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PNG Business News - June 13, 2022

West Sepik Airport To Accept International Flights

Photo credit: Asian Development Bank International flights will begin shortly at the new K28.8 million Vanimo Airport in West Sepik Province. This new facility was recently inaugurated. The government and the Asian Development Bank are contributing K70.1 million to renovate the airport terminal, runway, and other infrastructure (ADB). The new Vanimo terminal and its facilities anticipate hosting international flights in the future, with West Sepik Province being PNG's nearest gateway to Asia. The major goal of the Vanimo airport improvement project, according to NAC managing director Rex Kiponge, is to assure safety and security compliance as well as operational certification to ICAO standards and recommended practises as well as the PNG Civil Aviation Safety Authority Rules Part 139. “Today is special, because it marks the closing of a chapter and the beginning of a new one for Vanimo, the people of West Sepik Province and Papua New Guinea. “For too long, the people of West Sepik and air traveling passengers, transitioning at Vanimo Airport were using a smaller terminal to process your flight check in, collect your boarding passes and then board your flight,” Mr Kiponge said. He explained that the original Vanimo Airport had a runway strip length of 1660 metres, which was sufficient for smaller planes, but that as of November 2020, the new expanded runway length was increased to 1960 metres, allowing it to accommodate larger planes with additional seating capacity. Mr Kiponge said the new terminal building at Vanimo Airport was built to NAC's standard Type B design, has more room than the previous one, and can handle up to 100 passengers at the same time. “Unlike the previous old terminal building, the new terminal is modern looking, with facilities to give you are more comfortable experience as you enter. “These include; departure and arrival lounges; counters for passenger Check-Ins; a conveyor belt for baggage at the arrival lounge; screening machines for baggage; toilet facilities; a kiosk, its fully air-conditioned and other services,” he said. Mr Kiponge urged the inhabitants of West Sepik Province and the travelling public to look after the new terminal building and its facilities, as it is an asset for the province in terms of attracting additional development, considering Vanimo's proximity to the Indonesian border. “Vanimo Airport is located as our border airport, sharing international border with Indonesia. “Therefore, will continue to work with our border control authorities such as PNGDF, PNG Customs and related agencies with the focus on improving our border control efforts, international trade and compliance in the best interest of our people,” he said.   Reference: Kamus, Maxine. Post-Courier (7 June 2022). “New Airport Gateway To Asia”. 

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PNG Business News - June 13, 2022

PNG Economy Remains "Uncertain"

Businesses of Papua New Guinea’s private sector have expressed mixed views regarding the country’s economic outlook. The market prognosis, according to Kina Asset Management Ltd, remains unpredictable. In the company's recently issued 2021 annual report, board chairman Sir Rabbie Namaliu emphasised this. “In my last report to shareholders, I noted that the company was cautiously optimistic about the future,” he said. “In the US and parts of Europe, accommodative monetary and fiscal policies, high Covid-19 (Coronavirus) vaccination rates, and the relaxation of restrictions on economic activity have all combined to facilitate a strong economic recovery. “In Australia, federal and state governments, who had (then) been successful in controlling the spread of the virus, were more cautious than their counterparts in the US and Europe in easing restrictions. “In other parts of the world, notably India and some other developing countries, the pandemic had only just begun to seriously affect the population. “At the time of writing, the outlook for markets is again uncertain. “As many countries are removing restrictions on economic activity, outbreaks of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 have added to supply chain disruptions, which have in turn added to rises in the prices of a wide range of commodities and goods. “Inflation outcomes have been much higher, more persistent, and more broadly based, and central banks globally have begun to review monetary policy settings. The conflict in Eastern Europe – in addition to the terrible human cost – has added to this uncertainty.” Rio Fiocco, head of the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry (POMCCI), agreed, saying the existing economic climate had no benefit. Businesses were anticipated to wait for a final investment decision (FID) on the Papua LNG (liquefied natural gas) project to advance into the construction phase, according to Fiocco. “It is likely to remain the same as it is now for at least the next 12 to 18 months,” he said. “Businesses don’t see any real upside until the final investment decision is made on the Papua LNG project and start construction phase which is likely to be around 2024.” Fiocco went on to say that any new projects in Port Moresby were vital since they offered new job prospects during the building period and later on. The country's economy, according to Nambawan Super Chairman Reginald Monagi, is poised to rebound following the obstacles posed by the Covid-19.   Reference: Luma, Dale and Mauludu, Shirley. The National (3 June 2022). “Economic future ‘uncertain’”.

