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ADB Report Projects Positive Growth for the Pacific in 2021
by PNG Business News - May 04, 2021
According to a new report published by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Pacific will return to positive growth in 2021.
However, the region's outlook is still fraught with dangers, and there is substantial variation among the 14 Pacific developing member countries (DMCs). According to the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2021, the ADB's flagship economic publication, the DMC economies contracted by 5.8% in 2020 as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic directly impacted tourism and trade flows, as well as construction investment.
In 2021, a 1.4 per cent recovery is anticipated, based on increased tourism, the start of long-delayed development programs, and the resumption of labour mobility and cross-border trade.
“The start of the COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, both within Pacific DMCs and among their trade and tourism partner countries, indicate some economic recovery is likely in 2021,” said ADB Director General for the Pacific Leah Gutierrez. “However, risks to the recovery remain, particularly in tourism-oriented economies that are feeling the heaviest impacts of the pandemic crisis.”
Smaller tourism-dependent economies, such as the Cook Islands, where GDP is forecast to slip by more than a quarter this year; Palau, one of the world's most tourism-dependent economies; Samoa; and, to a lesser degree, Tonga, are likely to stifle overall development in the Pacific subregion this year. Travel bubbles are expected to help these economies rebound gradually, first in the Cook Islands and Niue with New Zealand, and then in Palau with Taipei, China. Overall, the Pacific is forecast to rise at a rate of 3.8 per cent in 2022.
With the launch of a planned travel bubble with New Zealand, the Cook Islands economy is expected to contract by 26% in 2021 before returning to 6% growth in 2022, according to the ADO. Samoa's economy is expected to contract by 9.2% in 2021 before rebounding to 3.1 per cent growth in 2022 until full vaccination coverage is reached and foreign visitors are allowed to return. Tonga's building and tourism markets will continue to be hampered by the twin shocks of Tropical Cyclone Harold and the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, leading to a 5.3 per cent contraction in 2021. The Tongan economy is expected to expand by 1.8 per cent in 2022, according to the ADO.
As it recovers from a pandemic-induced contraction in 2020, Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Pacific's largest economy, is forecast to rise slowly at 2.5 per cent in 2021. However, a new spike in COVID-19 cases is jeopardizing the economy's rebound. Budgetary funding and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines were provided by development partners. PNG's economic growth is expected to pick up to 3% in 2022.
Following an extraordinary 19.0 per cent contraction last year, Fiji, the subregion's second-largest economy and one highly reliant on tourism is expected to grow by 2.0 per cent in 2021. Fiji's economy is expected to rise by 7.3 per cent in 2022, assuming a rebound in tourism as a result of strong vaccine services both at home and abroad. Part of the effects of COVID-19 could be mitigated by increased tourism, but it could take many years for the economy to recover to pre-pandemic levels.
The Solomon Islands economy is expected to recover, with a growth of 1.0 per cent in 2021 and 4.5 per cent in 2022, according to the ADO, as fishing and construction resume. Work on public infrastructure programs, such as the Tina River Hydropower Initiative, transportation improvements, the reconstruction and extension of water supply and sanitation facilities, and construction for the 2023 Pacific Games, are expected to fuel the construction and related industries. The government's attempts to increase biodiversity are likely to result in a decrease in logging production.
Vanuatu's economy contracted in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 and Cyclone Harold's trade and travel restrictions. A tentative turnaround is expected as these limits are steadily lifted, with the growth of 2.0 per cent in 2021 and 4.0 per cent in 2022. This, however, would be contingent on a strong vaccine campaign and the development of travel bubbles with Vanuatu's major tourism markets.
In 2021, the North Pacific economies of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Marshall Islands, and Palau are expected to begin to weaken, with negative growth of 1.8 per cent in FSM, 1.4 per cent in the Marshall Islands, and 7.8 per cent in Palau. However, relative to 2020, these contractions are likely to be more subdued, as the current COVID-19 vaccine rollout eases pandemic-related border constraints that slowed international tourism and commerce. As sanctions are relaxed further and businesses continue, the ADB study forecasts a return to growth for all three North Pacific economies in 2022 (2.0 per cent for the FSM, 2.5 per cent for the Marshall Islands, and 10.4 per cent for Palau).
