Is the 100 Days – 25 Point Plan Practical and Achievable ?

By Francis Hualupmomi



It appears that the government has admitted that there has to be a macroeconomic discipline in rescuing the current economic situation. And it has put forward a 100-Days 25-Point Plan economic rescue package for the country based on the Alotau Accord II. But is this package realistic and achievable? Therefore, this article seeks to respond to this question.
The Current Economic Situation

Source: ADB 2017 Outlook https://www.adb.org/countries/papua-new-guinea/economy



According to the Asian Development Bank Economic Outlook (2017), the PNG economy has slowed down to 2.0 percent compared to the last four years (see the figure above). But it is predicted to pick up again at 2.5 percent by 2017 driven by mining and agriculture. The slowdown in the economy has been attributed to low commodity prices. This has increased inflation and unemployment, decreased foreign reserves, and affected the national budget.

Macroeconomic Landscape
It appears that the economic approach undertaken by the government over the last four has been one of an Expansionary. At the fiscal policy level, it has been driving the economy with high spending and borrowing at the backdrop of a decade long economic growth. The rationale is simple – utilise the surplus to expand the economy through infrastructure development which will, in turn, stimulate the economy. As a result of this approach, the economy has experienced an infrastructure boom in the economy as has been so far.
At the monetary level, it has been responding to the fiscal policy to ensure that the economy remains stabilised. It is important to note that in a country like PNG, monetary policy approach responds to fiscal policy to ensure stability. In so doing, it controls exchange rate and interest rates which tend to influence inflationary (inflation) behaviour.
Unfortunately, this macroeconomic policy has been affected by an unfavourable condition. There are two related factors, apart from others, that affect this behaviour. First, is that our commodities have been hit hard by low prices in the global market, which we have no control over. As a result of this price fluctuation, the revenue sources have been affected to sustain the fiscal capacity (budget). Because PNG is a resource-dependent economy that relies heavily on mineral and petroleum sectors, a price fluctuation in the global market will directly affect the economy in terms of growth and development. That is one of the reasons why the budget has been cut in certain social and economic sectors.
The second factor is that while the expansionary approach has been good it has not been managed at a sustainable level. What it means is that as the commodity prices slowly began to pick up again there has been a steady increase in the spending and borrowing. The reason is that there is an expectation that price will pick up again as in normal business cycle and sustain the expansionary approach. The downside of it is that it is quite difficult to predict the price fluctuation due to the complex interaction of market forces. As a result of this fiscal behaviour, the budget spending and borrowing has increased the deficit. However, the budget deficit can be improved and incrementally restored to normalcy through a sustainable macroeconomic policy package. Therefore, the next part will discuss this.

The Viability of the New Macroeconomic Rescue Package
The new Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Hon Charles Able, has realised the downside of the expansionary macroeconomic approach. And he has proposed a 100-Days economic package to rescue the economy from further sinking. In essence, this is a 25-Point Plan which has been widely consulted with the private sector and led by some of the senior ministers and economic advisors. While this package may seem unrealistic to some critical commentators, in my view, it is a workable and achievable one.
The 100-Days 25-Point Plan intervention is based on these key strategic economic priority areas:


• Maintain Fiscal Discipline and Boost Foreign Exchange; Growing Our Revenues;
• Strengthening Our Economic Base;
• Improving Our Governance Record, and;
• Acting Strategically
.
First, maintaining fiscal discipline and boost foreign through the growing of revenues. Given the issue of the fiscal problem, practically maintaining a fiscal discipline in a prudent manner will help boost the foreign exchange in many ways. That means controlling and spending behaviour as compared to previous years. And this must be balanced with growing revenues through multiple sources. Incoming revenues must be prudently managed in a sustainable way. What is collected should be spent on strategic priority areas that can bring in higher returns.
In addition, the tax cut will be a balanced strategy. This is because no new taxes will be imposed on ordinary people despite declining revenues. However, this can be recovered through those who avoid or and evade tax. The country has been missing out on the billion dollar extractive industries through tax. For instance, a lot of companies in the mining, petroleum and logging industries have been avoiding or exempted from tax. As result of this, billions of Kina have been going out of the country. These lost revenues could be recovered and help support the budget.
Secondly, strengthening of the economic base is an innovative plan to invest in economic areas that have been ignored. This implies that the economic base must be diversified to boost the economy by way of revenues sources and invested in a lot of baskets to cushion economic surprises. Apparently, the focus on agriculture is pragmatic going forward. It has been a neglected billion dollar sector. Therefore, it is hoped that this will incrementally support and sustain the budget. 
Moreover, while the plan sounds practical, the governance aspect of it is fundamentally critical. The government has been widely criticised by the public for governance issues. And this approach is a noble plan to improve its credibility and international standing. In so doing, it will help its approach in prudently governing and managing the economy. Because investor confidence attracts investment and helps build the economy. Political governance is the strategic driver of economic growth and development at this time and in the long run.
Finally, these plans must be pursued in a strategic way. Every decision requires calculated available options to maximise optimal outcome. The government has chosen the best strategy therefore, it is Directionally Correct.



