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LNG proceeds to be invested in agriculture, says Pruaitch

PNG government has assured that it will ensure revenue flow from the US$19billion PNG LNG project is invested into the non-renewable sector, including agriculture.

The assurance was given by Treasury Minister Patrick Pruaitch while addressing the heads of the agriculture sector during the functional and expenditure review meet in Port Moresby yesterday.

Mr Pruaitch said with the start of the PNG LNG gas export, the country is poised to achieve a record Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 21 per cent in 2015.

He said this could be likened to the ‘years of plenty’.

However, he said it is incumbent that the government be vigilant and not neglect investing in renewable sectors like agriculture, which support the livelihoods of the masses.

“This is in line with the announcement by the prime minister and the recent trade and investment fair that agriculture will be one of the priority sectors for support in 2015 and onwards. It would mean that a certain portion of the LNG and mining proceeds must be invested into agriculture,” he said.

Mr Pruaitch  said the recommendations of the functional and expenditure review on agriculture boards and agencies was timely. He said the report indicated that agriculture continues to contribute an average of 31.6 per cent of the total national GDP.  However, it only receives 1.1 per cent of total direct government funding.

Further that the government’s agriculture expenditure is 3.2 per cent as opposed to the a proposed funding of 10 per cent of agriculture GDP.

According to the report, the 10 per cent translates to about K400-K500 million per annum based on current estimates.

The minister said he is looking forward to the plans stemming from the meeting on how the government can respond through.
PNG Today/Post courier

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