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PNG Business News - June 07, 2021

Industry Expert: Resource Projects Should Continue

If Papua New Guinea wants to maintain its economy, resource projects should continue to come online, according to an industry expert. This was said by Chris Chambers, Santos PNG's general manager and a PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum council member,  during the chamber's webinar series. He stressed the need for collaboration between the government and the industry in securing pipelines.  “It is also important to see that sanctioning of large projects such as the PNG LNG gives a very quick economic fill up to the economy as getting taxes, (the different taxes) and increase in employment,” he said.  The resource business accounts for 88 per cent of the country's overall export and 28 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019, according to a snapshot of a study from the PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Institute (PNG EITI). According to the World Bank, PNG is one of the top ten resource-dependent economies in the world. “It’s not necessarily a great thing, but it’s something we have to work within and try to maximise,” Chambers said.   The following are some of the country's noteworthy resource projects: The gold mine Porgera in Enga, which is set to reopen later this year; The Wafi-Golpu project, worth US$5.4 billion (K154.91 billion), is located in Morobe's Huon Gulf and Wau-Bulolo districts. Harmony Gold Mining Ltd and Newcrest Mining Ltd have a 50/50 stake in this large-scale underground mining operation. The US$12 billion (K41.38 billion) Papua LNG project, which will be operated by Total E&P PNG Ltd;  The US$9.2 billion (K31.67 billion) P'nyang gas project, which is jointly owned by ExxonMobil and Oil Search;  The PASCA A Petroleum project in the Gulf;  Others include the Frieda River copper and gold project in East and West Sepik, as well as GeoPacific Resources Ltd's K420 million Woodlark project in Milne Bay. Prime Minister James Marape stated that the government will continue to work on the Wafi-Golpu project as well as other outstanding resource projects. “We have already issued an environmental permit and we will progress Wafi-Golpu after Porgera is moved,” he said. “In the petroleum space, Pasca has been discussed. We thank ExxonMobil for reopening discussions on P’nyang, and we are remobilizing for Papua LNG.  We have been active in business in the midst of Covid-19 as far as the mining and petroleum sector is concerned.”  According to Marape, the government welcomes and will work with all investors in the nation since they are entitled to a high return on investment while also ensuring that locals get a fair part of the resources.   Reference: Moi, Clarissa. The National (7 June 2021). “Bring in more projects: Expert”.

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PNG Business News - June 02, 2021

PNG Chocolate Brand Manufactured in Belgium

Mr. Henray van Vyve, Managing Partner of Meurisse Chocolate NV (right), a Belgian Chocolate manufacturer that uses PNG cocoa beans, presents the Papua New Guinea brand to Ambassador Joshua Kalinoe at the PNG Embassy in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo-courtesy of the Embassy of Papua New Guinea, Brussels, Belgium). A Belgian chocolate manufacturer has included PNG cocoa beans in one of its leading organically grown chocolate product brands. Meurisse Chocolate NV, established since 1845, is using 100 percent cocoa beans from PNG farmers to produce the dark PNG chocolate brand that is 73% cocoa. The company also mixes the PNG cocoa with nuts and other ingredients to produce several brands, including the dark caramel and almond brand. Papua New Guinea's Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union, H E Joshua Kalinoe said the Embassy in Brussels has been promoting PNG products, including cocoa and it is really satisfying to see that the country now has its own brand of chocolate that can be sold in the EU market. Ambassador Kalinoe who is also Papua New Guinea's Commissioner General to Expo2020 in Dubai said that he has invited the company to join the PNG pavilion to tell the PNG cocoa story from the manufacturer's perspective. "We are inviting other companies, including those in PNG to join us in telling the PNG story about their products as well, including those in the agriculture sector. "Our emerging brands like Queen Emma Chocolate and Highlands Honey have been invited to partner with the PNG Expo2020 team as well. "Apart from telling their stories, the idea is to also expose them to niche market opportunities in their respective products for both market access and technology transfer, he said. Ambassador Kalinoe said that the PNG Expo2020 team is facilitating a win-win atmosphere where companies create demand for their products for increased sale that would create more demand for our farmers to produce and export, hence facilitating domestic economic growth by creating more jobs in the value chain and also strengthening the country’s balance of payment in the medium to long terms. “The potential benefits for PNG are convincingly overwhelming if the bureaucrats and policy makers in Waigiani could understand this simple fact and start investing adequately in our participation in Expo 2020. This opportunity of bringing participants from the world together in one village to connect and tell their stories on innovations, technology, culture, and wealth creation amongst themselves happens once every four years, “The partnership with businesses and other stakeholders that the Government is forcing at the Dubai Exposition is consistent with objectives of our participation strategy and the sub-theme, Connecting Minds and Creating Opportunities for Sustainable Development.” he said Ambassador Kalinoe said Expo2020 is different from past World Expositions. It's about sharing ideas and learning from each other as well as creating opportunities for trade and investment. "It is participative in nature where businesses, Governments, academics, artists, city planners, infrastructure specialists, sustainable development experts, research and development as well as mobility experts and others who have a story to tell can participate in the different forums and events of the Expo Program," Ambassador Kalinoe said. He said the PNG Expo2020 Media and Public Affairs team is developing a number of communication mediums, including a Website, as part of the Communication strategy to inform Papua New Guineans and other stakeholders on the country’s participation and Events. “We plan to formerly launch these platforms by end of June or early July for access by the public,” Ambassador Kalinoe said.

