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PM Marape: Changes Coming, but Industry will Know When
by PNG Business News - June 08, 2021
Prime Minister James Marape has confirmed changes are coming to the country’s regulatory and fiscal regimes for the mining and petroleum industries, but also assured businessmen that Papua New Guinea would honor all its commitments under the law and the industry would be consulted closely for any changes.
Speaking in a webinar organized by the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Marape underscored that the mining and petroleum sector “remains our number one economic sector in our country and that is acknowledged and that will remain so.”
“The government acknowledges the important contribution the mining and petroleum sector provides to the country and to the economy. Without this sector, our country would be far behind in terms of our economic performance and in terms of service delivery by the government to our people,” he said.
Following recent disruptive moves to increase local participation in the Porgera gold mine and government-induced delays to gas projects, he also moved to reassure the industry that his government was still in favour of foreign investment in the sector.
Under the theme ‘Resource Industry – Making It Work for PNG’ the PNG CMP webinars have consistently tried to establish a shared credible public platform to meaningfully discuss the sustainability of the country’s resources sector.
Marape agreed with this and said: “My advocacy has sometimes been misconstrued. We’re not in the business of scaring our foreign investors. We’re in the business of working with them to maximise revenues for our country: from tax, rents, rates, or from the many businesses that stem from our projects.”
Any current mining projects would be protected from future changes to the country’s mining laws, the PM said to reassure miners.
“Any current mining development contract will run its full course because they were executed under the current [legislative] regime,”
Marape said. ‘We are a robust country, a democratic country and a country that respects the rule of law. We will honour agreements we have signed with our investors and give ample signal to our investors of any changes.”
The premier noted that 2025, or the 50th year of PNG’s independence, would be the crucial year when these changes would take place.
PNG Business News - May 03, 2021
Chamber Calls On Government to Pay Its Dues
The Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry has asked the government to pay over K100 million in unpaid dues to its members in order to help them develop their businesses. Stacey O'Nea, the Chamber's chief executive officer, stated that they are not after free handouts or a stimulus budget for companies; rather, they want what is owed to them to be compensated so that their businesses can be stimulated. “Many of our members are starting to scale down and are letting go of their employees due to the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s economy, and businesses are unable to continue to save jobs in the current prolonged COVID-19 threat environment,” she said. “The sensitive issue of job loss also has an impact on livelihoods in PNG’s extended family system and has a direct spillover effect on social and security issues. “Coupled with ongoing concerns on revenue challenges, subsequent profit decline, depreciating kina, forex availability, increased fuel and security costs and COVID-19 restrictions are a myriad of serious challenges shared across our businesses and industries.” O'Nea stated that the chamber is in talks with relevant authorities over receiving government compensation owed to its members. “While we are thankful for the Government’s efforts this year towards settling a number of urgent arrears for rentals, goods and services, we urge continuity of payments for contracts that have satisfied the vetting process, as they will help act as a stimulus to sustain operations in these times for our businesses and industries,” she said. Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Belden Namah has said that the economy is in free fall and has urged the government to ease controls on enterprises and social events as soon as possible while maintaining the new standard. Lockdowns, he claimed, are killing the economy by throwing workers out of jobs and forcing companies to close.
