Fleming: There Will Be Confidence in PNG Economy
by PNG Business News - March 05, 2021
There will be confidence in the PNG economy in 2021.
According to Bank South Pacific Group Chief Executive Officer Robin Fleming, this was attributed to the resource sector with several major projects in the pipeline - such as the Fiscal Stability Agreement signed between the Government and Total and Joint Venture Partners of the Papua LNG Project. This also included the Environmental Permit awarded to Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture for the mine negotiations to gin on the Wafi-Golpu Mine.
“Certainly we feel that by the end of this year there is going to be far more confidence within the economy. The Wafi-Golpu Mine, and there is a much higher level of confidence within Lae as well, that the business community is looking at further expectations of growth,” he said.
Other drivers to this growth also included the ongoing investments in infrastructure and the improvement of State-Owned Entities.
“The Government has indicated in its Budget that it’s looking to continue with some of the development of the road construction, for the business community as they know they (PNG Power) got the capability to put their capital to investments which are revenue-generating and not just investments which are protecting their own infrastructure,” he said.
The World Bank Groups Papua New Guinea Economic Update of January 2021 said that the Papua LNG Project and the fast resolutions related to key mining projects can contribute to higher inflows of taxation revenue and foreign currency.
PNG Business News - March 05, 2021
Report: Strong Trade for PNG
Falling export earnings have impacted the external sector of Papua New Guinea. But surging gold prices and import compression contained the damage. According to the World Bank PNG’s economic update titled “Dealing with a triple crisis”, the current account surplus broadened in the first half of 2020, which increased by 14 per cent. This was supported by a strong merchandise trade performance. It said that even if prices for major exports were reduced, the earnings from the mining sector, especially gold exports, posted a surplus. In addition, continued import compression brought about an overall current account surplus. Meanwhile, lower export earnings were more than offset by a 24 per cent decline year-on-year during the first half of 2020. Negative was the trade services balance, caused by negative balances on education, transport, and other business services. The deficits in income and services narrowed. These developments led the current account into a positive area. Earning exports decreased by 14.3 per cent, and prices of major exports also dropped since the beginning of the pandemic. Exports from mineral resources - which includes LNG - went down to 15 per cent year on year, crude oil decreased to 22 per cent and copper, 18 per cent. In addition, agricultural commodity exports decreased by 9.2 per cent, caused by lower export values for coffee, cocoa, and logs - with a little bit offset from palm oil exports. In spite of this decrease, the increase in the cost of gold outweighed all of these impacts, giving rise to the total export earnings to 9 per cent year on year.
PNG Business News - March 05, 2021
PNGEITI Report: Need for Greater Awareness
As a need under the EITI 2019 global practice standard, the Papua New Guinea Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PNGEITI) has published its first Beneficial Ownership (BO) Report. Head of PNGEITI National Secretariat Lucas Alkan said that this has already been published on its website last December 2020. “All EITI implementing countries including Papua New Guinea are required to produce a Beneficial Ownership Report by the 1st of January 2020,” he said.Alkan said to fully comply with this requirement, PNG should have a public register that lists the beneficial owners of corporate entities who hold a particular interest in oil, gas, or mining contracts. This also includes the identity of the beneficial owner. Besides implementing the EITI Standard, PNGEITI is devoted to making sure Beneficial Ownership information disclosure is implemented through its role in; Open Government Policy National Action Plan 2018-2020; the PNGEITI Annual Workplan 2019; and the PNGEITI BO Roadmap for Implementing disclosure including existing legislation such as the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Act 2015.Alkan said, however, that reporting entities did not fully understand the meaning of Beneficial Ownership Reporting. “This is because they were unable to provide complete information of what was requested in the reporting template,” he said. “In addition to the challenges faced in obtaining information for BO reporting, PNGEITI still does not have a legal basis to collect the required BO information which makes it difficult to obtain complete information from the companies.”There are, of course, many challenges that the report found. These include unfamiliarity with the BO concept especially for non-publicly listed companies; several reporting entities did not attend the BO training workshop, and complex corporate structures especially where there are multiple layers of ownership involving several jurisdictions and different types of legal entities.With these many gaps, the report recommends to have a dialogue with the following organizations: the Financial, Analysis and Supervision Unit (FASU) of the Bank of PNG, Investment Promotion Authority (IPA): and the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA).
PNG Business News - March 04, 2021
Morobe Government Passes Budget
The Morobe government has recently passed its budget worth K662,675,000.Morobe Governor and finance chairman Ginson Saonu said that this budget is for developmental and rural growth, adding that the budget had K204,026,700 from internal revenue and K458,648,300 from the national grants.“The 2021 internal revenue total estimate is increased by 10 per cent, while the national grants total estimate is increased by 34 per cent,” he said.Included in the national grants are the following:teachers’ salaries (K165,345,800district services improvement programme (K90,000,000)special support grant (K30,000,000)staffing grant (K34,644,300)teacher leave fares (K7,210,300)public servant leave fares (K1,239,500)provincial services improvement programme (K10,000,000)grants to local level governments (K9,717,500)teachers’ leave fares – former year’s unspent (K34,700)provincial services improvement programme – former year’s unspent (K12,089,000)other public investment programme (K96,840,000)public servant leave fares – former year’s unspent (K27,200)provincial support grant – former year’s unspent (K1,500,000) totalling K458,648,300The estimates of the internal revenue from services and goods tax amount to K124,241,544.
