Thursday, August 19, 2010

Government told to stick to maintenance

THE government has been urged not to compete with LNG project developers and concentrate on maintenance work on existing infrastructure of transport, health centres, schools and colleges and plan ahead for the utilisation of the trained and skilled workers after all the gas is harvested, The National reports.

Bank of PNG Governor Loi Bakani said the government should direct its development budget and implementation capacities to other priority areas of education, health, law and order, environment and conservation and, especially, the agriculture sector.

Bakani was speaking at the national development forum in Port Moresby yesterday.

“The need to invest in agriculture is vital for PNG to ensure the so-called ‘Dutch disease’ will be avoided,” he added.

Dutch disease, in economics, referred to the decline in manufacturing sector due to increase in exploitation of natural resources.

The theory is that an increase in revenue from natural resources will affect a country by raising its exchange rate, making manufacturing and agriculture sectors less competitive.

Bakani said LNG project developers were building the “infrastructure corridor from Southern Highlands to Port Moresby in the form of roads, pipeline, power and telecommunication”.

The government should, in turn, concentrate its effort in areas that the developers were not extensively using their resources on, he added.

Bakani also said, among other things, BPNG was extending its expertise to the rural majority through financial literacy, micro banking and technological innovation through the use of mobile phone banking.

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