EU Willing to Help PNG With Forestry Reforms
by PNG Business News - March 24, 2022
Photo: Rocky Roe - ABC
According to Ambassador Jernej Videtic, the European Union (EU) is willing to provide Papua New Guinea with hundreds of millions of Kina to help the country complete its forestry reforms.
“Some of the areas that the EU will help are in environmental data management for carbon trading, knowledge management, green jobs and growth, among others.
“PNG holds one of the largest primary forests of the world,” Videtic said.
Videtic, who spoke at the PNG Forest Authority’s workshop to celebrate the 2022 International Day of Forest 2022 said PNG was in danger of climate change. “Forestry, climate change and biodiversity are intrinsically connected specially for PNG,” he said.
“We are aware that your forest not only serves PNG but Europe and the entire world.
“We are ready to support PNG and allocate significant funds in the hundreds of millions of Kina for forestry, climate change and biodiversity programmes, three elements that cannot be separated,” he added.
Solan Mirisim, the Minister of Forestry, stated that it was critical to use and manufacture wood in an environmentally responsible manner.
“1.6 billion people depend on the forest for their livelihood and PNG is no exception,” he added.
PNGFA managing director John Mosoro said the authority was also implementing changes, including the much-discussed log export development charge, to guarantee that revenues flow to forest resource regions.
Reference: The National (22 March 2022). “EU ready to help reform forestry”.
PNG Business News - November 26, 2021
Minister to Implement Downstream Processing for Forestry Industry
The government intended to implement downstream processing, according to Forestry Minister Walter Schnaubelt, with an emphasis on boosting forestry and plantation. Schnaubelt recently stated in West New Britain that as part of the government's plan to reclaim the forestry sector, investors would only be awarded 50% of export licences. “The new permits that we will be giving out will only be 50 per cent for export and the other half must be processed in the country,” Schnaubelt said. “There will be disgruntled developers because most of them would want 100 per cent export but under the agreement for a permit, it clearly stipulates that 20 per cent must be downstream processing. “As Forest Minister, I must make a contribution to this sector. “The buck stops with me.” Schnaubelt stated that he hoped to see a lot more downstream processing in the province. “We need investors who will come and work together with PNGFA to invest their capital in this country. This is just one of the initiatives that we are working on at the PNGFA head office but I will soon make announcements on these developments,” he said. According to Schnaubelt, downstream processing cannot be limited to sawn timber. “I want some time in the near future that papers and even toilet rolls must be produced in PNG.” Reference: The National (19 November 2021). “Govt to cut log exports by 50pc”.
PNG Business News - January 24, 2022
Since 2020, No New Round Log Export Licenses Have Been Issued, According To Prime Minister Marape
As of 2020, no new round log export permits have been awarded to foreign corporations, according to James Marape. He stated in Parliament that round log exports must cease by 2025. PM Marape stated this in response to queries from Hon. Ambunti-Drekikier, the Member of Parliament for Ambunti-Drekikier. Foreign enterprises exporting round logs, according to Johnson Wapunai. “My Government has a clear policy view (on round log exports),” he said. “There must be a time when we stop round log exports. “We must process our logs in-country. “That commitment still stands. “When we came in, we said that from 2020 onwards, there will be more issuance of licenses to new companies to export round logs. “The only exception will be local companies, national companies, landowner companies, provincial government companies. “That is the thinking of my Pangu Pati Government.” All current license holders must engage with the government to relocate into the downstream processing domain, according to PM Marape. He stated that he will provide a detailed scorecard on the policy's progress before the conclusion of the current Parliament in April. Reference: PM James Marape News Page (18 Jamuary 2022). “PM Marape says no new round log export licenses since 2020”.