In conclusion, the economy has been affected due to the changing economic conditions and governing approach. And this has been evident in the current economic situation the country is facing. But this can be arrested through a sustainable macroeconomic approach. Therefore, the 100-days 25-point plan package is a practical one and needs to be incrementally governed and managed in a strategic way.

Francis Hualupmomi is a PhD Student in Public Policy in the School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington. He is a Political Scientist in the area of political economy of energy security, geopolitics of resources, international security, and strategic policy. Views expressed here are his own. francishualupmomi270@gmail.com 

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DEVELOPMENT IS ACCORDED TO POPULATION SIZE – O’NEILL

9th May 2017

Mr O’Neill said when his government came into office in 2012, one of his first meetings was with Governor Powes Parkop who put forward many of NCD’s expansion plans that were never implemented by the previous government.

Mr O’Neill said the previous government had so many expansion plans for city roads including basic services for its city residents, which never eventuated into tangible results.

However, everything changed due to the hosting of the SP Games in 2015, which became a game changer.

STH1
O’Neill cuts the ribbon to Officially Open the Sir Ruben Taureka Highway

Mr O’Neill PM described the project at the time to be three years behind schedule that had ailing infrastructure and could not even host an international event in the country. He said his government took a bold step and made a decision that was against all advice in cancelling the event.

He said it was an opportunity for the national government to deliver the infrastructure for a growing city like Port Moresby, which needed world-class facilities which overtime became a reality.

“Today you have stadiums you can be proud of that is comparable to stadiums anywhere in the world. You simply forget when you go and watch a rugby league match at PRL and forget where we came from. And you take it for granted that these some of the infrastructure weren’t even there a few years back. You forgot the hard decisions and hard ships we had to take in order for everyone to enjoy the facilities. Even our roads now are built to world class standards,” he said.

Mr O’Neill said people were complaining about the government spending too much money in Port Moresby and reminded everyone it was the government’s prerogative to plan and spend money that will bring much needed services to people, which was based on the size of the population in any given location.

“There is no other formula when you have a population like one million people living in Port Moresby city, offcourse you need to upgrade its infrastructure. I want to build a four – lane road in Pangia District but we only have 120,000 population there, so it does not make economic sense to build a four-lane highway there,” he said.

The Prime Minister said developments throughout the country concentrated on areas with the largest populations such as Lae, Mt Hagen and Kokopo.

“We fixed Lae city from a pot hole city to a cement city. We built a four-lane highway from Lae City to Nadzab. We are also building a four-lane highway from Kagamuga to Mt Hagen and onto Koltiga. We are also upgrading all the roads in Kokopo, its because of large portion of Papua New Guineans go and get services there.” he said.

Ela Beach gets timely Facelift

By: Jonny Andrews

I have been watching with interest the developments happening at Ela Beach.

It saddens me that most of the trees will be cut for this development but I am reminded that in order for something/someone to be remold they had to be broken into many many pieces.

Papua New Guinea is growing and with growth comes development. Development of infrastructure,  development of its tourism industry and development of its landscapes.

We continually compare ourselves to the Arab Nations but we must understand that, they reached that stage by starting off where we are right now. It was not an overnight miracle, it was a progressive development that changed their nation.

