Australia's Strong Investment Focus: Roads, Ports, and Electricity in Papua New Guinea
by PNG Business News - May 22, 2023
Photo: Senator Tim Ayres. Credit: Senator Tim Ayres Facebook Page
Australia Assistant Minister for Trade and Manufacturing, Senator Tim Ayres, addressed the 38th Australia PNG Business Forum and Trade Expo, highlighting Australia's focus on investing in roads, ports, and electricity in Papua New Guinea (PNG). He stressed the importance of reliable infrastructure for uninterrupted travel, trade, and commerce within PNG.
Senator Ayres pointed out the long-standing collaboration between Australia and Papua New Guinea in maintaining the national road network through the Australia PNG Transport sector program (TSSP). He noted that the TSSP, initiated in 2007, represents the largest bilateral program Australia has invested in within PNG's transport sector. The program has significantly improved the lives of the people of Papua New Guinea.
"Australia is PNG's number one infrastructure partner, and these investments play a significant role in creating employment opportunities in these projects," stated Senator Ayres. He further emphasized the involvement of local companies in PNG, saying, "Most of Australian contracts go to local companies here in PNG. It isn't just a case of Australian workers arriving to do quick-built projects and buggering off with the profits."
According to Senator Ayres, the focus extends beyond completing projects; it involves investing in local communities, providing training for young people, promoting entrepreneurship, creating opportunities, and building up the economy. The ultimate goal is to foster sustainable development and strengthen the partnership between Australia and PNG.
Australia's dedication to infrastructure development in Papua New Guinea underscores its commitment to enhancing connectivity, stimulating economic growth, and improving the overall well-being of the people of PNG. Through these ongoing investments, Australia aims to forge a long-term partnership with PNG and contribute to the region's sustainable development.
PNG Business News - March 05, 2021
Report: Strong Trade for PNG
Falling export earnings have impacted the external sector of Papua New Guinea. But surging gold prices and import compression contained the damage. According to the World Bank PNG’s economic update titled “Dealing with a triple crisis”, the current account surplus broadened in the first half of 2020, which increased by 14 per cent. This was supported by a strong merchandise trade performance. It said that even if prices for major exports were reduced, the earnings from the mining sector, especially gold exports, posted a surplus. In addition, continued import compression brought about an overall current account surplus. Meanwhile, lower export earnings were more than offset by a 24 per cent decline year-on-year during the first half of 2020. Negative was the trade services balance, caused by negative balances on education, transport, and other business services. The deficits in income and services narrowed. These developments led the current account into a positive area. Earning exports decreased by 14.3 per cent, and prices of major exports also dropped since the beginning of the pandemic. Exports from mineral resources - which includes LNG - went down to 15 per cent year on year, crude oil decreased to 22 per cent and copper, 18 per cent. In addition, agricultural commodity exports decreased by 9.2 per cent, caused by lower export values for coffee, cocoa, and logs - with a little bit offset from palm oil exports. In spite of this decrease, the increase in the cost of gold outweighed all of these impacts, giving rise to the total export earnings to 9 per cent year on year.
PNG Business News - March 05, 2021
Fleming: There Will Be Confidence in PNG Economy
There will be confidence in the PNG economy in 2021.According to Bank South Pacific Group Chief Executive Officer Robin Fleming, this was attributed to the resource sector with several major projects in the pipeline - such as the Fiscal Stability Agreement signed between the Government and Total and Joint Venture Partners of the Papua LNG Project. This also included the Environmental Permit awarded to Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture for the mine negotiations to gin on the Wafi-Golpu Mine.“Certainly we feel that by the end of this year there is going to be far more confidence within the economy. The Wafi-Golpu Mine, and there is a much higher level of confidence within Lae as well, that the business community is looking at further expectations of growth,” he said. Other drivers to this growth also included the ongoing investments in infrastructure and the improvement of State-Owned Entities. “The Government has indicated in its Budget that it’s looking to continue with some of the development of the road construction, for the business community as they know they (PNG Power) got the capability to put their capital to investments which are revenue-generating and not just investments which are protecting their own infrastructure,” he said. The World Bank Groups Papua New Guinea Economic Update of January 2021 said that the Papua LNG Project and the fast resolutions related to key mining projects can contribute to higher inflows of taxation revenue and foreign currency.
PNG Business News - March 05, 2021
PNGEITI Report: Need for Greater Awareness
As a need under the EITI 2019 global practice standard, the Papua New Guinea Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PNGEITI) has published its first Beneficial Ownership (BO) Report. Head of PNGEITI National Secretariat Lucas Alkan said that this has already been published on its website last December 2020. “All EITI implementing countries including Papua New Guinea are required to produce a Beneficial Ownership Report by the 1st of January 2020,” he said.Alkan said to fully comply with this requirement, PNG should have a public register that lists the beneficial owners of corporate entities who hold a particular interest in oil, gas, or mining contracts. This also includes the identity of the beneficial owner. Besides implementing the EITI Standard, PNGEITI is devoted to making sure Beneficial Ownership information disclosure is implemented through its role in; Open Government Policy National Action Plan 2018-2020; the PNGEITI Annual Workplan 2019; and the PNGEITI BO Roadmap for Implementing disclosure including existing legislation such as the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Act 2015.Alkan said, however, that reporting entities did not fully understand the meaning of Beneficial Ownership Reporting. “This is because they were unable to provide complete information of what was requested in the reporting template,” he said. “In addition to the challenges faced in obtaining information for BO reporting, PNGEITI still does not have a legal basis to collect the required BO information which makes it difficult to obtain complete information from the companies.”There are, of course, many challenges that the report found. These include unfamiliarity with the BO concept especially for non-publicly listed companies; several reporting entities did not attend the BO training workshop, and complex corporate structures especially where there are multiple layers of ownership involving several jurisdictions and different types of legal entities.With these many gaps, the report recommends to have a dialogue with the following organizations: the Financial, Analysis and Supervision Unit (FASU) of the Bank of PNG, Investment Promotion Authority (IPA): and the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA).
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.