ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK GIVES PNG THE THUMBS UP

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 31, 2000 - The National/PINA Nius Online)---A fact-finding team from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has expressed confidence in the performance of the Papua New Guinea government.

Chief Secretary to the Government Robert Igara said that the ADB delegation had expressed satisfaction over the government's performance on key issues like privatization, good governance, public sector reforms, corruption, and on improving delivery of government services.

"The ADB team acknowledged the 'strong commitment' of the government in trying to implement these major initiatives," Mr. Igara said in a statement.

The Chief Secretary said the team had appreciated the context in which PNG is operating, and that it is only too happy to work with the PNG government in developing the country.

Mr. Igara's comments follow a meeting he had with the ADB team on Monday.

Minister for National Planning and Monitoring Moi Avei, who officially welcomed the visiting delegation on behalf of Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta, said it is an honor for the government to host such a high level visit.

He said it is important that the delegation witness first hand the government's program for reconstruction and development.

The ADB directors arrived in Port Moresby on Sunday for a seven-day fact-finding mission throughout the country.

The seven-member delegation is led by director Zhao Xiaoyu from China and includes PNG's representative to the bank, Sir Barry Holloway.

They will meet with senior members of the government in Port Moresby and also visit Madang, Mt Hagen and Goroka.

At these centers the delegation will inspect ADB supported development projects and hold discussions with provincial governors and officials.

Mr. Avei said the delegation's travel to the provinces would allow the directors to gain a better understanding of the particular constraints that the PNG government confronts in developing the country.

He was hopeful that the directors would lend strong support to the government's request for continued access to the bank's concessional loan facility.

ADB is one of PNG's most important development partners and has to date approved a total of 50 loans to PNG worth over US$ 700 million (K 2 billion).

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

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

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