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PNG Business News - June 08, 2022

Government funds completion of Lae-Nadzab Road, Nadzab International Airport, starts Nadzab Satellite City

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says his Government has paid off K400 million to complete the Yalu Bridge-Nadzab section of the Highlands Highway, paid off outstanding debts to contractors on the 9-Mile to Yalu Bridge section, and paid off the outstanding Papua New Guinea counterpart funding of the Nadzab International Airport. Roadworks come under the Marape Government’s signature ‘Connect PNG Programme’ for which K2.4 billion has been expended over the last three years on roads throughout the country: K1 billion over last two years and K1.4 billion this year. The Marape Government, through Deputy Prime Minister and Lands Minister Hon. John Rosso, has also set in motion plans for the building of Nadzab Satellite City to complement the major developments that will take place in Morobe over the next couple of years. “The first section of the Lae-Nadzab Road from Bugandi to 9-Mile was dogged with controversy of inflated prices about 10 years ago,” he said. “After the Bugandi to 9-Mile section was completed, work on the next section from 9-Mile to Yalu Bridge was on an ad hoc basis, which saw the road deteriorate to such an extent that it became a national disgrace. “It was only after my Government came into office, in May 2019, that we were able to retire all outstanding debts to contractors for the 9-Mile to Yalu Bridge section to be completed. “Cabinet in January this year approved awarding of more than K1.4 billion of new road contracts throughout Papua New Guinea. “Among these is K400 million for the Yalu Bridge-Nadzab four-lane highway. “For more than 10 years, the people of Lae, Morobe and PNG have been complaining about the bad roads between Lae and Nadzab. “I am well aware of your cries as I, on my many visits to Lae over the years, have driven through the mud and potholes. “I can assure you that you will have one of the best roads in the country when the Yalu Bridge-Nadzab section is completed. “People will be able to travel in comfort from Lae to Nadzab, and then get on an international flight, once the new international airport is completed. “This is the same story with the Japanese-funded Nadzab International Airport: The project was signed for in 2015 but never got off the ground because the O’Neill regime never provided the required counterpart funding. “It was only after my Government came into office in May 2019 that we provided the necessary funding for work to start on the airport.” PM Marape said Nadzab, Lae and Morobe would boom with sealing of Yalu Bridge-Nadzab Section of the Highlands Highway, opening of Nadzab International Airport and building of Nadzab Satellite City. The new-look airport, funded by the Japanese Government in partnership with the PNG Government, is nearing completion. PM Marape said the new satellite city, an initiative of the National Government and Morobe Provincial Government, would transform Lae and Morobe. He commended DPM Rosso for being in the forefront of this exciting project for Lae, Morobe and PNG. “It is a timely intervention with the giant Wafi-Golpu Mine soon to come on stream,” he said. “I welcome this satellite city development, where the private sector and super funds, will be major drivers in partnership with the State. “Once completed, it will complement Nadzab International Airport, and will be timely with Wafi-Golpu and the major agri-business developments in the Markham Valley of Morobe and Ramu Valley of Madang. “It will also provide home ownership for hundreds of Papua New Guineans.”

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PNG Business News - June 06, 2022

IPA: Opening of International Borders a Relief

Photo credit: Loop PNG - Clarence Hoot  In the fourth edition of the Investment Promotion Authority's opportunity newsletter, published in April, managing director Clarence Hoot stated that it is a comfort to see that international borders have reopened. “As we start receiving international visitors into the country whether it be in tourism, business, or even fellow citizens returning home, IPA would like to warmly welcome them.” He stated that IPA has worked to improve the regulatory environment in order to guarantee that the economy is favourable to corporate growth and foreign direct investment. “In this regard, I am happy to announce that the Parliament had passed two Bills submitted by the IPA. “The Bills include the Companies (Amendment) Act 2021 and the Business Groups (Amendment) Act 2021. The proposed Investment Promotion (Amendment) Act and the new Association Incorporation Bill are yet to be passed. The Investment Promotion Act of 1992 regulates the operation of the Investment Promotion Authority and the review is aimed at achieving the Government’s policy objective of protecting local MSMEs,” he said. The proposed modifications, according to Mr Hoot, attempt to find a compromise between allowing PNG to stay open to foreign investment while also improving mechanisms for evaluating the cottage business activities list, which is a reserved activities list. As part of the proposed revisions, he added, a new list dubbed prohibited activities would be implemented.   Reference: Post-Courier (1 June 2022). “IPA Relieved To See International Borders Opening”.

