Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has intervened on behalf of Papua New Guinea and Smaller Island States at the Virtual APEC Economies Leaders’ Informal Retreat on Thursday night, 15 July, requesting them to create economic bubbles through bilateral agreements.
He asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and developed APEC Economies to work with small countries like Papua New Guinea and Smaller Island States whose economies are dependent on exports and tourism in economic recovery while protecting the health of the people during these pandemic times.
PM Marape said while the world is pushing for vaccination to enable opening of borders, vaccination is a challenge in PNG due to conflicting information on social media that is making the people hesitant to get vaccinated.
“This is greatly affecting the reopening of borders to enable economic recovery and growth.”
Prime Minister Marape thanked the IMF, Australia and Japan for their budget support to Papua New Guinea but economic recovery is still a challenge due to borders shutting down as a result of COVID-19.
Managing Director of International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva agreed with Prime Minister Marape that the pandemic has really affected the economy of Papua New Guinea because the economy is dependent on exports of resources and tourism.
He further agreed that bilateral trade arrangements can be utilized by Papua New Guinea and other Smaller Island States with their partners to help with their economy’s recovery.
World Health Organization’s Executive Director of the Health Emergencies Programme Dr Michael Ryan also agreed that health and economic go hand in hand.
He said if the health of the people is not well, economic recovery will not happen and if the health of the economy is not well, the health of the people will be affected as well.
Dr. Ryan said therefore to achieve a balance, a bridge must be built on both sides, health of the people and health of the economy, so they meet in the middle to find a balance.