PNG Business News - March 14, 2022
PNGFA signs MOU with Total Energies
The PNG Forestry Authority has struck a deal with Total Energies to build 10,000 hectares of industrial forest in the Varagadi district of Central Province. Within 20 years, the initiative aims to convert 800,000 hectares of main grasslands in PNG into industrial forest plantations. Goodwill Amos, director of the PNG Forest Research Institute, said Total Energies and PNG Forest Research Institute will collaborate on climate change concerns like carbon footprints and emissions reduction. “They are prosing for ten thousand hectares of grassland to develop in Kwila plantations. The varagadi area only contains 600 hectares.” “Part of the hectares to make up the ten thousand as wanted by Total Energies will be extended to Gulf and Bulolo in the Morobe Province,” he said. Varagadi is home to a population of 3,000 to 4,000 people, as well as 250 landowner representatives. Elliot Yamuje, chairman of Varagadi landowners, said the project will now enlist the help of local residents to plant trees. He went on to say that the initiative will assist not just financially, but also as a community in the battle against climate change. Other benefits to landowners include the establishment of a multi-state-of-the-art teak tree nursery. John Mosoro, the Managing Director of PNG Forestry, said that private investment through the Public Partnership is the way ahead and that Total Energies (PNG) Ltd's willingness and purpose are welcome and in line with the national government's objectives and goals. “Trees are acknowledged as an investment to mitigate increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the world’s atmosphere. The biological potential of plantation forests to sequester carbon can be scientifically estimated. Annual carbon storage in tropical forest plantations ranges from 0.8 to 24 t C per hectare per year.” Mr Mosoro went on to say that some outside cash will help them properly follow national government orders. “We appreciate the contribution by Total Energies to support PNG in establishing forest plantations towards meeting our budget,” he said. “The PNG Forestry Authority is committed to implementing the national government’s goals, objectives and priorities. We are committed to facilitating and maintaining a harmonious partnership with Total Energies in developing the forest plantations in Papua New Guinea.” The PNGFA's overall program goals include establishing 40,000 hectares of plantations every year with an average density of 400m3 per hectare on a 15 to 20-year cycle, yielding 16, 000, 000 m3 per year. At 3 jobs per hectare, forestry could generate 120, 000 jobs per year, or 2, 400 permanent employment in plantation forestry on 800,000 hectares. More jobs will be created in the harvesting, marketing, processing, and supporting infrastructure industries. Plantations will act as a carbon sink, storing 0.8 to 24 tons of carbon per hectare per year, depending on the tree variety. Each province will benefit from the establishment of at least one plantation, which will give employment, rural development, and a financial foundation. Reference: Pacific Mining Watch (4 March 2022). “PNGFA signs MOU with Total Energies”.
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PNG Business News - June 24, 2022
Creating decent income-earning opportunities for rural communities in Papua New Guinea under road maintenance programme
EU Funded UN Joint STREIT PNG Programme, as part of its mission to support efforts towards reducing rural poverty, is engaging local communities with a focus on struggling single parents as a support workforcefor maintenance of 18 selected farm-to-market roads in the Sepik region. Led by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the creation of these employment opportunities in remote communities where there are limited income-generating activities because of lack of accessible roads to markets is a relief to many disadvantaged households. This month the ILO team visited some of these beneficiaries who are employed in the Road Maintenance Groups (RMGs) working on a 17.7km-long Walkasa Mai-Wanwan road and an 8km-long Yiminum-Wilbowe road in the Nuku District of Sandaun Province. For the beneficiaries, this is a lifetime opportunity for a regular and steady income to support their and their families' everyday needs, and one important concern for the struggling families is paying for their siblings' and kids' school fees and associate costs. Among the struggling families are some widows like Marathia, aged 59, from Yiminum Village, who works on the Yiminum-Wilbowe road. "My husband died, and we were really struggling because our families have their own problems to take care of. Now, I'm very happy with this job which I joined last year. It helps with school fees for my children," said Marathia. Marathia was left with five children to support, including one who is attending final year studies