Business

PNG Business News - June 06, 2022

PM Marape meets new Australian PM Anthony Albanese

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has become one of the first world leaders to have a meeting with new Australian Prime Minister Hon. Anthony Albanese recently. PM Marape in Port Moresby had a 15-minute zoom meeting with PM Albanese in Canberra on his first day in office since the Australian Labour Party (ALP) won the national elections in Australia on May 21. This follows on from a meeting between PM Marape and a representative of PM Alabanese, on the sidelines of the Australia-Papua New Guinea Business Forum in Brisbane last Tuesday, while he was attending another meeting in Japan. The ALP has been a strong supporter of PNG over the years, and through then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975, granted Independence to PNG. PM Alabanese’s Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Richard Marles, is a good friend of PNG. PM Marape invited PM Albanese to visit PNG after the elections and the Australian Prime Minister reciprocated by inviting him to visit Australia. He thanked Australia for its continued support of PNG over the years, and pledged his support to PM Albanese in the Pacific Islands Forum. PM Albanese assured PM Marape that Australia would continue to be “a long-term friend of PNG”. “Let me thank you for Australia’s support to us thus far, not only since 1975, but more importantly over the last two years,” PM Marape told PM Albanese. “Your predecessor (Hon. Scott Morrison), the Government and people of Australia have given us good support since COVID-19 came in and affected our economy. “When we were trying to restructure our budgeting, on infrastructure needs, there was a lot of help from Australia.” “We don’t take this help for granted: You have your own needs but you reached out to us in times of need. “We sincerely appreciate this help.” PM Marape thanked PM Albanese for Australia’s support of the 2022 General Election by way of printing ballot papers, and much-needed air logistics support through the Australian Defence Force. PM Abanese said: “Democracy can be difficult but it is the best system in the world. “I wish you all the best and I look forward to further developing our relationship. “Australia, of course, can be relied upon to be a long-term friend of Papua New Guinea.”   Article courtesy of PM JAMES MARAPE News Page

Business

PNG Business News - June 06, 2022

Employees Tax Bills Lowered

According to the Internal Revenue Commission, all workers earning at least K673 per fortnight would have their tax bills lowered by K42 per fortnight starting tomorrow (IRC). Commissioner-general Sam Koim stated in a public notice that the Government recently authorized an amendment to the Income Tax (Salary or Wages Tax) (Rates) Act, temporarily raising the tax-free threshold for salary and wages tax (SWT) from K12,500 to K17,500. Workers earning more than K12,500 per year will no longer be required to pay 22 toea for each kina over K12,500 but less than K17,500. Because of the increased threshold, the 22t per kina tax is only paid after the yearly income surpasses K17,500. In fortnightly terms, this means that all workers earning at least K673 per fortnight will see a K42 reduction in their tax payment. The dividend of K42 per fortnight is estimated to help more than 200,000 workers. An additional 20,000 workers earning between K480 and K673 per fortnight will be exempt from paying income tax during this time. People earning less than K480 per week pay no income tax, thus their tax obligations cannot be decreased. The rise in the tax-free threshold is only in effect from tomorrow until December 31, 2022. The tax-free threshold will reset to K12,500 on January 1, 2023.   Reference: The National (11 May 2022). “Govt raises tax threshold”.