PNG Business News - May 04, 2021
Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Appoint Kassman as President
The PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum has appointed Richard Kassman as its current president. Kassman, who has served as the chamber's vice president for the past three years, succeeds Gerea Aopi, who began his career in the industry in 1991. Following the announcement, Kassman praised the outgoing president, Aopi, for his extensive work and guidance. “My first task as president-elect is to thank outgoing president Gerea Aopi. A colossus of a man whose contribution to our industry and indeed his beloved Papua New Guinea is unrivalled. “Gerea always guided the discourse ensuring being cognizant with national interests, when the chamber represented its diverse membership and promoted the industry. He served with class and distinction. He was measured, thoughtful and compassionate, and when required, frank and direct. Hallmarks of a courageous servant leader,” Kassman said. In his final remarks, Aopi put the industry's attempts to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic into perspective. “Amidst the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the country last year, the chamber has been active in discussing legislation and policy that affects our industry. “Constant dialogue and discussion amongst council members representing mining and petroleum have been at the core of our engagement in the national and political space,” he said. Kassman, who works for Total E&P PNG Limited as the Public Affairs and External Communications Head, spoke about the mining and petroleum sector's future as well as the chamber's work. “The chamber plays a crucial role in providing discourse on major national issues. And it represents members who are always ready to step in to assist the national leadership in times of national calamity,” he said. The Chamber of Mines and Petroleum is PNG's apex body for the mining and petroleum industries, with a diverse membership that spans both the mineral and industry sectors. It comprises the majority of PNG's productive mining and petroleum firms.
PNG Business News - May 18, 2021
PNGEITI Congratulates Richard Kassman as New Industry Chamber President
Richard Kassman was recently named President of the Papua New Guinea Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, and the PNG Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (PNGEITI) congratulated him. He recently took over for Gerea Aopi, who had served in the role admirably. Richard Kassman is the Director of Corporate Affairs, Total E&P PNG Limited, and was vice president of the Chamber at the time of his appointment. He is an active member of the PNGEITI Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) and was vice president of the Chamber at the time of his appointment. Kassman is a member of the PNGEITI MSG, which oversees the Global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) implementation in Papua New Guinea. “As we all know Kassman is a dedicated professional with active engagement in both the Government and private sector in Papua New Guinea with deep commitment within those various roles he plays,” PNGEITI Head of National Secretariat Lucas Alkan said. “His insights and contributions to the advancement of EITI reporting in this country have resonated with great value and the PNGEITI MSG is privileged to have him on board. “At this juncture, we acknowledge his invaluable commitment and contribution over the years since PNG commenced implementing the EITI 7 years ago. Now as elected President of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, we look forward to a heightened working relation with regards to the role that the industry plays as the key stakeholder in implementing and maintaining PNG’s position as an EITI affiliated member country.” Kassman's expertise, according to Alkan, will significantly enhance the work of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum in representing the EITI in PNG, as well as giving the cause more visibility by building on the momentum of the campaign, which has generated many financial year reports from the extractive sector.
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PNG Business News - June 15, 2021
PNG Vanilla Company Partners Expo2020 Team
Dr. Nancy Irwin (left) with the Deputy Commissioner General for Expo2020 and Head of the PNG Expo2020 Secretariat, Mrs. Jacinta Warakai-Manua began the partnership to tell the PNG Vanilla story in Dubai, by exchanging ideas in Port Moresby last week. A vanilla production and export company is partnering with the PNG Expo2020 Team to promote their products in the Dubai World Exposition that starts in October this year. KAMAPIM, a company working with landowners in the Madang and Morobe Provinces produces top quality vanilla beans and is already exporting to the EU market. The Managing Director of the company Dr. Nancy Irwin, met with the PNG Commissioner General to Expo2020 Ambassador Joshua Kalinoe and his Deputy Mrs. Jacinta Warakai-Manua in Port Moresby last week to firm up the arrangements. Dr. Irwin said Kamapim (pidgin for develop and to improve) concentrates its efforts in producing the best quality bean for the international market through quality assurance production methods. “PNG farmers can grow anything, they have instinctive ability to grow well any crops. When I first started the project, the quality of the beans were poor, full of fungus due to lack of processing knowledge. We saw huge potential of the organically grown beans and started working with landowners through a cooperative production and marketing structure to improve quality” “The company provide extension services to farmers and buy the beans directly, ensuring farmers are paid a fair price for their efforts”, she said. Dr Irwin said the beans are tested internationally and are consistently classed as the top-quality A grade level. “While PNG has a good perception of growing environment friendly organic vanilla beans, the challenge is for the relevant Government authorities to work with farmers to improve quality. I believe the cooperative production methods applied by our company, Kamapim, could be used nationally as one of the models to improve quality for the export market as well as to maximize revenue gain for farmers”, Dr. Irwin said. She said the company is looking forward to partnering with the PNG Expo2020 Team to tell the PNG story and to connect with niche importers in Dubai and the Arab world in general. Dr. Irwin said the company would promote its products in specially branded PNG Expo2020 containers to create visibility for the country as well as to preserve quality at the company’s cost.
