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Tom: NFA and Fisheries Department Working on Two Ventures
by PNG Business News - May 26, 2021
Photo credit: Loop PNG (2020)
Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Dr Lino Tom says the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) and the Fisheries and Marine Resources Department are working on two main fishery ventures in Morobe and Madang.
“The Voco Point facility will cost about K100 million,” he revealed. “Funding for the project is ready. We are just waiting for the final business plan to be completed and other necessary requirements before the project go on tender in August.
“Tender for the Wagang fisheries wharf feasibility studies will be awarded soon while the Pacific Maritime Industrial Zone (PMIZ) project in Madang has been given a ministerial economic committee approval and should start any time after the Treasury approved the loan.”
Tom, who recently visited Lae, Morobe, said that the Voco Point project will serve as a fishery centre for local fish farmers.
“Fishery products in the province will be brought to this facility and, from here, it will facilitate the trade,” he explained.
The NFA and department intend to develop Voco Point as the first such project in the region, with similar projects planned in other maritime provinces.
“The building of such facilities will give much-needed chances for local fish farmers (both in-land and coastal) to market their fishery products and generate income,” he added.
NFA managing director John Kasu also said that jetties will be constructed in the immediate future in Huon Gulf, Finschhafen, and Tewae-Siassi to assist local fish farmers.
The National (24 May 2021). “Multi-million kina fishery projects set for Morobe, Madang”.
PNG Business News - March 11, 2021
National Fisheries Authority Signs MoU with Korea
To collaborate in fisheries infrastructure development, the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Korea Fisheries Infrastructure Public Agency of the Republic of Korea on Fisheries Ports Development. The MoU provides a framework for both these groups to facilitate the sharing of best practices and exchange of technical and administrative human resource in the Fisheries Ports Development. This is also to support the development of the fishing industry. National Fisheries Authority Managing Director John Kasu said, “We’ve been having these discussions with the public agency in Korea and that has been for a number of years. So finally last year we agreed and as a result of that we agreed and as a result of that, we developed this MOU.” He said that this MoU is significant because they are building important fisheries infrastructure at the moment. “So it’s an important MOU, for us moving forward,” he said. Ambassador Kang, meanwhile, said. “The signing ceremony today may be small, but I’m sure this event is a big step toward our solidarity and our partnership in the future.”
PNG Business News - March 11, 2021
Government on Track in Increasing Fisheries Products
According to the National Fisheries Authority, the government is on track to increase downstream processing of fisheries products to 50% by 2025. Papua New Guinea had already accomplished around 23% of the goal, according to Authority managing director John Kasu. “There are a number of (government) objectives such as downstream processing which we have to increase by 2025 – a 50 per cent production,” he said. “We are faring very well to meet the targets and, this year, we have already achieved about 23 per cent. The objective is to grow the sector and invest in infrastructure, bring the cost of doing business in Papua New Guinea down so that we get a lot of business happening.” The key driver, according to Kasu, will be tuna fisheries, with revenue generated going toward developing other fisheries such as coastal and inland. “That’s basically the drive for the next 10 years,” he said. “On tuna, 70 per cent is being exported. The aim is to reduce that number and (have) internal processing plants. Rather than exporting, we can put it through the factories here.” The 2.4 million square kilometre PNG fisheries region is the highest in the South Pacific. It has a large reef system, a number of islands, and a long coastline. It presents a significant monitoring and control problem. On average, the overall market value of the PNG capture is projected to be between K350mil and K400mil.
PNG Business News - March 11, 2021
NFA Seeks to Develop Fishing Industry
The National Fisheries Authority seeks to develop infrastructure in order to grow PNG's fishing industry. According to NFA managing director John Kasu, the company has already submitted a 10-year strategic plan to the National Executive Council, which will be unveiled in April in Parliament to lay the groundwork for the fishing industry's future. “Our aim is to build proper infrastructures such as ports and jetties and when we have proper infrastructures it will attract more investors and that will bring the cost of doing business down,” he said. Kasu claims that doing business in the country is costly and that most fisheries factories aren't running at full capacity. Currently, factories are producing about 30% because they are not receiving enough fish to process, and the NFA aims to raise that production to 80 or 90%. “Our outlook for 2021 is to start work on building the important fisheries infrastructure project such as the Wagang Fisheries Port project in Lae and other major fisheries ports,” he said. “We will be also working on other projects such as the Tuna terminal project in Rabaul and also small jetties throughout the coastal areas in the country.” NFA, he said, would look at downstream manufacturing to ensure that they can increase output as well. When they increase demand, more fish would be available to the factories, allowing them to operate at maximum capacity. Kasu clarified that, unlike other industries, the NFA has been largely unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic since most of their fishing vassals operate offshore and the NFA has a large offshore presence.