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PNG Business News - June 06, 2022

PM Marape says PNG focused on strengthening economic ties with China

Photo: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and PM Marape Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says Papua New Guinea is focused on strengthening economic relationships with China, particularly in downstream processing of raw materials for export. He said this on Friday (June 3 2022) after a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister, His Excellency Wang Yi, the third-highest person in the Chinese Cabinet who was on an eight-nation tour of the Pacific including PNG. The Chinese Foreign Minister had earlier met with PNG Foreign Minister, Hon. Soroi Eoe, where a number of agreements were signed and a plaque unveiled. Officials from both countries are now in the process of putting together China-PNG free trade arrangements. PM Marape said China was one of the biggest importers of PNG produce with PNG’s exports to China being bigger than China’s exports to PNG. “We export more to China that we import from China,” he said. “That cannot be ignored and we have to give acknowledgement where it is due, for them to pick up more of our exports, especially primary produce. “My meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister was more focused on economic relationships between our two countries. “I gave him an assurance that our relationship is static and fixed, but I want to expand, especially in our economic relationship.” PM Marape said PNG wanted to move strongly in the area of downstream processing. “We want to add value to the produce of our country, create more jobs in that space,” he said. “This is exactly the same message I gave when I went to Brisbane a week ago and invited Australian businesses to partner us in the downstream sector. “We want to export processed coffee, processed cocoa, processed coconut, processed timber, processed oil and gas, processed mineral products – that’s the way my generation of leaders is shifting to move the country for the next 10 years. “I told the Chinese Foreign Minister that PNG, over the next 10 years, is shifting towards downstream processing of our natural resources. “Just like I informed the Australian marketplace, and Australian businesses, I asked the Chinese Foreign Minister to inform Chinese businesses about our focus on downstream processing. “This is so that serious Chinese investors can come and partner local businesses in fisheries, timber, agriculture and others so that our finished products can be exported to the Chinese market.”   Article courtesy of PM JAMES MARAPE News Page

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PNG Business News - June 06, 2022

PM Marape says China-PNG relations remain ‘solid and strong’

Photo: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meeting with PM Marape on Friday Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says China-Papua New Guinea relations remain “solid and strong” since in 1976 when diplomatic relations between the two countries were forged. He said this on Friday (June 3 2022) after a meeting with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Port Moresby. PM Marape said PNG was privileged to have received Minister Wang Yi, one of the highest-ranking Ministers in China. “Today, as we speak, China-PNG relationship is as solid and strong as ever since 1976,” he said. “We’ve always upheld the One China Policy long before the present geo-politics that is taking place. “In 1975-1976, through the wisdom of the fathers of our country, our foreign policy has always been ‘friends to all, enemies to none’. “In respect to our bilateral relations with China, we’ve always upheld the One China Policy outlook, something that I reechoed to the Chinese Foreign Minister during our meeting. “Our foreign policy has not changed and will not change into the future.” PM Marape said China-PNG relations could not be compromised or sabotaged “as it is a very-important relationship”. He said Minister Wang Yi had extended an invitation to him to visit China, and added that the invitation would be taken up, after formation of the new government in August. PM Marape said it was unfortunate that leaders, such as former prime minister Peter O’Neill, felt that he should not be meeting the Chinese Foreign Minister. “Contrary to what O’Neill is saying, this country is still functional, and there is an Executive Government in place,” he said. “The work of the Executive Government continues and we continue to promote our national interest.” PM Marape said PNG was very fortunate to have good relations with world economic powerhouses such as the US, China, Japan and others. “Papua New Guinea’s foreign relationships will be no more about politics, and security, as we will move big time into the economic space,” he said. “Other nations who want to have a good, vibrant relationship with us should pick the agenda of downstream processing of our natural resources.” PM Marape welcomed Minister Wang Yi’s visit and recalled his visit to China in February this year to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on behalf of Pacific Island Countries and his fruitful and friendly exchanges with Chinese leaders. He said PNG admired the remarkable achievements China had made in its development and appreciated that China had accomplished its goal of poverty alleviation as scheduled and enabled its people to live a better life. PM Marape thanked China for its great support to PNG in accelerating development, especially in infrastructure construction. He said the important consensus reached by the two sides was becoming a reality, and the two countries had established strong political relations and close economic and trade ties. The two sides agreed to enhance people-to-people and cultural exchanges and people-to-people connectivity.   Article courtesy of PM JAMES MARAPE News Page 

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PNG Business News - June 06, 2022

