BY MATTHEW VARI
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has maintained 2019’s National Budget will maintain focus on agriculture and tourism when tabled inext month.
He said this after while witnessing the signing of the shareholding agreement between the shareholders of the Sepik Plains agricultural Chicken Grain and Cocoa Innovation project in the Yangoru-Saussia District of East Sepik Province on Wednesday in Port Moresby.
“When we frame the 2019 budget, which will be presented in November, our focus will be again agriculture and tourism in our country,” he said.
“Because we believe they will provide the biggest potential for our people.
“And I know that by developing that we can employ more people not only a sector that is going to produce income for our people, but also give them gainful employment and living out of those farms and tourism projects that we have created right across the country.”
The 2018 budget this year allocated one of the largest slices to the agro and tourism through SME development that included the introduction of an economic stimulus package that cost around K665 million as direct government intervention to grow the economy.
“That is why we have set up the Kumul Agriculture Limited with KCH (Kumul Consolidated Holdings) and I thank the board and minister for supporting that,” he said.
“Now we have to support Mr Arther Jones (KAL managing director) and his team and with also the support of NDB.
“We have been supporting NDB in an irregular way but not consistent that is why agriculture has been stopping and starting.”
The PM added the signing of Sepik Plains was just the start of more project to continue the path to broadening the economy.
“We look forward to working in similar projects right across the country. There are a few projects being developed in Manus, Kikori, Vanimo, and down in Morobe, he said.
“We are going to focus on them making sure that we also deliver them as we are doing in the Sepik Plains,” Mr O’Neill said.