PNG Business News - July 22, 2021
Oil Search Considering Merging with Santos
Santos, an Australian oil firm, announced its plan to combine with Oil Search Limited. Santos proposed a non-binding indicative merger last month with the goal of making the two companies the regional energy champions. The proposed merged entity has a market capitalization of A$22 billion (K56 billion), putting it among the top 20 ASX-listed companies and the top 20 global oil and gas companies. This means, among other things, that the merger will have a diverse portfolio of high-quality, long-life assets spanning Australia and Papua New Guinea, a solid balance sheet with ample cash to support expansion choices, and an investment-grade credit rating. The merger plan, if approved, would be conducted through a Scheme of Arrangement in which Oil Search shareholders would receive 0.589 new Santos shares for each Oil Search share held, according to Santos in a market disclosure to the Australian Stock Exchange. Following the scheme's acceptance, Oil Search shareholders would control 37% of the combined company, while Santos shareholders would own 63%. Based on Santos' closing price on June 24, 2021, the ownership ratio suggested a transaction price of A$4.25 (10.92) per Oil Search share. This was a 12.3% premium to the Oil Search closing price of A$3.78 (K9.72) on June 24, 2021, and a 9.8% premium to the Mubadala block trade selling price of A$3865. (K9.92). Kevin Gallagher, managing director and chief executive officer of Santos, said the merger will bring more alignment to PNG, allowing for the development of important projects such as Papua LNG, as well as the creation of new employment and support for the local economy. Santos, according to Gallagher, has proposed a true merger in which ownership of the combined firm is based on proportionate contribution and value. “The strategic rationale for a merger is clear and offers superior value to Oil Search shareholders rather than continuing on a standalone basis. “Santos continues to believe that the Merger Proposal represents an extremely attractive opportunity to deliver compelling value accretion to both Santos and Oil Search shareholders.” Oil Search stated in its ASX market update that it is open to receiving and engaging with any proposal that is in the best interests of its shareholders. While the company's board of directors agrees with Santos that combining the two firms makes strategic sense, the conditions must be fair to the company's shareholders, which the terms proposed by Santos are not. Despite Santos shareholders holding 70% more shares than Oil Search shareholders, Oil Search maintains that the proposed conditions provide just a 6.8% premium based on Friday's closing share prices for Oil Search and Santos. According to the firm, no such proposal has been made at this time. Reference: Post-Courier (21 July 2021). "Oil Search Open To Merger with Santos".
PNG Business News - July 21, 2021
Study Says Sweet Potato Growers Have Received Significant Insights into Customers Buying Habits
In Papua New Guinea (PNG), sweet potato (kaukau) growers have received significant insight into customer buying habits, which is assisting them in identifying new market possibilities. The recent market analysis, which was supported by the Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership and conducted by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, revealed that an increasing number of consumers in Port Moresby prefer to buy fresh produce from supermarkets, citing convenience and safety as reasons. While this trend may result in fewer consumers at conventional farmer markets, PNG and Australian experts believe it may open up new marketplaces for rural people. “Farmers are looking for stable markets where they can receive more consistent prices for better-quality produce,” said Professor Philip Brown from Central Queensland University (CQU), who is leading the research project. “The research shows that consumer behaviour is likely to support an expansion in the supermarket sector in large urban centres and this is positive news for the farmers. This could allow commercial focused farmers to secure more stable market access.” The study of 353 customers was conducted as part of ACIAR-funded sweet potato research sponsored by CQU and the PNG National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI), which aims to improve sweet potato value chains by increasing the quality of harvested roots. Sweet potato quality and production are improving, resulting in increasing supplies to retailers eager to provide better fresh produce. “The project, with support from the Fresh Produce Development Agency and NARI, is helping farmers to build their business skills and connect with emerging supermarket opportunities,” said Professor Brown. Kirt Hainzer, a CQU researcher who collaborated on the survey alongside NARI researchers, said it was the first study to look at customer behaviour and see what role stores may play in the development of PNG's commercial sweet potato sector. “The research sought to better understand and compare how consumers buy staples from open markets and supermarkets and to explore the preferences for purchasing staple foods as supermarkets increase the availability of convenience staples like rice,” said Hainzer. “Although expanding formal sales represents a huge step forward in developing a commercial sweet potato industry, continued research on consumer preferences and the market for fresh produce will help better understand trends in staple food purchasing and what market opportunities exist for growers.” With over a hundred kinds of sweet potato in the nation, NARI economist Raywin Ovah said the study sought to find out which of these customers preferred. “Not all the varieties are preferred from a consumer point of view. There are only a few that consumers want to be based on the taste or health properties and that is what we want to also find out. Farmers can be provided with that information, so they produce those varieties that the market wants.” One of five initiatives under the Transformative Agriculture and Enterprise Development Program is a project to increase commercial sweet potato production and commercialization in the PNG highlands. The ACIAR program, which is funded by Australia in collaboration with the government of Papua New Guinea, aims to improve the livelihoods of rural men and women through private sector-led development, increased agricultural productivity and quality, and the development of individual and institutional capacity. Reference: Loop (20 July 2021). “Study looks into sweet potato industry”.
PNG Business News - July 21, 2021
Garry: MRA Evaluating K50 Billion Worth of Investments
According to managing director Jerry Garry, the Mineral Resources Authority is evaluating more than K50 billion in investments in the country. Wafi-Golpu, Frieda River, and Woodlark are among them. “We are also looking at the Central Lime and Cement,” he said. “If that project comes on-stream, it will be one of the first industrial mines ever built in the country.” Garry was speaking at a Port Moresby consultation session on the Mine and Works (Safety and Health) Bill 2021. PNG, he added, was home to some of the world's largest mines. “We have grown from strength to strength,” he said. “If you compare the Bank of PNG statistics, the mining sector alone, in terms of production, has exported over K17 billion in 2020 and 2019. “So it’s a huge industry that we are trying to regulate and manage.” Garry expressed gratitude to the industry for making safety a primary priority. “They have been taking health and safety at the workplaces very seriously,” he said. “We must not only consider (the workers) and the environment but also people living around the (areas) we operate in. “And if we are using any hazards, we must also take responsibility.” The newest mining methods in Wafi-Golpu, known as block cave mining, are one of the new things to expect, according to Garry. “New mining hazards will come with this new mining method,” he said. Reference: The National (20 July 2021). “Authority assessing investments worth K50bil”.