Papua New Guinea
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Gov’t seeks to shift away from loans

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) can provide PNG with hundreds of millions of US dollars in grants (over a billion Kina), but only after going through a stringent pre-qualification process.

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey when meeting with the head of the MCC, Alison Allbright, during his recent visit to Washington said this is all part of the government’s Targeted Grants Strategy (TGS), where they are seeking to move from loans to more and more grants to support PNG’s economic reform program.

“The MCC pre-qualification process is a demanding one. Currently, PNG is a long way from qualifying.  It will take several years to improve on enough indicators to get access to the potentially large grants available.

“If we do qualify for a “compact” program, there will be a PNG committee formed to administer the grants under MCC guidelines.

“Projects will be based on an assessment of how best to support PNG’s economic growth.  Any funded projects must go through a rigorous cost-benefit analysis. Competitive international procurement will be required. All tough, but all elements of good governance.

“While it may be several years away, it is important to fully understand the options and begin the journey now. Development is a long and hard process for better jobs and incomes. Partners such as MCC could assist.

“PNG also wants to move more towards grants and away from loans.

“This is especially the case as we start repaying our debt from 2027 when our budget is planned to return to a budget surplus,” stated the Treasurer.