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PNG Business News - June 01, 2021

New Casino to be Built in Port Moresby

Photo Credit: Paga Hill Development Company - PNG Ltd In accordance with the Marape-Basil government's Special Economic Zone concept, a new multi-million kina casino would be built in Port Moresby to encourage tourists and stimulate other economic activity. The National Gaming Control Board (NGCB) and the Paga Hill Development Corporation (PHDC) have agreed to create a K150 million entertainment complex that would feature a hotel, restaurants, retail malls, theatres, and a casino, among other things. The agreement was signed at the Stanley Hotel in Port Moresby by NGCB chairman Clemence Kanau and PHDC chief executive officer Gudmundur Fridriksson to clear the way for the development. According to Kanau, a casino has been on the Government's approved agenda for a long time, and this was a chance to finalize the deal with the developer, PHDC. He stated that Port Moresby would be home to the country's first casino, and he was pleased to report that the NGCB has been at the forefront of ensuring compliance with all legislation and criteria. He also stated that the NGCB will introduce lottery, bingo, online betting, and other gaming activities in order to increase income and stimulate economic activity, employment, and other prospects. Meanwhile, PHDC CEO Fridriksson stated that the project's first phase will cost about K150 million and would be managed by an international contractor. “The casino will focus on tourists, foreigners and the well-to-do population. We know that more than 300 tourist ships pass through PNG every year and we want to embrace the opportunity,” he said. “Once the casino facility is established, we are anticipating attracting 80 tourist ships within 18 months and that means more than $US250 million in 18 months. There will be opportunities to bolster small and medium enterprise (SME) and also showcase local produce.” According to Fridriksson, the casino will produce jobs both directly and indirectly through local subcontractors. Both Fridriksson and Kanau stated that this was an exciting period for PNG following the COVID-19-induced economic downturn.   Reference: Rai, Frank. Post-Courier (31 May 2021). “Deal For Casino Inked.”

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PNG Business News - June 01, 2021

Baker: Allow Agriculture and Manufacturing to Thrive

Photo Credit: Oxford Business Group   According to ANZ PNG managing director Mark Baker, the country's long-term survival rests on diversifying its economic base to allow agriculture and manufacturing to thrive. Baker stated that it will need increased investment in infrastructure, particularly roads and power. “The source of that significant investment can come from the economic benefits that major resources do bring,” he told The National. “The announcement of progress on Papua LNG is very welcome. “It will be important that all parties involved in the project reach an agreement early to allow the project to enter front end engineering and design (Feed) in 2022 and final investment decision (FID) in 2023. “This has the potential to make a significant and positive impact across the PNG economy from 2023 onwards.” Baker said that the Wafi-Golpu project has the potential to have a significant and good impact on the economy in general and Morobe in particular, "as well as strengthening international investor confidence." While foreign currency reserves have remained reasonably stable, he said the availability of foreign currencies to the market remained a challenge for PNG's import-dependent economy. “This was exacerbated by the extended shutdown at Porgera which is a major supplier of foreign currency to the market.” Governor Loi Bakani of the Bank of PNG (BPNG) has stated that the country's foreign reserves are at US$2.5 billion (K8.92bil). Foreign exchange inflows this year, according to Bakani, were mostly from overseas government borrowings, while outflows were mostly from overseas government debt repayments.   Reference: Luma, Dale. The National (27 May, 2021). “Expanding economy for agri, manufacturing vital”.