PNG Business News - June 15, 2021
PNGEITI Praises Open Dialogue to Reopen Porgera Mine
The PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PNGEITI) has praised the open stakeholder dialogue culminating in reaching consensus to re-open the Pogera Mine in Enga. Parties in April this year sanctioned a “Framework Agreement for the New Pogera Project” which spells out the roadmap to reopen the mine. Mark Bristow, CEO and President of Barrick Gold last week explained key elements of “Framework Agreement for the New Pogera Project” at a public forum at the Piam Oval in Pogera witnessed by PNG Prime Minister James Marape, landowners and other leaders. In the new agreement, PNG stakeholders will together own a 51 % equity stake in the mine while Barrick Niguini Limited (BNL), a joint venture company in which Barrick and Zijin Mining Group each own 50% will hold 49 %. BNL will remain the mine operator. At the end of the first ten year period, the PNG stakeholders will have the option to purchase BNL’s 49 % PNGEITI Head of Secretariat Lucas Alkan remarked that the open discussion throughout the negotiation process on the part of the mine operating lead, Government and landowners has culminated in this agreement signed happily by all parties. “We at the PNGEITI congratulate the Government and the project lead Barrick Gold and other stakeholders for reaching a consensus decision to reopen the mine. “Pogera has been an economic powerhouse for many years and people in the country have been waiting for the outcome. “We commend the Prime Minister, the President and CEO of Barrick Gold Mr. Mark Bristow for the leadership in ensuring that the negotiations were done in the transparent and open manner. “PNG Extractive Industries Transparency highly encourages such openness in the negotiating process for resources benefits and importantly the responsibilities that each stakeholder must take on to ensure smooth flow of proceeds. “We look forward to working with the Government and the project operator in the areas of transparency and accountability to help derive best value for all stakeholders. PNGEITI commitment to reporting on developments in the mining and petroleum space is becoming stronger with new reporting dimensions taking shape as we making progress in promoting transparency and accountability in the PNG mining and petroleum industry” Mr. Alkan said.
PNG Business News - June 14, 2021
BPNG Goes For Review
Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey has revealed the terms of reference for a review of the Bank of PNG, as well as the members of the review panel. Former Chief Secretary Robert Igara will lead the study, which was planned in the Supplementary Budget for 2020. Former central bank governor Sir Wilson Kamit and Australian professor Dr Stephen Howes are the two members. “These very eminent people, all of whom have detailed experience of the PNG financial system and reform, will be working to a term of reference approved recently by the NEC,” Ling-Stuckey said. “It is the first review of the central bank and the Central Banking Act 2002 since Sir Mekere Morauta’s financial system reforms when he was prime minister from 1999 to 2002. “Much has changed since then, and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, along with substantial technological advances, have made the need for a review even more urgent. “The aim is to modernise the bank and the legislation in line with international developments, and make it more responsive to prevailing circumstances while preserving its independence.” The study is scheduled to be finished in time for Parliament's November session. “An independent advisory group was also established by the late Sir Mekere when looking at the changes that led to the Central Banking Act 2000,” he said. “Igara, currently the University of Papua New Guinea chancellor, was chief secretary at the time, and Sir Wilson was the governor of the Central Bank. “Prof Howes, head of the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University, has long been involved in PNG research and advice and consultation, particularly in relation to national development.” Reference: The National (8 June 2021). “BPNG going for review”.