PM Marape calls on Japan, Australia and New Zealand to open ‘Economic Bubble’ with Pacific Island Nations
by PNG Business News - July 08, 2021
Photo Credit: Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council
As part of their involvement in the battle against COVID-19, Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP has called on Japan, Australia, and New Zealand to open up an economic bubble with Pacific Island countries.
During the 9th Pacific Alliance Leaders Meeting (PALM), which was held online, the Prime Minister made this request. COVID-19, he added, was not just a health issue but also an economic issue in the Pacific Islands at this point.
“In Papua New Guinea we recognize that COVID-19 has had a strong negative impact on our economy,” Prime Minister Marape said.
“Speaking on behalf of my 14 other sister nations in the Pacific, especially those who are dependent on tourism or external trade, dependent on fisheries, agriculture and the export of our raw resources, who are totally exposed to the ravages and the damage COVID-19 is causing to our local economies, so we need international trading and commerce for our economies to function.
“Papua New Guinea, having recognized the need for our economy to be functional, has elevated
our COVID-19 response by way of the passing of a specific Act of Parliament called the National Pandemic Act that defines how we live, work, operate and trade.
“We have not closed our borders and we are still open for business to ensure our 10 million people survive COVID-19.
“At this juncture, let me thank Japan for your continued interventions and interest in our small Pacific Island nations. They are totally vulnerable and exposed to the contraction of the global economy and the close of international borders.
“Therefore I ask for your continued presence in helping us, not just in the area of health but more importantly, on how we can ensure trade and economy remains functional and relevant.”
Prime Minister Marape has urged Japan, Australia, and New Zealand to assist Pacific Island nations in keeping their economies afloat by functioning in a special trade and economic bubble that will allow our economy to weather the storm.
The Prime Minister also praised Japan's Prime Minister, Hon Yoshihide Suga, for his assistance to the area, as well as Australia, and New Zealand.
Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council (2 July 2021). “PM Marape calls on Japan, Australia and New Zealand to open ‘Economic Bubble’ with Pacific Island Nations”.
PNG Business News - June 28, 2021
PM Marape urges SMEs to venture into agriculture
Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has pointed Papua New Guinea small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to agriculture as a space that they can move into. He said this when addressing the 3rd SME Business Breakfast at APEC Haus in Port Moresby on Friday (June 5th 2021) which also marked the end of SME Week. PM Marape said agriculture could supply domestic needs as well as export to other countries. He said PNG was the closest Pacific country to Asia, including Indonesia right next door, which had a population of 260 million. PM Marape said the majority of Indonesians were Muslims who ate beef. “I wonder why the grasslands of Sepik and Fly are doing nothing,” he said. “Those are places where we can raise beef (cattle) and supply to the 260 million Muslims next door.” PM Marape said the next 100 years would be the “Asian century” as the increasing population there needed more food, water and energy. He said PNG could follow the track of New Zealand in becoming a specialist food producer to supply the population of Asia. PM Marape pointed out the case of Fiji water, which was now sold around the world, and added PNG could do similar through organic food. “Organic food supply to niche markets in Asia can be a forte, can be a specialist area, going into the future,” he said. “Government will look at those concepts and work with the SME Corporation, for those who want to be innovative in the space of SMEs, whether in export-based businesses or domestic supply.”
PNG Business News - July 08, 2021
Marape: Promote Low Cost Fuel and Energy Supply
The Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape MP said the government is looking for a partner or investor, such as Puma Energy, to assist it to achieve its goal of creating a low-cost fuel and energy industry in the country. He also urged Puma Energy to stay in PNG's local petroleum and energy sector and invest more. PM Marape made the remarks at Puma Energy's Napanapa oil refinery west of Port Moresby, to commemorate 14 million man-hours of incident-free operations at Puma Energy's locations around the nation over the previous seven (7) years. “I am happy to be here today to witness and celebrate this world-class safety milestone achieved by Puma Energy PNG staff and its contractor staff. “On your milestone achievement of 14 million man-hours without any lost time in the incident, think big and think positive, expand and promote the fuel and energy needed for our domestic customers,’’ he said. “Let me thank Puma Energy and those of you who have been working diligently in the last two years when we were stressed through the COVID-19 pandemic. “You remained at work and delivered to our country through your contractors, and the subsidiaries that work off the main Puma Company and I think the network of companies who feed off Puma Energy has been the beneficiary of the standard of safety and you have conducted yourself and you deserve special commendations. “Going forward I would like to encourage Puma Energy in our country to also step out of where you are today. You are at a site in our country where it’s the first in as far as oil and gas business is concerned the first refinery in our country. “You have acquired these assets and you have a feel of what it is all about and as a Government, my major focus going into the future and something that is critically important and to anchor our economy is the lower cost of power and lower cost of fuel in our country. “We are looking for business partners who could assist us in filling this gap by finding solutions to lower the cost of fuel and lower the cost of power. And so I would like to take this opportunity to sound it out to people and Puma Energy, you are already here with us,’’ said PM Marape. He stated that Puma Energy may collaborate with the government and others in the sector in a variety of ways. “As a Government, we are on the search for partners who could assist us in lowering the cost of energy, more so fuel of all kinds whether its jet fuel, fuel for ships, fuel for cars and the costs of fuel, energy and power must come down in our country. “There is no secret and that is the intention of my Government. That is why I am strongly advocating for a specific portion of our domestic market of gas and for us to ensure that domestic market gas is secured in new gas fields we sign up and or translate that to companies that are already in the energy space into cheaper energy and fuel. “So