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PNG Business News - May 31, 2021

EITI Implementation in Papua New Guinea Helps Shape Policy in the PNG Mining and Petroleum Sectors

The publication of the PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative reports are meaningless if they do not give rise to critical policy debates for a robust mining and petroleum sector in Papua New Guinea, an official says. Head of PNGEITI National Secretariat Mr. Lucas Alkan told leaders at the 36th Australia Papua New Guinea Business Forum on Wednesday that EITI work in PNG is progressively helping to shape public policy discussions through EITI report recommendations, and open discussions within the PNGEITI Multi Stakeholder Group (MSG).    Papua New Guinea to date has published a total of seven (7) EITI country reports since the PNG Government signed up to join other 50 plus mineral resource rich countries in 2014 to implement the EITI Global best practice Standard.   To promote transparent and accountable conduct of business in the mining and petroleum industry the core function of EITI implementation is the publication of annual EITI country reports consistent with the requirements of the EITI Global Standard.  Mr. Alkan said those reports must form part of policy discourse in mining and petroleum sectors of the economy as opposed to collecting dust in the shelves.     “Producing EITI reports are meaningless if these reports do not give rise to critical policy and legislative reforms for better management of the sector, “he said. Mr. Alkan said important progress had been made since PNG’s first EITI report in 2015, providing greater transparency over revenue received by the government from the country’s mining and oil and gas industry. He said the PNG Government and resource owners receive maximum resource project benefits, with that EITI reporting process identifies revenue leakages to improve corruption perception which would in turn boost investor confidence.    “To improve the country’s investment climate, we have to be transparent in all forms of payments, starting with the negotiation process for development projects to how licenses are issued. “EITI is a platform that enables all stakeholders to work collaboratively and build trust to realise PNG’s vision for resources development,” Mr. Alkan added. “Some of the improvements and reforms arising from the work of EITI in PNG are that EITI; has been complementing other Government initiatives like the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and the Independent Commission Against Corruption Law (ICAC); through its first report, ensured that the Income Tax Act was amended to remove secrecy provisions in the Act to enable the IRC to disclose tax revenue data for EITI reports. provisions have been included in project MOAs and Agreements on benefits sharing arrangements for contract transparency; establishes a platform for better collaboration and open discussions between different stakeholders to build trust;  ensures a comprehensive report with available data covering the extractive sector that is now used as reference in debates, which is not the same some years back; Report outcomes have influenced the Government to embark on reforming policy and resource laws to strengthen government systems and to ensure fair share from the benefits derived from resource developments; is now making progress in comprehensively reporting at sub-national levels of government, beneficial ownership disclosure, and increase transparency in State Owned Entities. has forced the government to disclose quasi-fiscal data and taken steps to address opaque nature of some tax incentives such as the Infrastructure Tax Credits.  report recommendations have pushed the PNGEITI Secretariat and the Auditor General to work together to improve the quality of the financial data in the EITI reports. “In addition, a National Policy Framework on Transparency and Accountability was approved by Cabinet in 2018,” he said. Mr. Alkan said among the achievements made so far in EITI implementation in the country, the National Policy Framework on Transparency and Accountability has set the basis for the creation of EITI PNG as an independent administrative body to sustain its operation and the draft law is now being finalised.

