16 Sep 2004

Papua New Guinea's leader says the country has to address soaring population

8:34 pm on 16 September 2004

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, says the country's population is growing too fast and its economic growth can only just keep pace.

In a speech to mark the 29th anniversary of independence from Australia, Sir Michael said the government was stretched to the limit by the increasing population and the need to reduce its debt.

According to a report from the news agency, AAP, he says at the moment the country's GDP just covers the rate at which the population is growing.

The Prime Minister says in other words the economy is growing but the rapid population growth is a serious problem that must be addressed.