at this juncture without imposing upon you Puma Energy being the major importer and processor of fuel in our country space is there for you and we look forward to partners who can be serious players in downstream fuel processing in the country,’’ he said. PM Marape said that PNG produces oil and gas in the country and yet we have expensive fuel that is based out of Singapore pricing when we may be able to look for our own pricing. “So Puma Energy that is something you can work in your board room and see whether you could be a partner of choice for us going forward. “Whilst you do not have upstream gas and petroleum areas, you are already in the downstream area so how can you partner the Government and Government bodies like Kumul Petroleum, who are agents for seeking petroleum gas deals, you can fit in that gap as you have a refinery facility here and how you can utilize the gas and oil extracted locally here. “I am encouraging you not to sell out and remain in our country going forward where some of our 10 million people will be needing fuel and energy and we need competition and a robust competition is good for our customers. “I look forward to Puma Energy continuing to serve our country and clocking another safety man-hours. “Congratulations to Puma Energy, your management, and individual workers for contributing to this milestone safety record,’’ said PM Marape. Reference: Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council (1 July 2021). “PM Marape Encourages Puma To Promote Low Cost Fuel And Energy Supply”.
PNG Business News - June 28, 2021
PM: SMEs Have Huge Role to Play
Small and medium businesses (SMEs) have a significant role in economic growth, according to Prime Minister Hon. James Marape. When addressing the 3rd SME Business Breakfast on Friday (June 25, 2021) to commemorate the end of SME Week, he also praised local SMEs for hosting PNG SME Week at APEC Haus in Port Moresby from June 21 to 25. “Thank you (SMEs) for what you have been doing this week,” PM Marape said. “Many nations globally are built on SMEs.” He used the example of neighbouring Indonesia, which has over 50 million SMEs, which he described as the economy's "engine room." PM Marape also mentioned New Zealand, which he visited last year and described as a country around the same size as PNG but with an economy based on SMEs. “New Zealand is a country almost the same land size as ours,” he said. “Their economy is really dependent on SMEs that are based around agriculture, tourism and cottage industries. “This is a place that we could source inspiration from. “Based on those small-scale, SME-based industries, they have a US$200 billion economy that keeps them running.” PM Marape stated that New Zealand's economy is built on agriculture, cattle, dairy, and marine resources, rather than large-scale mining, oil, and gas operations. “I believe in the propensity of our country to expand to an economy that is beyond US$200 million sizes, if not in the next 10 years, easily in the next 20 years we could get there,” he said. “That is simply because of the resource density we have in our country.” “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” PM Marape remarked as the country went through difficult times. “Those who will be in the mainstream are those who want to capture opportunities that are available for them,” he said. “I speak to our local SMEs: There are opportunities available.” PM Marape stated that individuals working in the SME sector should know that “our Government is pro-business, pro-SME”. “We want to help Papua New Guineans and those that are resident in Papua New Guinea to get going in business,” he said. “We embrace businesses of all types because we are cognizant of the fact that success of business allows the economy of a country to be strong.” Reference: The Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council (26 June 2021). “PM Marape highlights important role of SMEs”.
PNG Business News - June 05, 2023
PNG PM Marape Participates in PIF Leaders Breakfast Caucas
Photo: PNG PM Marape Participates in PIF Leaders Breakfast Caucas Prior to the Korean-Pacific Islands Leaders (Kor-Pic) Meeting, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Marape joined other PIC Leaders for a breakfast caucus Chaired by Cook Islands Prime Minister and current Pacific Islands Forum Chair Mark Brown, to discuss the agenda and a common position on shared development issues. Prime Minister Marape said climate variation, being the perennial issue including sourcing appropriate development assistance from the Korean Government was high on the agenda. He said the encouragement during the caucus was for all PIC Leaders to discuss their developmental challenges and put forward their ideas on how Korean Development assistance could complement the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy. Following this caucus, Prime Minister Marape, met with Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles. Their discussions were centered around progress of the proposed Bilateral Security Treaty (BST), the recently concluded Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US, Visa issues and the PNG NRL Bid. On the BST, Prime Minister Marape mentioned that it was work in progress and required the PNG side to consult our domestic processes and sovereign laws in relation to certain wordings and provisions. He also conveyed his apologies to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for the delay in formalising this proposed Treaty with Australia. For the DCA with the US, Prime Minister Marape informed that it was centered around improving the PNGDF's capabilities and interoperability including protecting our frontiers and sovereignty. He said it was non-discriminatory and PNG was open to entering into similar arrangements with its bilateral partners. “In fact, the DCA would also complement domestic law enforcement,” Prime Minister Marape said. “The Ship Rider Agreement on the other hand was also vital in combating illegal fishing and transnational crimes.” For Visa issues, Deputy Prime Minister Marles informed that the current Australian Government was fully aware of the situation and following the Ministerial Forum in February this year in Canberra, had established a Joint Ministerial Team to work on bringing the Australian visa processing facility back on shore to PNG. Prime Minister Marape in his response said that all processes from both sides had to be attended to in order for smooth facilitation and for citizens and businesses to continue without much hindrance now and heading into 2050 when PNG celebrates 50 years of nationhood. On Papua New Guinea’s NRL Bid, Prime Minister Marape explained that PNG was still very keen as rugby league was a major unifying factor, bringing our 800 tribes together as one people. In closing Prime Minister Marape assured Deputy Prime Minister Marles that PNG in no way would compromise its excellent existing bilateral relations with Australia and further stressed that PNG was capable of managing its sovereign affairs on its terms, systems and processes.