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PNG Business News - May 26, 2021

Russia to Supply PNG with Vaccine

The Russian Federation has declared that it is happy and willing to supply the Sputnik V vaccine to Papua New Guinea. It said that once the pandemic is over, Prime Minister James Marape will be welcomed to Russia. The Russian government is negotiating with Papua New Guinea to create a reciprocal visa-waiver deal. This was said by Ludmila Vorobyova, Russian Federation's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, during an online symposium attended by leading Russian and Papua New Guinean academics, officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, lawmakers, and community leaders. The symposium was opened by Nicholai Miklouho-Maclay, a descendant of the world-famous explorer of the same name, founder and director of the Miklouho-Maclay Foundation, and head of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Research Centre for South Pacific and South-East Asia, Australia and Oceania Institute of Oriental Studies. He thanked the symposium attendees for their contributions to the development and deepening of Russia-Papua New Guinea ties. “We aim for comprehensive cooperation within a whole range of projects which can be implemented in spite of pandemic,” Vorobyova said. “We have a unique opportunity to hold dialogue which we hope to continue our projects, considering the planned visits of the Prime Minister of PNG, as well as our cooperation in healthcare, humanitarian and cultural spheres. The Russian Federation is open for cooperation to deliver the Sputnik V vaccine and we need to strengthen bilateral commercial, economic, cultural, scientific, educational and humanitarian cooperation.” She expressed the expectation that Prime Minister James Marape would be able to visit Russia as soon as the situation permits. Ms Vorobyova suggested that the parties sign a memorandum of understanding on trade and investment, as well as a visa-waiver deal. On behalf of Marape and the government, Northern Governor Gary Juffa expressed willingness to work with Russia in a variety of fields. Russia, he said, has enormous molecular, historical, and cultural diversity, similar to PNG. “We are happy to welcome investors from Russia to cooperate and develop bilateral relations,” Juffa said. “Our motto is “friend to all and foe to no one. We are friends to all nations and we are trying to use this ideology in our cooperation with other countries.” As soon as all COVID constraints are lifted, Sir Peter Barter, president of the Melanesian Tourist Services tour agency, said he is happy to host Russian visitors and support the Miklouho-Maclay Foundation's mission.   Reference: Post-Courier (24 May 2021). “Russia set to supply PNG With Vaccine.”

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PNG Business News - May 26, 2021

Trafigura Receives Approval From ICCC

Trafigura Group Ltd has received approval from the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) for its planned acquisition of an additional interest in Puma Energy Group Ltd. Puma is now controlled by Trafigura, which owns the majority of the company, and will have a majority stake in Puma after the takeover. While Trafigura and Puma were both private entities registered in Singapore, the parties applied to the ICCC for approval, according to ICCC commissioner and chief executive officer Paulus Ain. This was due to Puma's three wholly-owned subsidiaries in Papua New Guinea, Puma Energy Bunkering PNG Ltd, Puma Energy PNG Ltd, and Puma Energy PNG Refining Ltd. Oil refining or refinery at Napa Napa, wholesale and retail distribution of refined petroleum goods, liquefied petroleum gas, and bitumen production are also part of the activities in PNG. Trafigura also provides significant inputs to Puma's refining and wholesale businesses, both abroad and in PNG, under a long-term supply agreement. “The proposed acquisition will only result in the change of ownership and controlling interest within Puma,” Ain said. “Hence, this would not have any serious competition effects on the overall structure of the markets in PNG, if any. Based on available information the ICCC wishes to inform all concerned parties that the ICCC is satisfied that the proposed acquisition of further interests in Puma by Trafigura will not have, and will not be likely to have, the effect of substantially lessening competition in any market(s) in PNG. The ICCC, therefore, has granted clearance to Trafigura to proceed with its proposal to acquire a further interest in Puma.”   Reference: The National. 24 May 2021. “Trafigura Group given clearance”.

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PNG Business News - May 26, 2021

Tom: NFA and Fisheries Department Working on Two Ventures

Photo credit: Loop PNG (2020) Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Dr Lino Tom says the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) and the Fisheries and Marine Resources Department are working on two main fishery ventures in Morobe and Madang. “The Voco Point facility will cost about K100 million,” he revealed. “Funding for the project is ready. We are just waiting for the final business plan to be completed and other necessary requirements before the project go on tender in August. “Tender for the Wagang fisheries wharf feasibility studies will be awarded soon while the Pacific Maritime Industrial Zone (PMIZ) project in Madang has been given a ministerial economic committee approval and should start any time after the Treasury approved the loan.” Tom, who recently visited Lae, Morobe, said that the Voco Point project will serve as a fishery centre for local fish farmers. “Fishery products in the province will be brought to this facility and, from here, it will facilitate the trade,” he explained. The NFA and department intend to develop Voco Point as the first such project in the region, with similar projects planned in other maritime provinces. “The building of such facilities will give much-needed chances for local fish farmers (both in-land and coastal) to market their fishery products and generate income,” he added. NFA managing director John Kasu also said that jetties will be constructed in the immediate future in Huon Gulf, Finschhafen, and Tewae-Siassi to assist local fish farmers.   Reference:  The National (24 May 2021). “Multi-million kina fishery projects set for Morobe, Madang”.

