COMPANIES ASSURED OF RECORD K10 BILLION FOREX
Prime Minister, James Marape today assured businesses and individuals that there is record K10 billion ( approximately US$3 billion) in foreign reserve to facilitate onshore and offshore trade.
In a media statement, he said the Bank of PNG has the highest levels of foreign exchange, amidst the international crisis brought about by the Russia-Ukraine war.
This is in stark contrast to the O’Neill era when forex reserves reached dangerously-low levels with importers waiting for long periods to get US dollars.
PM Marape revealed this good news in Parliament today (Wednesday) when answering a question from NCD Governor, Powes Parkop, on whether PNG had sufficient forex for fuel importers, particularly Puma Energy which runs the Napa Napa Refinery.
“At this point in time, Bank of PNG has more foreign reserves than it has every had, more so for the last 10 years,” he said.
“Today, we have got K10 billion-plus, or about US$3 billion sitting in our foreign reserves.
“This means that important customers like Puma, and others who need forex, should have easy access now to US dollars for their purchases.”
PM Marape said if Puma had problems accessing foreign reserves to bring in fuel, they should see Treasurer Hon. Ian Ling-Stuckey or himself, to assist.
“This is so that in this these tough times, we don’t have queues (for forex), or shortage of fuel in our country,” he said.
On the question of whether Napanapa could source oil from Kutubu in Southern Highlands, PM Marape said Kutubu had fixed contracts, but could attend to domestic market obligations as well.
“As you know, Kutubu Crude has export contracts to it, but this is something that we are looking at going forward into the future,” he said.
“That is why this Government has already been aggressive in the domestic market obligation side of gas, so that we move into the space of downstream.
“Downstream processing is something that we have overlooked in our country for many, many years, but we are now moving to get more from our oil and gas so that we Move into downstream processing.
“This is so that in the future we are not so dependent on imported items like fuel, we are not dependent on external market forces, where a price rise means rise in prices in our domestic economy.”