at a vocational training nearby. With the income as an RMG, she was able to pay PGK 500 school fee last year and early this year she paid PGK 250. She said the community is also happy to see her contribution in a job they usually see as for men only. For youths like Jena Suwa this employment opens a new window to their life. She was not able to complete her studies after year 10 in 2018. "I'm very happy today because I was doing nothing in the house. I will now save some money to prepare to go back to school to become a nurse," said Jena. Sony Apo is another youth who completed Grade 8 in 2015 and is looking forward to some money to upgrade. He dreams of becoming a carpenter to continue the legacy of his late 'big daddy'. "Big daddy was the only skilled man we had in the family, and now I'm ready to become a carpenter as well," he said. The main works that encompass the road routine maintenance aspect to be undertaken by the RMGs include pothole patching, vegetation clearing, drainage and general cleaning along the road in preparation for engagement of a contractor to perform specific maintenance on these farm-to-market access and feeder roads. Safety gears and road maintenance tools like boots, gloves, vests, safety helmets, spades, hoes, wheelbarrows were also among the tools and equipment provided and distributed by the EU-STREIT PNG Programme among the RMGs' members. During the visits, the Programme's Community Facilitator, Rachel Bowie also shared with the RMGs to demonstrate commitment in their work to take ownership in the routine maintenance of these roads because it will serve them, their families and their fellow community members. The mission also conducted a drone survey of a 14km-long Nanaha-Tau LLG access road in the Ambunti-Drekikier District, East Sepik Province. In consultation with Ward Members, locals, including youths and women, were also recruited to form RMGs to conduct routine maintenance for this road that will also service Drekikier Secondary. Under the Programme selection criteria, one RMG comprises six members that must have at least two females. The group must also have representation from youths, single parents whose partners have died or have deserted them and traditional owners of land the road passes through. The Programme, in partnership with MiBank, a local financial institution, is implementing cashless transactions and banking for rural farmers by opening bank accounts for these RMGs, and their payment is deposited directly at the end of every month. This arrangement encourages rural farmers to save and grow their earnings, which can be used to access small loan benefits. Under this rural agriculture development programme, 18 rural roads in the Sepik region totalling close to 300 km in length are being maintained or upgraded with the help of RMGs to support the market access initiative implemented by the EU-STREIT PNG Programme for rural and farming communities to boost agriculture production and agribusiness activities pertaining to three targeted cocoa, vanilla and fisheries agri-food value chains for an improved income and cash flow for the rural communities. The roads will also support other agricultural, business, social and community activities and facilities like schools, aid posts and health centres that are in dire need of better accessible roads. The EU-STREIT PNG Programme, being implemented as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as the leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region. The Programme aims to help improve the lives of the people from East Sepik and Sandaun provinces, by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains while strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment, and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.
PNG Business News - June 24, 2022
Santos welcomes new apprentices in higher-level program
Photo: Leon Buskens, Santos Country Chair PNG meeting the 25 new apprentices in Port Moresby before their departure to the Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (INSTEP) in Malaysia. Joining Mr Buskens and the apprentices are members of the Santos Training and People & Culture Teams. Santos is helping to equip Papua New Guinea’s next generation of oil and gas technicians with international qualifications. Ten females are among 25 novices who have joined the Santos 2022 Apprenticeship Program following a rigorous selection process which will see them train at the Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (INSTEP) in Malaysia – 900 applications were received for the 2022 Program. Upon completion of the technician training at INSTEP, the apprentices will earn a Pearson Business Education Technology Council Level 2 and Level 3 UK qualification. Santos Country Chair for PNG, Leon Buskens when welcoming the apprentices, said: “You have joined at an exciting time following the merger between Oil Search and Santos. As the inaugural batch under the merged