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PNG Business News - May 26, 2021

Toroama: Bougainville Must Achieve Independence In The Next Four Years

President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, Ishmael Toroama, stated that Bougainville must achieve independence over the next four years, with members of the independent state's parliament being elected by June 2025. This comment was made by President Toroama as he explained the ABG's official stance as Bougainville starts the first post-referendum consultations with the international community. President Ishmael Toroama and Prime Minister James Marape recently met with their respective consultation teams to discuss Bougainville's political future. Following the overwhelming result of the Referendum in 2019, in which 97.7% of Bougainvilleans voted in favour of separation from PNG, the two governments are meeting to negotiate on the results, as mandated by the Bougainville Peace Agreement and Part XIV of the National Constitution. The systematic consultation process started just 5 months ago, on January 11, when both governments signed the Joint Communique on the Bougainville Referendum Outcome. “When both governments signed the Bougainville Peace Agreement in August 2001, we committed ourselves to a “deferred 15-year referendum” period.” President Toroama said. “This was to allow time to our people, on both sides, to heal the wounds of the conflict, and ponder over what we need to find as a final solution for Bougainville and Papua New Guinea,” President Toroama added. “For those who fought for independence we wanted independence at that time of our negotiations over the Bougainville Peace Agreement; but in all fairness to our people, we were prepared to wait 15 years, to allow our them to have their say, through a free and fair referendum vote, at some later stage,” he said. President Toroama stated that both governments have worked together in good faith for the past 20 years to enact the BPA with the expectation that a referendum will be held. In understanding the referendum results, President Toroama stated that Bougainvilleans have clearly opposed greater autonomy, having already existed, observed, served, and witnessed the slow development of autonomy under the existing Bougainville Peace Agreement arrangements for the past 16 years. He stated that autonomy, under current or future arrangements short of independence, is not a choice for Bougainville's solution. “All we have done in the last 20 years, whether in the weapons disposal or autonomy space, were intended to bring us closer to this day, when we should consult over the outcome of the referendum, and reach an agreement on the future of Bougainville,” President Toroama said. “Our position on the future political status of Bougainville is clear and that is independence,” President Toroama said. References: Autonomous Bougainville Government Website (18 May 2021). “Toroama Outlines ABG Position.” Autonomous Bougainville Government Website (18 May 2021). “PM Marape at Joint Consultations.” RNZ (19 May 2021). “Bougainville's president seeks independence by 2025”.

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PNG Business News - May 26, 2021