The Ela Beach Redevelopment it seems has 3 Contractors working on it.
1. Apec Haus and the Marina by OSL
2. Ela Beach Waterfront by CHEC
3. ?????  – this would be another company which will develop the area towards Koki

It is not only the Beachfront that is getting developed, the properties opposite the road would also see development. Currently, there is a plan to redevelop the IEA School, Ela beach hotel and properties inline with the whole development of Ela Beach.

This development of Ela Beach will join the Paga Hill Development and make it one of the biggest Development in the Pacific Region compared to other Pacific Island Nations.

Papua New Guinea is moving forward, it is time we also move our mindset and look forward to greater participation in our own land.

 


Port Moresby’s iconic beach to be modernized at a cost of K55 million. New developments to include APEC and a 4-lane highway
THE Hiri Moale Festival will be allocated space in the current redevelopment of the iconic Ela Beach in Port Moresby.

ela-main
Redevelopment of IEA in Ela Beach

This was made known by Member for Moresby South Justin Tkatchenko when he responded to questions on the redevelopment of the beach.

He added that the Motu-Koita Assembly, the voice piece of the Motu-Koitabu landowners of traditional Port Moresby, was in agreement of the redevelopment of the beach front which would bring in new jobs.

The annual three-day event, which culminates in the crowning of Miss Hiri Hanenamo, promotes the culture of the Motu coastal villagers

Mr Tkatchenko was also asked on the controversial issue of the land title which he fought to have extinguished after it was awarded to Awak Holdings Limited two years ago.

“I did not agree with the way the title was handed to Awak Holdings via the Lands Department.” Awaks development plan had also entailed reclamation of the shorefront about 50 metres but it met with opposition from Mr Tkatchenko and traditional landowners.

09ak_trees_0
Ela Beach Redevelopment by China Harbour Construction

“The beach front comes under National Capital District Commission and it is State land, open space and recreational.”

He added that after the extinguishing of the land title, the title was publicly tendered by NCDC and awarded to Cardno and China Harbour Engineering Company for the roadworks.

The Ela Beach Foreshore Development Plan was unveiled in September last year.

In that plan the beach front will undergo two stages of development with stage one will see completion of APEC Haus to be constructed on NCDC’s sea park land. APEC Haus will be the venue for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation Leaders’ Summit next year.

The second major development would be the construction of Ela Beach Road as a four-lane road to align with Healy Parade and Paga Point Ring Road; construction of about 300 car parks; and redevelopment of Ela Beach as per the unveiled master plan.

NCDC had dedicated its land being the former sea park jetty for the construction of APEC Haus. Post Courier /ONE P

 

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$17 million road improvement, beach extension project in Port Moresby

By Benorah Hesehing

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Feb. 10, 2017)

Work will begin today to give Port Moresby’s iconic Ela Beach a K55 million [US$17 million] facelift.

 

NCD Governor Powes Parkop said the redevelopment project involved the construction of a two-lane road and an extension of the beach by another 100 metres.

“The work will begin tomorrow (today) and I am calling on the public for their understanding and cooperation,” Parkop told a media conference yesterday.

“There will be some disruptions for the earth work but we intend to keep the existing roads operational while the new lanes are being constructed.

Ela beach Road Map
Road Map for Ela Beach Redevelopment

“Some of the trees, shrubs and palms which provide shade would be removed to create way for construction.”

He added that the National Capital District Commission was doing all it could to retain the old trees. “We understood that the older trees were part of the Ela beach heritage and are working hard to save those, which can be saved,” Parkop said.

He said the people should not think about what they would lose, but what they would gain from the redevelopment project.

Ela-Beach-Marina-Development
Ela Beach Marina Hotel

Moresby South MP and Minister for Sports and National Events Justin Tkatchenko said the project was a “fantastic achievement for NCDC”.

