Morobe Government Passes Budget
by PNG Business News - March 04, 2021
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 (K165,345,800
district 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 K458,648,300
The estimates of the internal revenue from services and goods tax amount to K124,241,544.
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
Fleming: There Will Be Confidence in PNG Economy
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
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 - February 05, 2023
PNG Tourism Promotions Authority (TPA) and Bougainville TPA signs MOU
The Department of Commerce, Trade and Industry reached another milestone recently when it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Tourism and Promotions Authority (TPA). The MOU paves the way forward for both parties to continue bilateral partnership based on the understanding of tourism and promotions in Bougainville. The MOU was signed by the PNG TPA and the ABG Department of Commerce, Trade and Industry on the understanding relating to a joint partnership for the protection and preservation of tangible and intangible culture, development and promotion of tourism, contemporary culture and the arts and sustainable tourism in the autonomous region of Bougainville. ABG Vice President and Minister for Commerce Trade and Industry, Hon. Patrick Nisira (MHR) acknowledged the PNGTPA for its tremendous support so far since the first MoU was signed in 2016. The support has cemented many agreements already signed and has proven that Bougainville is truly a tourism destination that is worth investing time and money on. Mr. Nisira acknowledged the PNG TPA officers for their continuous negotiation with the Bougainville partners in pushing for significant income generating programmes to proceed in the region. “Standing here today it gives me great pleasure to witness and participate in this significant event that will go down in history books of this nation to be. We are here today to mark this important event on the signing of the MOU between my ministry and the department of national government and PNG Tourism Promotions Authority (PNG TPA).” This agreement adds value to our collective vision, ideas and consultations that the local tourism and cultural practitioners in both government and private sectors, he said. “As a way forward the agreement presents a realistic and workable approach to tourism development and its sustainability in the region.” “The MOU also sets out a framework for future development for tourism emphasizing on effective and determined and holistic approaches.” He said that the agreement generally outlines the pros and cons of tourism development in Bougainville and the framework and strategy of reaching the targeted goals and vision earmarked to reaching the overarching goals of economic building and development. Deputy Chief Secretary for Operations Anthony Koiri approved and signed the MOU on behalf of the Bougainville Public Service Chief Secretary who is on sick leave at the moment. The signing was witnessed by the staff of the PNG Tourism Promotions Authority (PNGTPA), Department of Commerce, Trade and Industry, senior officers and a small crowd at the Bel Isi park.
PNG Business News - February 05, 2023
PNGEITI POSITION ON PORGERA MINE LEGACY TAX ISSUES
The PNGEITI Head of Secretariat Mr. Lucas Alkan says all parties to the Pogera Mine must adhere to rules governing the extractive industry, particularly when dealing with fiscal matters that must be administered and observed according to law. His comments follow a news article on The National citing the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) that unmet tax obligations of the Pogera mine stood in the way to expedite the mine re-opening process. Mr. Alkan says a workable and timely strategy that does not impinge on basic laws is a way forward. Below is the full comment on this issue. “The Papua New Guinea Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PNGEITI) commends The National newspaper for attempting to bring to light what appears to be the final outstanding issue (among others) in the Porgera Mine recommencement negotiations (more on this in footnote). We’ve noted from the reporting that taxation matters are legacy issues that appear to be standing in the way for the multi-million-kina Porgera Gold Mine to re-open. We have observed that the Government was on track to conclude negotiations and re-open the Mine by June last year, however this did not eventuate as anticipated. Attempts to reopening the Mine in the second half of last year was not feasible due to the national general elections and the formation of government. It appeared that all negotiations were concluded and a new Porgera Mining Agreement Framework was in place for the Mine to be re-opened in the first quarter of this year. Surprisingly, we learn that an old Porgera Tax liability dispute is standing in the way for the Mine to be re-opened. The early recommencement of the Mine, preferably within the first quarter of this year is critical for the country as the lead time required for mobilizing resources and the significant start-up capital needed to get the mine back into its full operating capacity would be a significant challenge. On this, we are aware there are also discussions going on with the developer and the government as to who is going to meet the startup cost but we understand Barrick Niugini Limited might meet the full cost of starting up the Mine and government would refund later but unsure as to whether this understanding has been reached or not yet. With regards to the current standoff, the EITI based on its global best practice principles is of the view that the existing law governing taxation matters must dictate or take precedence over any political intervention. We do not know the specifics of the on-going tax matter but understand that it is related to a tax dispute concerning the ‘old Porgera