunity to take stock of and build on our recent progress,” he said.
“Our nation will also hold the largest Pacific Games that has ever been undertaken, we will host the Leaders of the Pacific Islands’ Forum and welcome hundreds of APEC delegates as we prepare to host APEC Presidents and Prime Ministers in 2018.”
O'Neill said the focus of the Government would remain on the core policy areas that it promised to the people at the 2012 election, while managing global economic concerns relevant to Papua New Guinea.
“As a government we will continue to ensure the development of our four key priority areas of free education for all of our children, universal healthcare, improving law and order around the nation and delivering vital infrastructure.
“There will be challenges, particularly as the larger economies around the world face difficulties, but we are working to insulate people and businesses in our country from these complications.
“In particular, while the price of oil has dropped in recent months, for the most part this will not overly affect LNG revenues as we have forward contracts in place that are set at fixed pricing formula.
“Our domestic economy remains strong with a range of major projects underway that have already been funded and are creating tens of thousands of jobs throughout the country.
“This includes the infrastructure programmes that are needed to ensure our economy continues to generate business and create jobs into the future.
“Projects such as new roads, bridges and wharfs, new teachers colleges other educational institutions, and ongoing hospital improvements will be delivered in 2015.
“We are building thousands of new houses that will also be completed in 2015 giving thousands of Papua New Guinean families their own home through one of the best personal home loan schemes in the world.
“We will continue to devolve decision-making and spending power away from Waigani to local level governments and communities where this authority can be better undertaken in a targeted and transparent manner.
“Local people know their local areas and we are empowering people in the provinces, districts towns and villages to utilise government resources in a more effective and transparent manner.”
O'Neill said that despite the challenges posed by the international economy, the economy was moving forward and growth was positive.
“Our economic growth over the past few months has been very stable.
“The economy has been growing at around 8% per annum and this positive growth will continue.
“Inflation is steady, interest rates are steady, our foreign reserves are very high with enough in reserve to cover six months of imports, and employment levels continue to increase.
“The fundamentals of our economy are sound and the people of our nation have a hard-working Government, hard-working ministers and a hard-working Parliament that is working for the good of Papua New Guinea.”
The Prime Minister has wished all members of the public, and all members of the Parliament, a safe and prosperous 2015.

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