“We can plant advanced trees within the landscaping for Ela Beach to ensure what is replaced is suitable or even better,” he said

Ela-Beach-Marina-Development-1
Ela Beach Marina with APEC Haus in the Middle

 

ADB Helps PNG Expand Port Moresby International Airport Using PPP

By: The FINANCIAL

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Papua New Guinea (PNG) National Airports Corporation (NAC) signed a transaction advisory services agreement to develop a new international passenger terminal at Port Moresby (Jacksons) International Airport through public-private partnership (PPP) on 2 February 2017.
“ADB has been a key development partner to NAC for several years through the landmark Civil Aviation Development Investment Program,” said Marcelo Minc, Country Director of ADB’s PNG Resident Mission. “Through this transaction advisory support to NAC for the Jacksons airport, we hope to complement the work we are doing across the PNG aviation sector, develop a regional hub for air traffic in the Pacific, and create a template for delivery of PPP projects in the region.”

The project will use a PPP scheme where the private sector will design, build, finance, operate, and maintain the airport facilities. A new international passenger terminal, the extension of the main runway, and other infrastructure enhancements will help the airport meet forecast air services growth up to 2040. The concession period and other parameters will be determined based on the feasibility study, according to ADB.
ADB’s support is part of its ongoing assistance to PNG to identify and develop PPPs in the transport sector, a key priority in ADB’s 2016-2020 Country Partnership Strategy for PNG. ADB has been supporting the government to improve 21 national airports to provide safer, more secure, and all-weather air transport services through the Civil Aviation Development Investment Program. Jacksons International Airport is part of the program.

The project will be ADB’s first PPP transaction advisory engagement in PNG and the Pacific. As part of the agreement, ADB also aims to create document and contact templates that may be used for future PPPs in the region and to build local expertise in PPP management and execution.
http://www.finchannel.com/business/63208-adb-helps-png-expand-port-moresby-international-airport-using-ppp

Reduce Fuel Prices in Papua New Guinea

Last week, Board Chairman of Air Niugini Sir Frederick Reiher on christening the 4th Fokker 70 aircraft in Alotau, spoke on the Air Niugini’s submission to making air travel affordable for Papua New Guineans by reducing Government Taxes.

While that is a great initiative from Air Niugini to encourage Tourism and lower airfares, the Government would do the people of Papua New Guinea justice by lowering the Fuel prices in Papua New Guinea.

One way to achieve that is to encourage InterOil who has a refinery in Port Moresby to sell cheaply to local suppliers and additional to provide a Tax subsidy for distributors.

Lower fuel prices leads to lower overall transport costs around Papua New Guinea…..as transport costs drives the price up……

airniugini-1-of-8

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Air Niugini to push for cheap airfares
September 30,2016, 12:00 pm – Post Courier

Air Niugini will put a submission to the National Government to make air travel affordable for Papua New Guineans.

The announcement was made by the airline’s board chairman Sir Frederick Reiher at the naming ceremony of another Fokker 70 aircraft. The plane, the fourth in the series, was christened ‘Alotau’.

He said the national airline was keen to partner with the National Government to achieve two goals: a significant growth in tourism and tourism numbers and to help make it easy for PNG families to travel on domestic air services.

He said it is probably not known that government taxes and charges make up a substantial proportion of the total cost of domestic airline tickets.

He said the level of taxes and charges vary on routes that Air Niugini and its subsidiary airline Link PNG serve. Up to a third of the total cost of an average ticket comprises taxes and charges.

“Air Niugini is also impacted of course by fuel taxes, the cost of which is passed on to our passengers. We have been considering for some time how we might be able to work with National Government to make airfares more affordable firstly for families and local businessmen and women and secondly for our tourists,” he said.

“I appreciate the national budget is also impacted by economic circumstances but I am confident this measure will would provide a real lift to the economy and would deliver higher return to the government over the medium term.”

Planning Minister Charles Abel, who was present for the event, noted the concerns and admitted that tax did constitute up to 50 per cent of the cost of airfares.

He said government revenue was constrained to some degree and there was a reluctance to reduce taxes. But all options will be considered given the broader implications and gains expected.

“Lowering airfares will support tourism and create these huge economic benefits at home so we do acknowledge that and we do commend the PX board and management and staff for the reforms it has undertaken in these difficult times,” he said.

By the same token he also highlighted that while times were tough there had been some positives including a reduction in fuel prices. He challenged the airline to see if this could translate to lower airfares on fuel surcharge.