Mine’. If it is a significant amount of tax owed by Barrick to the Government based IRC’s audit in 2013 then it is a legal tax obligation that Barrick and its joint venture partners need to settle as required by law. We fail to understand as to why the old Porgera tax obligation/liability clause was inserted into the new Porgera Mining Framework Agreement making it a condition to resolve this legacy tax issue before reopening the Mine. If whatever was reported and commented by PM Marape recently is true then Barrick Niugini Limited and the State need to speed up the negotiation process and resolve this dispute immediately. Both parties should exercise good faith – Barrick Niugini Limited should not pull strings on this old Porgera tax liability matter and delay the re-opening of the Mine. It is understood the State (IRC) may not easily forego if there is a substantial amount of tax liability to be paid by the operator. Whatever the parties decide to do, they should resolve the tax liability issue through the due process of law but allow the Mine to re-open immediately under the New Porgera Framework Agreement. Political intervention is not recommended to resolve this dispute as this can undermine investor confidence, set bad precedence for the Government and create an uneven playing field for project developers. Barrack Niugini Limited should not put undue pressure on the State to resolve this matter politically in order to re-open the mine as it is not a best business practice. All stakeholders and the citizens have the right to know the specific issues or the nature of this tax liability issue between Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL) and the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) as the continued delay in re-opening the Mine continues to have negative consequences on the economy. The prolonged delay has not only resulted in significant revenue loss to the Government (including the provincial and local level governments in the impacted resource area) but also loss of employment, business opportunities and spin-off benefits to the landowners and the wider communities. The shutting down of the Mine 3 years ago has had significant negative consequences on the economy including the current foreign exchange shortage that has constrained business operations in the other sectors of the economy. Porgera Mine had been a good source of foreign exchange inflows and its continued shutdown will definitely not going to contribute to the 4% economic growth (that was largely to be driven by the extractive sector) projected for by the World Bank for last year and the real GDP growth of 4% projected for this year in the 2023 National Budget. PNGEITI commends the transparent negotiation process to date that took substantial amount of time and effort to ensure the interests of all parties were reflected in those agreements. We encourage all parties to continue to respect and observe the laws of the land in this dispute resolution process to address the tax liability issue. We believe that a win-win situation for both parties (Government and Barrick) is to re-open the mine first and work together to resolve the outstanding tax liability dispute later going forward.
PNG Business News - February 02, 2023
Weir Minerals releases the 6th edition of the Warman® Slurry Pumping Handbook, the definitive resource for slurry pumps
Photo: The Warman Slurry Pumping Handbook is the definitive guide for most slurry pumping applications. Weir Minerals, manufacturer of the industry-leading Warman® slurry pump, has released the latest edition of their coveted Warman® Slurry Pumping Handbook. The 6th edition, compiled by the most trusted name in slurry pumps, features detailed engineering data required for most slurry pumping applications. Drawing on decades of Weir Minerals’ inhouse expertise in innovative engineering and slurry pumping technology, the new handbook has updated reference material based on new learnings, improved understanding and technological developments within the mining industry. With customers always in mind, the handbook aims to empower engineers to achieve optimal performance from their Warman® slurry pumps. An increased global focus on the environment, energy consumption and water conservation will influence slurry pump design and considerations – making this latest handbook an essential tool for all current and future pump engineers. “Pumping slurry has many challenges and I’m excited to publish our latest handbook, packed with fundamental theory, application advice, standard practices and latest Warman learnings from the field; all aimed to help our customers, present and future, deliver with excellence.” Marcus Lane, Director, Slurry Pumping Technology Group Weir Minerals are continually striving to shape the next generation of smart, efficient and sustainable solutions with cutting-edge science and innovation. The comprehensive handbook includes over 140 pages of detailed information, including performance charts, impeller design, part configuration, assembly and slurry considerations – fully supported by accurate technical renders and specifications. “The high quality of the reference material in this essential resource reflects the leading status of the Warman slurry pumps. As the industry leader, we have a responsibility to develop our future engineers; we will make the latest version of the Warman Slurry Pumping Handbook available not only to our customers, but also to the leading schools worldwide, so they can learn from the best in the industry.” John McNulty, Vice President Global Engineering & Technology. As part of Weir Minerals’ commitment to investing in STEM education and developing the next generation of engineers, copies of this essential resource will be gifted to the leading mining and engineering educational facilities around the world, including the winner of the 2022 Warman Design & Build competition, Deakin University in Australia.