PNG Business News - June 05, 2023
ADB Helps Launch Vocational Education Project in PNG
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) today launched a cofinanced project to improve the country’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) program. PNG's Deputy Prime Minister John Rosso delivered a keynote address at the launch event at Port Moresby Technical College. PNG’s Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, and Sports Don Polye, ADB Country Director for Papua New Guinea David Hill, and Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Paul Lehmann all spoke at the event. The Improved Technical and Vocational Education and Training for Employment Project financed by ADB and the governments of Australia and PNG will strengthen the country’s TVET program and help prepare students to be more competitive and responsive to employment and industry demands. “We hope this project will become a model for all vocational education and skills training in TVET colleges in the country,” said Mr. Rosso. “The beneficiaries of this project—young, skilled workers, including women and men—represent PNG’s future, and through this project, the future of vocational education in PNG looks bright.” This project aims to boost the numbers of skilled workers in the construction and agriculture sectors where demand is high. “We will work with our partners to help advance reforms in the vocational education and skills training space in PNG,” said Mr.Hill. “These sought-after skills in priority sectors will help grow PNG’s economy.” The TVET sector of PNG’s education system comprises public, religious, or private institutions, including technical and business colleges offering postsecondary courses and vocational training. “The Australian government is pleased to be supporting the Government of Papua New Guinea to achieve its reform goals in technical and vocational education and training to increase the number and quality of skilled workers,” said Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Paul Lehmann. “My vision for the TVET for Employment Project is that it will perform as an innovation and technology business incubator across PNG,” said Mr. Polye. “The project is the embodiment of a new approach—building a culture of quality education and innovation in a renewed and revitalized TVET sector.” The Improved Technical and Vocational Education and Training for Employment Project is funded through a $50 million concessional loan from ADB and a $10.6 million grant from Australia. The Government of PNG is also contributing $5.7 million. ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.
PNG Business News - June 05, 2023
PNG Forges an Innovation-fueled Partnership with South Korea in Digital Transformation
Papua New Guinea was amongst seven other Pacific Island countries to sign a partnership statement of intent with the Republic of Korea to further cooperation and partnership in digital transformation. Information and Communications Technology Minister Timothy Masiu, who also was appointed co- chair of the just concluded Korea -Pacific Islands Digital Ministerial Conference in Seoul, South Korea, signed the statement together with the meeting chairman Korean Minister for Science and ICT Dr Lee Jong-Ho. The others who signed the partnership intent are Tonga, Nauru, Samoa, Palau, Cook Islands and Kiribati. Australia and the World Bank also attended the meeting as supporting partners. The Statement of Intent states; The partnership recognize digitalization has transformed not only daily lives but also shapes innovation in all sectors including politics, economy, society, culture and environment. Recognize and note that digital technology offers great potential to address various social economic challenges that come with rapid transformation of society. Agree on continued partnership in digital transformation inclusive of sustainable development will be the key to future prosperity of the people of Korea and the pacific. Agree on sharing digital vision of policies will pave way for strong partnership to digital co-prosperity. Mr Masiu expressed deep satisfaction that Korea , the global leading innovation country, has agreed to partner with Pacific countries including Papua New Guinea in digital transformation that will greatly enhance communication in a vast area like the Pacific and more so, strengthen supporting technology to better access to health, education and business. He told the conference that Papua New Guinea has begun the digital transformation with Parliament passing the Digital Government Act 2022 and relevant policies, and welcomed the partnership with the Republic of Korea, which he says, will go a long way in progressing the digital transformation agenda for PNG and the region. Mr Masiu had bilateral meeting with his South Korean counterpart, further seeking a stronger country to country relations in digital transformation and support to the National Broadcasting Corporation proposing a partnership between the NBC and the Korean Broadcasting Services. The Minister has formally invited the Korean Minister for Science and ICT to visit Papua New Guinea for the Pacific ICT meeting in August 2023 or to accompany the South Korean President who has been invited by Prime Minister James Marape to visit PNG. Mr Marape was in Seoul also this week for the Korea- Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting. Minister Dr Lee Jong-Ho acknowledges the leadership of Papua New Guinea in digital transformation and reaffirmed its support to PNG and the other Pacific Island countries.