12 Jun 2003

PNG asks ADB for loan to be released

4:59 pm on 12 June 2003

The Papua New Guinea government will ask the Asian Development Bank to release a 35 million US dollar economic rescue package next week.

The Treasury Minister, Bart Philemon says the delay is forcing the government to borrow domestically at high interest rates to provide essential services for the country.

The ADB is objecting to the way the Fisheries Minister appointed an acting managing director of PNG's National Fisheries Authority without advertising the position.

Mr Philemon says the ADB is overreacting and that it is vital that the ADB release the funds to PNG.

"There are two items in the budget for 2003 is not performing and that is the hundred and forty million from Asian development bank and two hundred million from the asset sales and as a result government services must continue and we have gone into a domestic borrowing so it means there are additional amounts of interest costs that have not been budgeted for"

PNG's treasury minister, Bart Philemon.

Molean Chappau, a retrenched officer, was appointed as the NFA's acting managing director to replace Dr Anthony Lewis who was an ADB consultatnt.

The fisheries minister, Andrew Baing, has declined comment.