PM Marape welcomes outcomes of talks with China

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has welcomed the outcome of talks between Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister His Excellency Wang Yi and Papua New Guinea Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. Soroi Eoe in Port Moresby on Friday (June 3 2022). The talks follow on from the visit by PM Marape to China in February this year where he held discussions with his Chinese counterpart His Excellency Li Keqiang. “This expanded on from my understanding with the Chinese Prime Minister when I was in China,” PM Marape said. “For instance, in our fisheries, we’ve signed an MOU with China to enable our fisheries products to have access to the Chinese market. “All our agriculture produce can have access to the Chinese market. “It’s a big market – which is where my emphasis is. “We also have other exchanges, where we have PNG students going to China, and Chinese technical people coming to assist us.” The two Foreign Ministers on Friday agreed to seek greater synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Connect PNG Infrastructure Development Program 2020-2040, complete the feasibility study of the free trade agreement at an early date, and strengthen experience-sharing on the development of special economic zones. The two sides agreed to deepen cooperation in energy, fisheries, communications, health and other fields, and continue to well implement the China-Aided JUNCAO Technology and Upland Rice Technology Cooperation Project. The two sides will tap the potential of cooperation in fields such as law enforcement and at sub-national levels. Efforts will be made to strengthen downstream processing cooperation in agriculture, forestry and fisheries to help PNG speed up industrialization and enhance its capacity for self-driven development. After the talks, the two sides attended the signing ceremony of cooperation documents on pandemic response, disaster prevention and mitigation, and green development, among others. The two sides also witnessed the inauguration of the China-aided Center of Minimally Invasive Surgery in Port Moresby General Hospital, and jointly met the press and answered questions.   Article courtesy of PM JAMES MARAPE News Page 

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PNG Business News - June 03, 2022

PM Marape welcomes Chinese Foreign Minister

Photo: Chinese Foreign Minister H. E Wang Yi. Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says Papua New Guinea remains “friends to all and enemies to none” and this has been its stance since Independence in 1975 under first Prime Minister and founder of Pangu Pati Sir Michael Somare. He said this today (June 2 2022) when welcoming Chinese Foreign Minister, His Excellency Wang Yi, the third-highest person in the Chinese Cabinet, who is on an eight-nation tour of the Pacific. “PNG is ‘friends to all and enemies to none’ , as espoused in our foundational foreign policy outlook in 1975 under the Pangu Pati-led Government of Sir Michael Somare,” PM Marape said. “In 1976, Pangu, under the wisdom of Sir Michael, declared a One-China Policy long before the geo-politics of today. “The present PNG leadership will maintain this policy discourse. “China is the major buyer of our produce, and we will engage with them more in commerce and trade, as well as other aspects of our bilateral relationship going into the future.” PM Marape said China was the second-largest economy in the world and had always been a “very strategic and important bilateral partner with PNG”. “For the Chinese Foreign Minister to visit us is affirmation of the warm relationship and friendship between our two countries,” he said. “Papua New Guinea recognises China as a very-important bilateral partner in not just matters to government-to-government relationships, but more importantly, people-to-people relationships and business-to-business relationships. “China buys over 50 per cent of all the gas produced in our country, through PNG LNG, and have given an undertaking to buy additional gas that we produce from Papua LNG and possibly P’nyang. “China also imports most of our raw materials, and with PNG moving more into downstream processing, I look forward to them also buying our processed produce. “I look forward to meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister tomorrow (June 3 2022). “For him to visit us at this point in time is a reflection and gesture of his belief that PNG is an important country in the Indo-Pacific Region. “I welcome His Excellency, Wang Yi, back into the country as he has been here before.” Meanwhile, PM Marape said for Ialibu-Pangia MP Peter O’Neill to question the visit of the Chinese Foreign Minister, was very unbecoming of a former prime minister. “The former prime minister knows very well not to play politics with the visit of an international leader to our country,” he said. “The Chinese Foreign Minister is a leader of a very-important country. “For O’Neill to go against the visit is, in my view, childish and playing politics. “Instead of supporting the visit by the third most-powerful man in China, O’Neill continues to belittle Papua New Guinea’s international relationships, which is very bad. “The visit by the Chinese Foreign Minister has got nothing to do with politics, as he has visited other Pacific countries before PNG, and we appreciate the visit – however short it may be. “The Chinese Foreign Minister could have chosen not to visit PNG, however, he choose to visit us. “I, on behalf of all the people of PNG, am grateful for the visit and welcome him into the country.”