NEC Approves Fisheries Strategic Plan 2021-2030

The PNG Fisheries Strategic Plan 2021-2030 was recently approved by the National Executive Council for the next ten years. It lays out the Strategic Road Map and Vision for an internationally dynamic, equitable, and sustainable broad-based fisheries market and industry. PNG Fisheries Strategic Plan 2021-2030, according to Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP, has implemented and matched its sustainability and growth plans to the Government's policy guidelines, Vision 2050, PNG Development Strategic Plan 2010-2030, and the Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP). “The Plan is intent on taking PNG’s fisheries  sector forward  by  improving  the  status quo to a state where it will resonate with the Government’s high-level strategic agenda to  ‘Take Back PNG’ and to specifically respond to our shared vision to realize equitable benefits for our people. “The evolution of such policy directions over the last 12 months has culminated to two high-level  strategic  pieces of  work  at  hand. These  are  the  project  on  creating  a Fisheries  Commercial  Entity  to  be  responsible  for  the  Government’s commercial interests as  approved  by  Cabinet  and  the  National  Fisheries  Board  decision  to formulate a 10-year Fisheries Strategic Plan,” said Prime Minister Marape. He said that transitioning the fisheries sector from an artisanal and informal to a commercial state, one that provides formal jobs and cash income earning opportunities for people, has been extremely difficult. This is because fish and aquatic resources, which live in oceans that stretch through international waters, are affected by natural phenomena such as tides, which affect their migratory behaviour. This is especially true of the tuna stock, which cannot be domesticated in Papua New Guinean waters. The NEC, according to Prime Minister Marape, has also acknowledged that supply dynamics in the tuna stock have necessitated regional countries entering into governance regimes that require all of them to handle moving stock across their borders independently. “Commercialization and strategy together with sustainable management of the fishery resources going  forward  will  be  necessities and  requirements  to  take  into consideration  under  such  regional interdependent  considerations,”  Prime  Minister Marape said. As a result, the strategic plan is PNG's response to these regional and national growth concerns. For this Government and their people, putting in place the fundamental structural building blocks, with a strong balance of policy prescriptions and encouraging political measures, is a must in the domestic economy of the country. As a solution to the emerging threats, the National Fisheries Board and the National Fisheries Authority have been working on developing a conceptual road map over the last few months. “Therefore, the 10-year Fisheries Strategic Plan is aimed at guiding the Government’s development intentions for the sector to invest smartly to awaken and consolidate the latent commercial and socially inclusive potential of the fisheries sector, whilst at the same time, position the State’s body, the National Fisheries Authority to purposefully perform its mandated functions in overseeing the governance and management of the development of the sector going forward,” said Prime Minister Marape. The strategic plan was developed through a consultative process with provinces and stakeholders, who examined the industry's success over the previous two decades and established the major roadblocks to development. It suggests a growth path map take advantage of the prospects. It also recommends a set of strategic supporting measures aimed at repositioning the industry to not only adapt to the Government's vision, but also to consolidate the industry's diverse operating infrastructure in order to grow the sector into a large, broad-based, diversified, and value-adding industry that is globally competitive and domestically inclusive. Reference: Papua New Guinea Press Release (18 February 2021). “NEC Endorses National Strategic Plan 2021-2030”. 

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PNG Business News - May 26, 2021

Water PNG to Build K419 Million Water Supply Plant

Water PNG will build a new K419 million water supply plant to meet Port Moresby's growing water demand and stability. Bunu, a planned 50Mld (millions of litres per day) water supply project in Central, is located 23 kilometres northwest of Port Moresby. According to a statement from Water PNG, the extension will be enough to satisfy the city's needs until 2034. The site was recently visited by State Enterprises Minister William Duma, Treasurer Ian Ling Stuckey, and Water PNG authorities. Bunu has been described as a potential alternative water supply to the existing Sirinumu Dam, which is located on the Sogeri plateau. PNG Dams, a subsidiary of Kumul Consolidated Holdings Ltd, owns the Sirinumu dam (KCHL). The raw water flows in a cascading pattern to PNG Power's Rouna Hydroelectric scheme before being treated and distributed to the city by Water PNG's raw water mains. Bunu's growth is political. For starters, as a result of PNG Power's repair programs and related matters, city residents will no longer face water shortages and problems such as water rationing and partial shutdowns. The location is also near the confluence of the Laloki and Brown rivers, where water is plentiful even during droughts. Water PNG is mobilizing capital before going on to the deployment process, following approval from KCH earlier. China Jiangsu International, the project's contractor, will mobilize staff, conduct a project assessment, conduct geotechnical investigations, prepare a preliminary detailed plan, and procure project materials.

