BY CLAUDIA TALLY
PNG’s poverty rate has increased in recent years and can largely be attributed to the lack of financial management in the country, according to the European Union.
The head of the EU delegation to PNG, Ambassador Jernej Videtic, at the groundbreaking ceremony for a community market at 9-Mile Quarry in the nation’s capital last week, said that although the country being rich in natural resources, its financial management needed a lot of improvement.
“Unfortunately, despite PNG’s overall wealth of natural resources, the number of people living in poverty has increased,” he said.
“Around 40% of PNG’s population lives below the poverty line and many lack access to basic services. This is mainly due to a problem of managing the financial resources available.
“That is why the EU has provided support to the PNG government to improve financial management.”
As such, the European Union has been working to improve trade across the country through some of its projects such as the Support for Rural Entrepreneurship Investment and Trade (STREIT) programme.
The EU has partnered with NCDC and the UN Habitat Program on the Suburban Settlement Pilot Program at 9-Mile Quarry, where it will fund a community market centre.
“Our goal is to address the root causes of the marginalization of slum and settlement dwellers and integrate them into the larger urban context.”
Ambassador Videtic added in reference to the economic empowerment of people through facilities such as markets.
Over the past 45 years of partnership with the PNG government, the European Union has supported communities in horticulture, water and sanitation, education, health, peace and justice, good governance, access to finance, road infrastructure, fight against gender-based violence, corruption, climate change and more.