Business

PNG Business News - June 02, 2022

ABG Leaders Symposium crafts way forward for Independence

Photo credit: ABG Recently, the Autonomous Bougainville Government concluded a three-day Leaders Symposium at the Sharpe Memorial Youth Center in Arawa. Running under the theme of “Moving a resilient and responsible Bougainville towards Independence”, the Symposium provided the space for leaders to reflect on progress so far under the Bougainville Strategic Development Plan 2018-2022, and craft out independence-readiness priorities for the next five years. ABG President Hon. Ishmael Toroama, in his address to the Leaders Symposium, said that Bougainville is still in its transition phase and while he is in his second year of his Presidency, there are many notable changes already in motion. “As you all know, it is not just a political journey, but a social and economic one as well,” he said. “Most significant are the political consultations with PNG and the Constitutional Planning work that has taken Bougainville by storm.” The Symposium featured presentations from ABG Ministers in the Governance, Economic, Law and Justice, Infrastructure and Social sectors, reflecting progress achieved so far under the Bougainville Strategic Development Plan (2018-2022), and sharing plans developed towards independence-readiness for Bougainville. A highlight of the Symposium was the tabling of the long-term Bougainville Vision and Strategic Development Plan 2052 Framework that will set the direction for the Bougainville Independence Strategic Development Plan 2023-2027. “Whilst this government is engaged in the Bougainville Independence Mission we must also prepare a long term plan for the future. A future for an Independent Bougainville where peace prevails and our people are educated, healthy and have a high income (Gross National Product per capita),” Toroama said. “Through these ideals we must have a plan that encapsulates our development priorities from each sector. The Bougainville Vision and Strategic Development Plan 2052 is the pathway that we will utilize to achieving tangible development in each sector and improve the quality of life for our people.” President Toroama called on his Cabinet to continue to work together through their Ministries and Departments as Bougainville steps into a new chapter in its journey. “We are at a transitionary phase from autonomy to independence where we are creating a new chapter for Bougainville. “This requires us to be innovative and absolute in our commitment to Bougainville as we introduce new ideas, new ways of doing things and a new mindset that is focused on political independence that is complemented by socioeconomic growth,” he added. The Bougainville Vision and Strategic Development Plan 2052 will undergo further consultations with the people of Bougainville and other relevant stakeholders before it is launched in the final quarter of this year.    Article courtesy of ABG

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PNG Business News - May 30, 2022

Underdeveloped Projects To Bring In K200B, Says Marape

Prime Minister James Marape claims that undeveloped resource projects will deliver roughly K200 billion into the country's GDP. As a result, he urged investors to keep investing in the nation. Marape said this in Brisbane at the 37th Australia-Papua New Guinea Business Forum and Trade Expo. “I want to assure you all that despite our diversity of cultures, opinions, politics, etc…, our strong Christian and democratic values have kept our country functional to date and we will remain a robust democracy going into the future,” the Prime Minister told the forum. “PNG remains a good place for doing business. “Yes, I admit we have our fair share of problems, but we leaders of today are being responsible and are working to fix those weaknesses and deficiencies. “For instance, my Government passed the Independent Commission Against Corruption (Icac), the Whistleblowers Act and the Undisclosed Wealth Bill to assist the fight against corruption in our endeavour to build a stronger law-abiding economy. “If one LNG project construction and production can double the size of our economy from 2011 to 2018, think about what the other projects will do to my country Papua New Guinea? “We are working with Barrick and landowners to reopen the Porgera gold mine this year. “We have already signed an agreement with ExxonMobil to sequence P’nyang LNG construction after Papua LNG construction is complete around 2028, which will see eight consecutive years of construction dollar inflows from 2023 to 2032. “This will give PNG a four-train LNG production capacity up to the year 2060. “The mega gold and copper Wafi-Golpu project is almost near project negotiations. “We also have the smaller gas and mining fields that are being worked on as we speak. “These will all tilt the economic pendulum past the K200 billion mark within this decade.”   Reference: The National (26 May 2022). “Resource projects to bring K200bil, says Marape”.