entity, there are greater opportunities for you to advance in all aspects of your career both in PNG and abroad. I encourage you to do your best and importantly, maintain a positive attitude and uphold your values - this is what will take you far on this journey. “This is the beginning, but you should be proud of yourselves as we are of you for making it this far. Congratulations and welcome to Santos.” Joining Mr Buskens to address the new cohort were pioneering trainees Cornelius Soagai, Senior Government Affairs Manager and Lydia Warubi, Deputy Occupational Health & Safety Manager. Mr Soagai went on to become the first national Production Manager in the Operations and Maintenance Department while Ms Warubi made waves as the first national female process technician to work at the Central Processing Facility. Both leaders encouraged the apprentices to maximize on the career development opportunities available to them at Santos. Among the cohort was Judy Sasa who completed the Company’s pre-apprentice program at the Kumul Petroleum Academy (KPA) in 2020. Judy finished at the top of her class and attained an honourable achievement award. A grateful Judy thanked Santos for a further opportunity to broaden her knowledge in oil and gas production. “My dream is coming true as I have always wanted to work in this industry,” Ms Sasa said. The 25 apprentices along with the Santos training team departed PNG for Malaysia last weekend. Two permanent employees were also part of the travelling party to INSTEP where they will train to become dual Electrical & Instrumentation tradesmen. Article courtesy of Santos
PNG Business News - June 23, 2022
PM Marape says East Sepik can become ‘economic powerhouse’ of PNG
Photo: PM Marape addressing the crowd in Maprik Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says East Sepik has the potential to become the “economic powerhouse” of Papua New Guinea. He said in Maprik recently (June 22 2022) that because of this potential, and in memory of founding Prime Minister the late Sir Michael Somare, the next Government would be formed in East Sepik. Present with the Prime Minister were East Sepik Governor Hon. Allan Bird (National Alliance), Angoram MP Hon. Salio Waipo (National Alliance), Maprik MP and Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Hon. John Simon (Pangu) and Pangu candidate for Wosera-Gawi Ronald Asik. Sir Michael was instrumental in the formation of both Pangu and National Alliance “East Sepik has the potential to become the ‘economic powerhouse’ province of our country,” PM Marape said. “This is why I will bring Government formation to here: Firstly, in memory of Sir Michael, and secondly, in memory of Sir Pita Lus. “This will be the 11th Parliament, and the first Parliament without Sir Michael and Sir Pita being alive. “This will be symbolic that the nation is now being passed on to the next generation.” PM Marape said formation of the new Government in East Sepik would also inspire the new generation of leaders to hold on to the lofty ideals of the founding fathers like Sir Michael and Sir Pita. He said his Government, over the last three years, had passed major laws to fight corruption and promised the people of Papua New Guinea that some prominent leaders would be prosecuted after the elections. These include the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Whistle Blowers’ Act and Undisclosed Wealth Act. “What would be the point of Allan Bird and I growing the economy of the country when corruption is still prevalent?” PM Marape said. “We have managed to stifle corruption in the big way with passage of the three bills during the last term of Parliament. “Over the last three years, we have spent over K56 billion, which has grown the economy by K30 billion.” PM Marape said East Sepik’s economic powerhouse potential was in agriculture, through the vast Sepik Plains, and challenged the province to start growing rice on a large scale to reduce the huge K900 million rice import bill. “Over the next few years, and into the future, we want to grow our own rice for domestic consumption as well as export to Phillipines, Indonesia and the rest if the region,” he said. “Sir Michael, before his passing, said he had helped groom me up and asked me not to forget East Sepik into the future. “The way to achieve this is through economic independence. “I want every Papua New Guinean to have money in their pockets: Grow rice, grow cocoa, grow vanilla, look after cattle, bring in tourists, stop consumption of home brew, stop marijuana and other bad habits. “We are ready to take the country to the next level. “I want East Sepik to be an economic powerhouse no longer dependent on Waigani. “This is why I ask the people of East Sepik to send Allan Bird, John Simon, Salio Waipo and my Wosera-Gawi candidate Ronald Asik, Ambunti-Dreikikier candidate Richard Rafa and Wewak candidate Jim Simitab to Parliament. “ Article courtesy of PM JAMES MARAPE News Page