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PNG Business News - June 24, 2022
Creating decent income-earning opportunities for rural communities in Papua New Guinea under road maintenance programme
EU Funded UN Joint STREIT PNG Programme, as part of its mission to support efforts towards reducing rural poverty, is engaging local communities with a focus on struggling single parents as a support workforcefor maintenance of 18 selected farm-to-market roads in the Sepik region. Led by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the creation of these employment opportunities in remote communities where there are limited income-generating activities because of lack of accessible roads to markets is a relief to many disadvantaged households. This month the ILO team visited some of these beneficiaries who are employed in the Road Maintenance Groups (RMGs) working on a 17.7km-long Walkasa Mai-Wanwan road and an 8km-long Yiminum-Wilbowe road in the Nuku District of Sandaun Province. For the beneficiaries, this is a lifetime opportunity for a regular and steady income to support their and their families' everyday needs, and one important concern for the struggling families is paying for their siblings' and kids' school fees and associate costs. Among the struggling families are some widows like Marathia, aged 59, from Yiminum Village, who works on the Yiminum-Wilbowe road. "My husband died, and we were really struggling because our families have their own problems to take care of. Now, I'm very happy with this job which I joined last year. It helps with school fees for my children," said Marathia. Marathia was left with five children to support, including one who is attending final year studies at a vocational training nearby. With the income as an RMG, she was able to pay PGK 500 school fee last year and early this year she paid PGK 250. She said the community is also happy to see her contribution in a job they usually see as for men only. For youths like Jena Suwa this employment opens a new window to their life. She was not able to complete her studies after year 10 in 2018. "I'm very happy today because I was doing nothing in the house. I will now save some money to prepare to go back to school to become a nurse," said Jena. Sony Apo is another youth who completed Grade 8 in 2015 and is looking forward to some money to upgrade. He dreams of becoming a carpenter to continue the legacy of his late 'big daddy'. "Big daddy was the only skilled man we had in the family, and now I'm ready to become a carpenter as well," he said. The main works that encompass the road routine maintenance aspect to be undertaken by the RMGs include pothole patching, vegetation clearing, drainage and general cleaning along the road in preparation for engagement of a contractor to perform specific maintenance on these farm-to-market access and feeder roads. Safety gears and road maintenance tools like boots, gloves, vests, safety helmets, spades, hoes, wheelbarrows were also among the tools and equipment provided and distributed by the EU-STREIT PNG Programme among the RMGs' members. During the visits, the Programme's Community Facilitator, Rachel Bowie also shared with the RMGs to demonstrate commitment in their work to take ownership in the routine maintenance of these roads because it will serve them, their families and their fellow community members. The mission also conducted a drone survey of a 14km-long Nanaha-Tau LLG access road in the Ambunti-Drekikier District, East Sepik Province. In consultation with Ward Members, locals, including youths and women, were also recruited to form RMGs to conduct routine maintenance for this road that will also service Drekikier Secondary. Under the Programme selection criteria, one RMG comprises six members that must have at least two females. The group must also have representation from youths, single parents whose partners have died or have deserted them and traditional owners of land the road passes through. The Programme, in partnership with MiBank, a local financial institution, is implementing cashless transactions and banking for rural farmers by opening bank accounts for these RMGs, and their payment is deposited directly at the end of every month. This arrangement encourages rural farmers to save and grow their earnings, which can be used to access small loan benefits. Under this rural agriculture development programme, 18 rural roads in the Sepik region totalling close to 300 km in length are being maintained or upgraded with the help of RMGs to support the market access initiative implemented by the EU-STREIT PNG Programme for rural and farming communities to boost agriculture production and agribusiness activities pertaining to three targeted cocoa, vanilla and fisheries agri-food value chains for an improved income and cash flow for the rural communities. The roads will also support other agricultural, business, social and community activities and facilities like schools, aid posts and health centres that are in dire need of better accessible roads. The EU-STREIT PNG Programme, being implemented as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as the leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region. The Programme aims to help improve the lives of the people from East Sepik and Sandaun provinces, by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains while strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment, and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.