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PNG Business News - May 21, 2021

ROGER KEWA AVINAGA: 5 May 1970 - 16 May 2021

Roger Kewa Avinaga died Sunday 16th May 2021 just ten days after the passing away of his beloved wife - Priscilla Nase Avinaga. By any measure, this was a very sad and tragic occurrence for the Avinaga family, but we hope that Roger and Priscilla will rest in peace together. Roger was born at Keakasa Village, Okapa in the Eastern Highlands Province, a mountainous area within the Highlands of Papua New Guinea north of the Gulf Province. After completion of his secondary education, Roger graduated with honours in International Relations from the University of Papua New Guinea, and subsequently completed a Master’s (LLM) in Petroleum Finance and Taxation at the University of Dundee, Scotland,  United Kingdom in 2003. Roger was a colleague and one of whom I was proud.  I first met him in 1998 when he joined the newly-formed Dept. of Petroleum and Energy, when petroleum functions were split from mining.  He was a young Petroleum Economics Analyst in the Petroleum Division, the core of the new Department. I had just stepped down from being the Director of the Division and had started work as an Adviser to my successor-Director funded by the World Bank. Roger worked in what we loosely called the policy area where the overall deal between the petroleum industry and government is formulated, and if managed well, constantly modified to optimise the outcomes for the Nation.  He ably took to his duties as I later reflect - always with a cheer.  It was with that very same cheer that I last saw him in the Waterfront supermarket in Port Moresby several weeks ago. We had a long discussion on the petroleum policies for PNG with me grumbling about the current volatility and uncertainty of petroleum policy after decades of sound stability.  As if often the case, our discussions become all the more intense, when I threw the matter of domestic utilisation of oil and gas into the dialogue, saying that we should be more proactive in encouraging the domestic use of our oil and gas in PNG for our development needs than always exporting it to other Nations. Roger patiently listened to my points as only a professional colleague could and would, and smiled: he shared with me, a passion to get the very best out of the petroleum industry of PNG and for Government to manage and regulated the companies firmly and fairly, and with competence. In recent times, he had like me worked for the World Bank as a consultant from time to time in their Port Moresby office engaged in the economic analysis of petroleum policy options. More lately, he had gathered some fame for writing voluminous and excellently-researched articles on petroleum issues and policy for the online and print magazine - PNG Business News. After all it, was Roger who had diligently compiled the Petroleum Policy Handbook of the Government in 2005; he was the reference point and one of very few technocrats who really understood the swath, array and complex interaction of the economic and fiscal terms of petroleum exploration, development and production well.  The distinguishing feature of Roger was his ability to write and write well, and that comes only with practice as one writes more and more.  He had a distinguished record of writing many speeches whilst in the Dept of Petroleum and Energy and travelled widely to deliver some of his own speeches in the days when PNG was seeking investment in the first large-scale development of natural gas. He was part of the campaign and advertisement to the world in the early 2000s that PNG as open for business and with more than ten-years of uninterrupted oil production that PNG was ready to receive investment in the development of it substantial gas reserves.  Alas, Roger will be hard to replace; his knowledge of the PNG petroleum industry and its policy framework was intimate with over twenty-years of deep involvement in its formulation and workings. I admired how he was not afraid to take up to ten-pages in PNG Business News to get his message across, not that he was verbose or rambling, but that he truly desired his lay-readers to have a proper understanding of the workings of the petroleum industry for which he applied great patience to explain every nuance of the business. Our most sincere condolences go to his family, and I am sure that he and his wife will be most sorely missed. For the Nation, we have lost one of our most competent petroleum professionals who had so much more to do in his new role as a feature writer for PNG Business News on petroleum business, policy and economics. May He Rest In Peace Prepared by Michael McWalter, OL, CS, former Director and Adviser, Petroleum Division, Dept of Petroleum and Energy

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PNG Business News - May 18, 2021

Construction of Mendi Airport at 60%

The redevelopment of the Mendi airport is underway, according to the National Airports Corporation Limited, and is 60 per cent complete. The project is part of the Civil Aviation Development Investment Program, or CADIP, which funds a range of impact aviation programs. Following a media story, the National Airports Corporation clarified the status of the airport's growth. According to the study, work is still going on, with 60 per cent of the physical improvements made so far. The Aviation State Agency has stated that there are no landowner disputes and that the airport redevelopment is taking place within the designated aerodrome district. Sinohydro Corporation Limited, the construction company, is currently addressing non-conformance problems with the consistency of materials used previously on the runway pavement. Installation of a security fence, construction of an H65 standard house for the NAC Airport Safety Officer, construction of a tractor shed, and construction of the ASO's office are among the other projects that have been completed to date. The new terminal building is now under renovation, with paving work scheduled to be finished in September. The upgrade project at Mendi Airport is worth K27.7 million.

