PM Marape calls for diversification of economy when opening SEZ Summit

By: PNG Business News May 09, 2023

Photo: PM Marape with International Trade and Investment Minister Hon. Richard Maru and Vice-Minister Hon. Kessy Sawang at the launch of the SEZ Summit on Sunday night.-PM’s Office Media

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says “a sustainable economy is a diversified economy”.

He said this on Sunday (May 7, 2023) night when opening the three-day Papua New Guinea Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Summit in Port Moresby.

“The effective anchor of a sustainable economy is a diversified economy with all parts of our country and citizens participating,” PM Marape told a fullhouse crowd of international speakers, Government departments and agencies, private sector and representatives from all provinces.

“That is why SEZ development has been a focus of my Government since 2019.

PM Marape said Papua New Guineans had been “hynotised” into thinking that oil, gas and mining were everything.

“We have been hypnotised into thinking that oil, gas and mining can give us the boost in our economy and create economic growth,” he said.

“This is a steroid-type economy with boom and bust cycles.

“We must anchor our economy on areas that are sustainable where everyone – not just one or two landowner groups – are producing with markets at our fingertips.

“I want us now to work our forestry, coffee, copra, cocoa, vanilla, fisheries, livestock, tourism, all service sectors.”

PM Marape said bilateral relationships between PNG and some of the largest economies in the world ensured a readily-available market for the country’s produce.

“Yet, we have not been working to our fullest potential,” he said.

“It is really ourselves in getting our act together.

“SEZs will be and must be the focal point in our drive to ensure our economy diversification strategy – including our push towards downstream processing of our resources – is arrived at, at the very earliest.”

PM Marape told the summit that his Government would give its fullest support to Minister Maru and his department to progress SEZs in PNG.

PM Marape commended Minister Maru and Vice-Minister Hon. Kessy Sawang for organising the summit and creating a “one-stop shop” for SEZs and international trade and investments.

“This department will be a one-stop department to facilitate ease of application, as well as doing business in our country,” he said.

“I ask all of us in Papua New Guinea to be optimistic, to support the course as set by this department in the SEZ conversation, so that we unbundle the fullest potential of our economic strengths in all parts of our country.”

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