PNG Business News - June 24, 2022
Santos welcomes new apprentices in higher-level program
Photo: Leon Buskens, Santos Country Chair PNG meeting the 25 new apprentices in Port Moresby before their departure to the Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (INSTEP) in Malaysia. Joining Mr Buskens and the apprentices are members of the Santos Training and People & Culture Teams. Santos is helping to equip Papua New Guinea’s next generation of oil and gas technicians with international qualifications. Ten females are among 25 novices who have joined the Santos 2022 Apprenticeship Program following a rigorous selection process which will see them train at the Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (INSTEP) in Malaysia – 900 applications were received for the 2022 Program. Upon completion of the technician training at INSTEP, the apprentices will earn a Pearson Business Education Technology Council Level 2 and Level 3 UK qualification. Santos Country Chair for PNG, Leon Buskens when welcoming the apprentices, said: “You have joined at an exciting time following the merger between Oil Search and Santos. As the inaugural batch under the merged entity, there are greater opportunities for you to advance in all aspects of your career both in PNG and abroad. I encourage you to do your best and importantly, maintain a positive attitude and uphold your values - this is what will take you far on this journey. “This is the beginning, but you should be proud of yourselves as we are of you for making it this far. Congratulations and welcome to Santos.” Joining Mr Buskens to address the new cohort were pioneering trainees Cornelius Soagai, Senior Government Affairs Manager and Lydia Warubi, Deputy Occupational Health & Safety Manager. Mr Soagai went on to become the first national Production Manager in the Operations and Maintenance Department while Ms Warubi made waves as the first national female process technician to work at the Central Processing Facility. Both leaders encouraged the apprentices to maximize on the career development opportunities available to them at Santos. Among the cohort was Judy Sasa who completed the Company’s pre-apprentice program at the Kumul Petroleum Academy (KPA) in 2020. Judy finished at the top of her class and attained an honourable achievement award. A grateful Judy thanked Santos for a further opportunity to broaden her knowledge in oil and gas production. “My dream is coming true as I have always wanted to work in this industry,” Ms Sasa said. The 25 apprentices along with the Santos training team departed PNG for Malaysia last weekend. Two permanent employees were also part of the travelling party to INSTEP where they will train to become dual Electrical & Instrumentation tradesmen. Article courtesy of Santos
PNG Business News - June 23, 2022
PM Marape says East Sepik can become ‘economic powerhouse’ of PNG
Photo: PM Marape addressing the crowd in Maprik Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says East Sepik has the potential to become the “economic powerhouse” of Papua New Guinea. He said in Maprik recently (June 22 2022) that because of this potential, and in memory of founding Prime Minister the late Sir Michael Somare, the next Government would be formed in East Sepik. Present with the Prime Minister were East Sepik Governor Hon. Allan Bird (National Alliance), Angoram MP Hon. Salio Waipo (National Alliance), Maprik MP and Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Hon. John Simon (Pangu) and Pangu candidate for Wosera-Gawi Ronald Asik. Sir Michael was instrumental in the formation of both Pangu and National Alliance “East Sepik has the potential to become the ‘economic powerhouse’ province of our country,” PM Marape said. “This is why I will bring Government formation to here: Firstly, in memory of Sir Michael, and secondly, in memory of Sir Pita Lus. “This will be the 11th Parliament, and the first Parliament without Sir Michael and Sir Pita being alive. “This will be symbolic that the nation is now being passed on to the next generation.” PM Marape said formation of the new Government in East Sepik would also inspire the new generation of leaders to hold on to the lofty ideals of the founding fathers like Sir Michael and Sir Pita. He said his Government, over the last three years, had passed major laws to fight corruption and promised the people of Papua New Guinea that some prominent leaders would be prosecuted after the elections. These include the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Whistle Blowers’ Act and Undisclosed Wealth Act. “What would be the point of Allan Bird and I growing the economy of the country when corruption is still prevalent?” PM Marape said. “We have managed to stifle corruption in the big way with passage of the three bills during the last term of Parliament. “Over the last three years, we have spent over K56 billion, which has grown the economy by K30 billion.” PM Marape said East Sepik’s economic powerhouse potential was in agriculture, through the vast Sepik Plains, and challenged the province to start growing rice on a large scale to reduce the huge K900 million rice import bill. “Over the next few years, and into the future, we want to grow our own rice for domestic consumption as well as export to Phillipines, Indonesia and the rest if the region,” he said. “Sir Michael, before his passing, said he had helped groom me up and asked me not to forget East Sepik into the future. “The way to achieve this is through economic independence. “I want every Papua New Guinean to have money in their pockets: Grow rice, grow cocoa, grow vanilla, look after cattle, bring in tourists, stop consumption of home brew, stop marijuana and other bad habits. “We are ready to take the country to the next level. “I want East Sepik to be an economic powerhouse no longer dependent on Waigani. “This is why I ask the people of East Sepik to send Allan Bird, John Simon, Salio Waipo and my Wosera-Gawi candidate Ronald Asik, Ambunti-Dreikikier candidate Richard Rafa and Wewak candidate Jim Simitab to Parliament. “ Article courtesy of PM JAMES MARAPE News Page