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PNG Business News - May 18, 2021

PNGEITI Congratulates Richard Kassman as New Industry Chamber President

Richard Kassman was recently named President of the Papua New Guinea Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, and the PNG Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (PNGEITI) congratulated him. He recently took over for Gerea Aopi, who had served in the role admirably. Richard Kassman is the Director of Corporate Affairs, Total E&P PNG Limited, and was vice president of the Chamber at the time of his appointment. He is an active member of the PNGEITI Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) and was vice president of the Chamber at the time of his appointment. Kassman is a member of the PNGEITI MSG, which oversees the Global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) implementation in Papua New Guinea. “As we all know Kassman is a dedicated professional with active engagement in both the Government and private sector in Papua New Guinea with deep commitment within those various roles he plays,” PNGEITI Head of National Secretariat Lucas Alkan said.  “His insights and contributions to the advancement of EITI reporting in this country have resonated with great value and the PNGEITI MSG is privileged to have him on board.   “At this juncture, we acknowledge his invaluable commitment and contribution over the years since PNG commenced implementing the EITI 7 years ago. Now as elected President of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, we look forward to a heightened working relation with regards to the role that the industry plays as the key stakeholder in implementing and maintaining PNG’s position as an EITI affiliated member country.” Kassman's expertise, according to Alkan, will significantly enhance the work of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum in representing the EITI in PNG, as well as giving the cause more visibility by building on the momentum of the campaign, which has generated many financial year reports from the extractive sector.

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PNG Business News - May 18, 2021

Roger Kewa Avinaga, 51

ROGER KEWA AVINAGA, who supplied many valuable insights on Papua New Guinea’s resources industry as the main columnist for PNG Business News since our first issue, passed away 15 May 2021 at Port Moresby General Hospital. He had just turned 51. Born 5 May 1970 in Keakasa Village, Okapa in the Eastern Highlands, Roger was still in mourning for his wife Priscilla Nase Avinaga, who had passed away just 10 days prior. His family said Roger was ill for a short while before his passing. The haus krai program for Priscilla was still in progress when the Avinaga family lost Roger. They have now organized a combined haus krai at Rogen Wato Avinaga’s residence at Kevaru Place, Angau Drive in Boroko. The program will officially start at 1 p.m. on 19 May 2021, as the family urged everyone to observe COVID-19 protocols. Roger was an accomplished corporate and government executive and board director, having worked in the oil, gas, mining and energy sectors for over 20 years.  He worked for The World Bank Group as a Resource Economist/Modeller, developing his in-depth knowledge, understanding, and experience of business/commercial environment, financing, project procurement and management, economic/financial modelling, fiscal and regulatory regimes. He acquired these skills through dealing with oil/mining companies, investors, banks/lenders, multilateral institutions, governments and key stakeholders, in exploring new business opportunities, creating partnerships, joint ventures, farm-out, project approval process and initiation of major resource projects. Roger was highly skilled in developing investment strategies, business plans and strategies, financing proposals, economic/financial modelling and assessment of projects, negotiating project agreements/contracts, managing risks, and writing government policies. He had demonstrable understanding of different segments of the industries from the upstream exploration and development, midstream, and downstream sector. Roger began his career with the PNG Department of Petroleum and Energy as Senior Petroleum Economist, where he worked his way to become Assistant Director-Petroleum Policy and Acting Director Petroleum Division. After serving 12 years, he left to join state-owned company Petromin PNG Holdings in 2008 as Manager for Commercial and Strategic Planning, where he was responsible for establishing the commercial and business development division. At Petromin, Roger also held several key positions, including Head of Commercial, New Ventures and Business Development. Roger earned his Masters of Law (LLM) in Petroleum Finance and Taxation from the University of Dundee in the United Kingdom in 2003. He graduated Bachelor of Honours (International Relations), Second Class, Upper Level at the University of PNG in 1996, and finished his Bachelor of Arts at University of PNG in 1993. PNG Business News deeply mourns Roger’s passing. We extend our condolences to his bereaved family and request our readers to pray for strength and comfort for the Avinagas during this time. For more information, please call Frexie Maneh at 74540145 or Kevu Sevendi at 74888384.

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