Bank of PNG confident in Sovereign Wealth Fund

From THE NATIONAL

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Thu 11 Apr 2013

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Papua New Guinea
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PORT MORESBY, PNG----Bank of PNG deputy governor Benny Popoitai is confident that the sovereign wealth fund (SWF) will be up and running before first LNG exports next year.

“We hope to have the legislation amended to effect the changes so that we can establish the SWF and have it running before the LNG revenue hits our coffers,” he told The National.

“The SWF has its own challenges.

“We’re gone through several changes and different people have different views, but the intent is to stabilise the economy.

“How the money is spent is something else.

“The primary objective of the SWF is to give stability to the economy to prevent what we call the Dutch Disease, too much money chasing too few goods in the country, thereby increasing prices through the roof.
“The intent is there.

“How the monies in the SWF are spent through the government budget is something for the government to decide.”

Asked about membership of the SWF, Popoitai said: “We are adopting international standards of governance.

“Reporting and transparency is paramount in the whole government structure of the SWF.

“We hope that once established, there’ll be little pressure on the people who are running it, so ensure that they do their job as well as they could.

“The board will be approved through a process.

“The legislation says a Papua New Guinean will chair it.

“The composition of the board will depend on a process that needs to be established by the SWF technical committee and the secretariat committee, and supported by NEC (national executive council) endorsement,” Popoitai said.

Meanwhile,the Bank of Papua New Guinea has welcomed last Thursday’s opening of People’s Micro Bank, a 100% owned and operated subsidiary of the National Development Bank.

Deputy governor Benny Popoitai said the opening of the new bank was timely, given the push for increased “financial inclusion” in the country.

“We welcome the opening of this bank,” he told The National.

“It enhances the financial inclusion strategy of the bank.

“We’ve been saying this all along since we became an agent of the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and the government of PNG to roll out micro finance in PNG.

“It (People’s Micro Bank) enhances financial inclusion, another institution that reaches out to our disadvantaged people.

“We hope to see more of these financial institutions spring up and provide advantages for the small people.”
Popoitai said while the new bank had been granted a commercial target, its primary target would be the small business sector.

“They are a micro bank. They serve a particular segment of the economy.

“They are to serve the economically-disadvantaged population of our country, not the established businesses.


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