After over 20 years of failure, the Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has learnt from the mistakes of the past and is ready to kickoff Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in a big way starting this year, says the Minister for International Trade and Investment, Hon. Richard Maru.
“Our first two Special Economic Zones were Malahang in Morobe Province and Ulaveo in the East New Britain Province. These were followed by the Paga Hill Special Economic Zone and the Central Limestone Project. This year the Government is set to license the Rice Special Economic Zone, the Central Manufacturing Zone, the Sepik Plains Special Economic Zone, and the PMIZ,” said Minister Maru.
Minister Maru further stated: “We are keen to support more Special Economic Zones especially in the agriculture space. Papua New Guinea is still a net importer of bulk of our food including rice, chicken, beef, and lamb. Our Government is keen to ensure that we have all of that replaced. I thank Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape and the National Executive Council (NEC) for their support and with the approval of K150 million in the 2024 Budget for State Equity we are ready to announce more Special Economic Zones. Some Special Economic Zones will be owned by the Government, some will be owned by the private sector, and some will be jointly owned by the Government and the private sector.”
“Apart from the mining and petroleum projects, Special Economic Zones will be our major driver of sustainable and inclusive economic growth. We have learnt from the success of other countries like the Philippines, China, Thailand, and Indonesia and we are very keen on seeing more results this year for our country. With the high level of unemployment of our young people in Papua New Guinea, Special Economic Zones will be the greatest creator of jobs and we look forward to aggressively implement the Special Economic Zone agenda of our Government,” added Minister Maru.
Minister Maru also gave an update on the draft PNG SEZ Foundation Policy saying it was now ready for final revisions and for final stakeholder-consultations before it will be taken to Cabinet and launched together with the SEZ Masterplan.
“We are excited about the unlimited opportunities that Papua New Guinea has to tap into our economic growth aspirations using Special Economic Zones as a major driver for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. We look forward to a very busy and exciting year as we start 2024 and we look forward to working very closely with the Provincial Governments and the Districts, and investors and strategic partners to implement the Special Economic Zone agenda of our Government,” said Minister Maru.