ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK NAMES PNG ONE OF WORLD’S POOREST COUNTRIES

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (May 17, 2000 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---Papua New Guinea has been rated as one of the world’s poorest countries by the Asian Development Bank.

The ADB's Human Development Report rates PNG 127 out of a total of 174 nations in terms of social development indicators.

Former Minister for National Planning, Moi Avei, in a statement to the 33rd Annual Board of Governors Meeting of the ADB held from May 6 to 8 in Chiang Mai, Thailand said: "This manifests the seriousness of our situation in terms of poverty reduction. It not only paints a gloomy picture of our situation but also poses a challenge to the people of Papua New Guinea."

Mr. Avei called on the ADB to reverse its decision to graduate PNG from the concessional Asian Development Fund in view of PNG's debt situation, country performance and poverty statistics as shown in the ADB report.

He also called on ADB to reconsider its project financing ratio from 60 percent to 40 percent saying such a change would now put additional pressure on the country's tight fiscal situation and would reduce the availability of funds in the budget for investment in productive sectors.

He gave assurances that PNG had endorsed ADB's vision to alleviate poverty in the region.

ADB's vision for the new millennium, he said, is to alleviate poverty through quality sustainable economic growth, social development, good governance, globalization of international trade, access to technology and increasing the productivity in the sectors where the majority of people are involved.

"These qualities must develop with full understanding of the linkages between poverty reduction and environmental degradation," Mr. Avei said.

He said PNG recognized poverty was a major development issue that continued to undermine the Government's developmental efforts.

"It must be addressed comprehensively by fully integrating it with existing programs through the active participation of all stakeholders, including the private sector, in the development and implementation of programs targeted towards poverty reduction," he said.

He said PNG was already implementing major programs with potential for real impact on poverty reduction.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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