PM Marape announces successful outcomes of Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s visit

By: PNG Business News July 10, 2023

President Widodo and Prime Minister Marape in a one-on-one meeting - DEPARTMENT OF PM AND NEC MEDIA

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape expressed his utmost satisfaction with the State Visit of Indonesian President H.E. Joko Widodo to Papua New Guinea on Wednesday, July 5, 2023, describing it as a “resounding success.”

Prime Minister Marape recently (Thursday, July 6, 2023) highlighted the significant achievements resulting from President Widodo’s visit.

The major outcomes of President Widodo’s visit are as follows:

  • Signing of a Grant Assistance Agreement worth K55 million for the enhancement of the Intensive Care Unit and the Mortuary at Port Moresby General Hospital.
  • Signing of a Grant Assistance Agreement worth K5 million for the West Sepik Integrated Development Project.
  • Key Announcement of Mutual Visa Waiver Exemption for Diplomatic and Official Passport Holders by PNG.
  • Announcement of the ratification and review of the Basic Border Agreement.
  • Announcement of the signing of the Memorandum-of-Understanding (MOU) on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters.
  • Announcement of the signing of the MOU on Combating Transnational Crimes.
  • Launching of Indonesia’s Citilink flights between Port Moresby and Denpasar.
  • Conclusion of the MOU on Higher Education between the two countries.

Prime Minister Marape also announced that Indonesia is opening up its market to agriculture produce, particularly oil palm and livestock, and urged commodity boards and farmers to increase production to meet the huge demand from there.

He expressed particular gratitude for the MOU on Higher Education, which entails Indonesia offering scholarships to up to 2, 000 Papua New Guineans at its universities and colleges.

“Education played a crucial role in fostering this significant achievement, as President Widodo committed to providing opportunities for Papua New Guinea students at Indonesian tertiary and technical vocational institutions,” said Prime Minister Marape.

“In return, Papua New Guinea has pledged to reciprocate this generous support by offering scholarships to PNG students to study in Indonesia on a one-to-one basis.”

Prime Minister Marape also outlined the areas that will be further advanced in the bilateral relations between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, including:

  • Ratification of the PNG-Indonesia Defense Cooperation Agreement during the upcoming Parliament sitting.
  • Consultation on Visa on Arrival for PNG and Indonesia travellers with ordinary passports.
  • Conclusion and signing of an MOU on Cross-Border Land Transportation.
  • Conclusion and signing of an MOU on Education.
  • Mutual Power Purchase Agreement between Indonesia PLN and PNG Power Ltd to facilitate the supply of electricity from Jayapura to Vanimo.
  • Conclusion and signing of an MOU on Intelligence Sharing.
  • Conclusion of a Joint Feasibility Study on the PNG-Indonesia Preferential Trade Agreement.
  • Conclusion and signing of an MOU on Women Empowerment and Child Protection.

“I am delighted to report that President Widodo’s State Visit has been an overwhelming success. We have addressed a wide range of existing and outstanding issues, achieving consensus on various matters,” stated Prime Minister Marape.

“At the onset of our discussions, I emphasised the longstanding partnership between our nations, rooted in our shared land border. As the only nations sharing a land border, it is our responsibility to build the necessary relationships that yield mutually beneficial outcomes. This entails not only focusing on border security but also capitalising on business, trade, investment, cultural and social issues, supporting economic infrastructure, energy sharing, and agriculture, which are the cornerstones of our economies.

“Papua New Guinea intends to draw inspiration from Indonesia’s economic model as we transition into an industrialised economy through manufacturing, downstream processing, and value-adding. The Inaugural Papua New Guinea-Indonesian Investment Forum serves as a vital mechanism for private sector cooperation, complementing the Government’s development plans and initiatives.

“With the ratification of the Basic Border Agreement by Papua New Guinea, we can now proceed to review it to address new and emerging issues, such as trade and economic development along our common border.

“The formalisation of MoUs on Prevention and Combating Transnational Crime and Capacity Building creates certainty for our safety and well-being. The MoU on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs matters supports our shared endeavor for expanded trade, investment, and procurement of goods and services.

“People-to-people relations have also been further enhanced through visa exemptions for diplomatic and official passport holders, with the potential for expansion to private citizens and investors in the near future.

“On behalf of the Government and people of Papua New Guinea, I extend heartfelt gratitude to the Government and people of Indonesia for the grant assistance valued at K60 million, which will be allocated to integrated projects in West Sepik Provinces, especially in Vanimo and Wutung, as well as the upgrading of the Port Moresby General Hospital Intensive Care Unit and Mortuary.

“The inaugural flight from Denpasar to Port Moresby on July 2, 2023, has provided a major boost to trade and tourism, opening an alternate route to the Asian region and beyond through the successful Air Services Agreement.

“Although the construction of the Jayapura to Merauke Highway falls on the Indonesian side, it presents an avenue for border provinces in PNG to interconnect for business, trade, cultural exchanges, and energy cooperation, such as power purchasing.

“In conclusion, I am deeply satisfied with the outcomes of my consultations with President Widodo, and I encourage our ministers, officials, and business community to diligently implement the discussed initiatives and report on their progress accordingly.”

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