The fundamental purposes of Papua New Guinea's economic strategy have been distilled into the nation's eight aims: a rapid increase in the proportion of the economy under the control of Papua New Guineans; a more equal distribution of economic benefits; decentralization of economic activity; an emphasis on small-scale artisan, service, and business activity; a more self-reliant economy; an increasing capacity for meeting government spending from locally raised revenue; a rapid increase in the equal and active participation of women in the economy; and governmental control and involvement in those sectors where control is necessary to achieve the desired kind of development.
In March 2000, Papua New Guinea's economic reform efforts came under the supervision of an IMF Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) financed by a stand-by credit line of SDR 85.54 million (about $120 million) that ran from 29 March 2000 to 29 September 2001. The IMF is critical of policies through which the government has intervened heavily in the economy—through tax incentives, licensing and approval requirements, trade restrictions, tariffs and price controls—to create an economy dominated by a few privately-owned, highly protected, non-competitive, import substitution enterprises. The SAP called for privatization of the few state owned enterprises, liberalization of trade and investment, reduction in public service employment and the decontrol of prices. In 2002, the government was implementing many of these reforms either as conditionals under the IMF stand-by agreement and/or as requirements for participation in APEC and accession to the WTO.