Despite being free of COVID-19 infections so far, the economies of Kiribati, Nauru, and Tuvalu in the Central Pacific slowed in 2020 as trade and travel constraints caused infrastructure projects to be postponed. As these programs return, development in Nauru and Tuvalu is projected to increase by 1.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent, respectively, in 2021. Kiribati's economy will decline by 0.2 per cent as a result of continuing constraints on the flow of goods and people as the world waits for COVID-19 vaccinations to arrive. According to the ADO, construction activity would aid Kiribati's return to economic expansion in 2022, with a growth of 2.3 per cent, while Tuvalu's growth will be 2.0 per cent. With the Regional Processing Centre set to close in 2021, Nauru's growth is expected to slow to 1.0 per cent in 2022.
The Asian Development Bank is dedicated to creating a stable, democratic, robust, and secure Asia and the Pacific while continuing to fight extreme poverty. It was established in 1966 and is owned by 68 owners, 49 of whom are from the city.
PNG Business News - March 15, 2021
Pacific Towing Passes International Safety Audit
Nearly 5 years LTI free and with a record of continuously improving and fine tuning its safety systems, Pacific Towing (PacTow) recently passed its International Safety Management (ISM) Code audit. The voluntary audit was conducted in accord with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the United Nations agency specialising in maritime and shipping affairs. The aim of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of PacTow’s Safety Management System with regard to its vessels as well as its shore-based support. The audit was conducted in accordance with a variety of IMO standards and international industry best practice. HSSEQ Manager and Designated Person Ashore (DPA) Richard Hayka reports that the audit, which was conducted by HSE New Zealand, incorporated not only the ISM Code but also the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. The audit was conducted online due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Importantly, Hayka confirmed that the audit verified PacTow’s Safety Management System was in compliance with all mandatory rules and regulations. This is in line with the company’s expectation that it will be certified for ISO standards 9001:2015, 14001:2015 and 45001:2018 by midyear. The audit also found that all annual vessel surveys were up to date and in accord with the National Maritime Safety Authority’s (NMSA) requirements. Furthermore, statutory certificates reviewed as part of the internal audit were found to be valid, and company records verified that all policies were properly implemented. Adding to the safety credentials of PacTow, is the recent employment of an Operations Manager with considerable international oil and gas sector experience, including emergency response – Captain Marcelo Santini. Together, Hayka and Santini are getting ready for another audit; they are preparing PacTow’s dedicated tug base at Motukea, Port Moresby for an International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) gap audit. Hayka says that he expects certification for this next audit to be achieved by the end of Q3 this year. To learn more about Pacific Towing and its safety credentials: www.pacifictowingmarineservices.com
PNG Business News - April 21, 2021
Innovative Flat Pack Engineering – 75 % Freight Reduction’
Ark Pacific has cleverly engineered its flat pack buildings to guarantee a minimum freight footprint for its clients. Unlike competing products, six of Ark’s high quality flack pack units are equivalent to a single standard 20 foot shipping container when stacked together ready for transport. Not only are freight costs drastically reduced (by up to 75 percent) but so too are carbon emissions. Furthermore, the ease and speed with which the flat packed buildings can be transported to site is greatly improved. Land freight costs in particular, greatly add to the cost of building in PNG, especially in remote locations. Although Ark Pacific does not compete solely on price, the considerable freight savings associated with its flat pack systems enable it to be one of the lower cost building alternatives without compromising on quality. A recent mining client was able to transport all of the flat pack componentry required for five office blocks, one ablution block and one crib room on just one semi-trailer truck – competing modular products would have required up to eight trucks. In addition to reducing freight costs and therefore the overall cost of construction projects, building with Ark Pacific flat packs also help reduce a client’s environmental footprint. For example, one truck travelling between Lae and the Highlands obviously produces considerably less emissions than eight trucks. Moreover, fewer trucks have less negative impact on unsophisticated road infrastructure, including many of the unsealed and rough roads servicing mining sites. Popular with its resource clients, Ark Pacific products also have the advantage of quick assembly utilising local and unskilled workforces. A basic one-room accommodation unit can be installed in a single day. To date, all of the thousands of Ark modules across PNG have been installed by local content. Ark Pacific’s team of managers are available to oversee any construction project if required. With a 10 year presence in PNG, new resource client projects in 2021 include a Crusher Facility Office and Electrical & Instrumentation Building (both two-storey), as well as the project cited earlier. Ark Pacific is also halfway through constructing a 750 person mining camp (16 x two-storey buildings; 54 ensuited rooms per building). Initially having specialised in camp accommodation and office complexes for the resource sector, Ark Pacific has recently refined and expanded its residential housing product range. Durable and fit-for-purpose designs – ideal for community relocation projects as well as senior staff housing – are now available. Ark Pacific reports that it is not experiencing any supply chain difficulties due to COVID-19. Furthermore, given its reliance on local labour for installation (as opposed to expatriate personnel impacted by travel restrictions), clients have been able to commence their builds as soon as the flat packs arrive on site. To learn more about Ark Pacific, including how its flat pack systems can minimise your construction project’s freight footprint: www.arkpacific.net
