PNG SEEKING $600 MILLION IN LOANS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 18, 1999 – Radio Australia)---Papua New Guinea is seeking loans worth more than $600 million to help stabilize its economy.

Radio Australia correspondent Richard Dinnen reports that the PNG Government hopes Asia-Pacific region countries will offer the much-needed assistance during the next several months:

"The Papua New Guinea Government has begun implementing a mini-budget designed to address the economic crisis it inherited when it won office a month ago. But it says substantial help will be needed to stabilize the economy and frame next year's budget.

"Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta hopes governments in the region will offer loans, or underwrite borrowings of about $600 million.

"Sir Mekere says he hopes offers will be made at next month's APEC meeting in New Zealand.

"The Government will also need to heal the rifts with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund caused by the previous Government (under Prime Minister Bill Skate).

"Teams from both bodies are in PNG this week. The Government says discussions so far have been fruitful.

"Richard Dinnen, Port Moresby."

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