3 Oct 2005

PNG banker praises economic conditions

4:17 pm on 3 October 2005

A top banker in Papua New Guinea says the economy is experiencing its best conditions in the 30 years since independence because of a sense of maturity in leadership.

The Bank South Pacific managing director, Garth McIIwain, has told the National newspaper that bank lending has grown for the first time in five years and the indicator investor bank loan rate is at the lowest level in a decade.

Mr McIIwain also says rising levels of economic activity will lead to more jobs and improved taxes for the government.

He says he believes the economy will do well for at least another two years with good prices enjoyed for copper, oil and gold and for tree crop exports.

Noting that the government budget surplus has been used to reduce foreign debt, Mr McIIwain says he hopes the 2006 budget will focus attention on ailing infrastructure, schools and health clinics.