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PNG Business News - May 13, 2021
National Airport Corporation to Focus on Redevelopment Projects
The National Airports Corporation plans to devote more resources to the redevelopment projects at Kavieng, Tari, and Mendi airports as part of the Civil Aviation Growth Investment Program. With the exception of three airports, all airports under the CADIP program are on a budget, according to NAC acting managing director Rex Kiponge. Apart from Jackson Airport in Port Moresby, Kiponge claims that the majority of the country's airports are unable to handle the newly launched F100 aircraft. “The introduction of F100 aircraft has deteriorated the condition of runways in PNG. Under CADIP, fencing and runway length deficiencies will now meet the F100 and ICAO requirements. CADIP was implemented to meet the minimum PNG Civil Aviation Rules (CARS) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards and recommended practices in all the 22 airports in the country. “The F100 aircraft require a minimum runway length of 1900 metres –– only three airports meet this requirement.” The F100 will be able to land at 12 airports thanks to a CADIP runway length upgrade. Port Moresby is now the only province that meets the operating criteria for F100 planes. Standby control, security fencing, apron parking, runway, taxiway, and apron strength, and a runway length suitable for takeoff at maximum payload are all part of the 22 airport upgrades. Kiponge recently visited the three airports and expressed his satisfaction with the development. Contractors have already finished construction on the security fence at Kavieng Airport, and work on the runway extension is going well. Once the runway extension is complete, the contractors can begin work on the terminal. He mentioned that the runway extension at Tari Airport is complete, and contractors are currently working on the apron, which will be finished until the runway extension is completed. Owing to the contractors' inability to obtain materials for the runway at Mendi Airport, NAC has requested that they redo the runway before moving on to the other areas. “Despite whatever issues within NAC, I will ensure that all 22 NAC’s airports undergoing upgrading will be completed and I will put in a lot of efforts and focus to makes certain work is done well and completed,” Kiponge said.
PNG Business News - May 13, 2021
Govt to Focus on Downstream Processing
The government is putting a lot of effort into encouraging downstream production in the region. This was said by Prime Minister James Marape during a visit to Paradise Foods Company Limited. “We are focused on downstream processing as far as going forward is concerned –– instead of exporting raw products,” said Marape. “We want to go downstream to satisfy our local markets as well as export to economies around us.” PNG is fortunate, according to Marape, to have access to 60% of the world's gross domestic product (GDP) through the APEC network. “As well as, not just the APEC network, but in the vicinity of PNG’s accessibility to markets, we have over 4 billion people from the Pacific, Northern Asia, Western Asia and Northeast Asia put together. “So to satisfy our local markets in PNG for our 8 million-plus people, as well as the opportunity of exporting to markets closest to us like our neighbouring countries.” Marape has stated that he supports downstream production and marketing of PNG's natural resources both locally and internationally. “Today, I am privileged to visit an industry that has been at work since 1945, and I’d like to thank Paradise Foods Company Limited for doing a wonderful job and feeding our country.” Marape promised that the government will help the industry and market.
PNG Business News - May 13, 2021
Mayur Discusses Power Plant Project in Lae
Mayur Resources Ltd says it has formed an ongoing relationship with the State negotiation team to discuss and finalize a power purchase agreement (PPA) for its planned power plant in Lae, Morobe. The organization was waiting for the State negotiation team's makeup to be finalized and signed off, according to managing director Paul Mulder. After that, he said, the Enviro Energy Park (EEP) project's final discussions and negotiations will begin. Mayur's planned 52.5-megawatt EEP project is an advanced power plant that will produce more efficient and cheaper electricity than current solutions by combining conventional thermal energy (sourced from the company's wholly-owned Depot Creek project), solar, and biomass woodchip, while also supplying co-generated steam to nearby industrial users who were burning diesel for their steam needs. The EEP, which is near Lae, will also have steam as a by-product for local industrial uses, and potential dual fuel systems will allow for the use of diesel. “The energy park would balance the need for new environmentally friendly technologies and reliable energy,” Mulder said.