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PNG Business News - May 30, 2022

Marape Says Australia Has Aided PNG’s Growth

Prime Minister James Marape claims that the Australian government's intervention to assist PNG with budgetary support for essential infrastructure has aided the government's expansionary economic goals. Marape said this in Brisbane at the 37th Australia-Papua New Guinea Business Forum and Trade Expo. “In case you did not see it that is why Bank South Pacific declared their highest profit in 2021, posting over a billion kina in a year when the Porgera mine was still closed, Wafi-Golpu had not started and both Papua LNG and P’nyang LNG constructions had not started yet,” the Prime Minister told the forum. “This shows that the use of our Government’s fiscal policies and effective operationalisation of our budget plans have kept the PNG economy functional. “To put numbers to our Government spending, our combined 2019, 2020 and 2021 budgets saw aggregate Government expenditures to the tune of K56 billion. “This kept our small, but the growing economy, lubricated with liquidity supplied from Government expenditures like Connect PNG, arrears and debt settlements, service improvement funds transferred to districts and provinces, record funding to health and education, paying our public services in time including clearing backlog of retirement funds are just some transactions that enabled financial life in our economy.” Despite being a developing nation, Marape claimed the country has done well in terms of economic growth throughout the years. "Despite our economy's sensitivity to global economic and health shocks, we did significantly better than other developing countries in the previous three years," he remarked. “Our inflation averaged under 5.5 per cent. “Our foreign reserves in Central Bank are the highest-ever since 1975 at K10 billion-plus. “Our budget and fiscal management is running congruent to reforms we are doing with International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and all bilateral partners like Australia and Japan.”   Reference: The National (26 May 2022). “PM: Aust’s intervention assisted Govt’s economic policies”.

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PNG Business News - May 30, 2022

PNG Outlook “Stable”

The outlook for Papua New Guinea has been changed from negative to stable by Standard and Poor's Global Ratings. The stable outlook is based on S&P's belief that fiscal consolidation efforts and measures contained in an International Monetary Fund programme would continue to decrease fiscal deficits and stabilise the country's debt burden over the next year. According to the research, if consolidation initiatives do not appear to be taking place over the next 12 months, S&P could reduce the country's ratings, increasing worries about the country's fast-expanding debt levels and debt serviceability. “We could raise our ratings if there were a strong track record of implementing fiscal reforms, thereby improving our view of PNG’s fiscal and debt metrics, as well as a strong improvement in GDP (gross domestic product) growth. “This is unlikely to occur over the next 12 months,” the credit rating agency said. “Despite an estimated decline of 3.5 per cent in real GDP in 2020, we expect a modest economic recovery of 1.7 per cent in 2021. “Buoyant agricultural output and commodity prices drove growth in 2021, and the reopening of resource plants shuttered during the pandemic will support resource-related growth. “The promise of new resource-related projects in the medium term should improve the country’s economic prospects.” According to the study, the worldwide pandemic has compounded PNG's underlying budgetary issues. “Our sovereign ratings on PNG reflect structural constraints inherent in a low-income economy dependent on the mining industry and served by weak institutions. “The PNG government aims to promote investment and address macroeconomic imbalances and economic diversification.”   Reference: The National (26 May 2022). “PNG economy ‘stable’”

Business

PNG Business News - May 30, 2022

Govt Must Embrace Digital Transformation

According to National Research Institute (NRI) interim director Osborne Sanida, the government must embrace digital transformation to promote commerce. “the volume of trade has increased over the years with the reduction of tariffs,” he said. “We need to ensure that digital transformation is used to our advantage to facilitate trade. “But we must, at the same time, guard against many adverse impacts on information explosion in this ICT (information, communications technology) age.” ICT, according to Sanida, provides all types of information on multiple platforms. “So, how can we tell what is relevant and what is not?” he said. “The producing of valid statistics and developing data is important for research, analysis and providing reliable policy recommendations. “Digital transforms functions from labour-based to digital or electronic-based systems.” PNG, Sanida said a Customs Business Consultative Forum, has an open economy that relies heavily on commerce. Sanida said PNG Customs had gone from manual document processing to automation of customs processing and procedures, which included electronic document submission, adoption of electronic payment systems, inter-agency coordination, and interagency Government systems involving clearance, among other things.   Reference: The National (27 May 2022). “Embrace digital tech to facilitate trade, says institute”.

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