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PNG Business News - September 26, 2022

PM MARAPE SAYS PNG CAN BECOME FOOD SUPPLIER TO THE WORLD

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says Papua New Guinea can become a food supplier to the world with its abundance of land and sea. PM Marape, when addressing the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on Friday (April 23, 2022), invited new international development partners to work with PNG in the agriculture sector, particularly in downstream processing. Earlier in the week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, when addressing the UNGA, talked about the emerging world food crisis as a direct result of the Russia-Ukraine war. PM Marape said many parts of the world were facing food insecurity, hunger and poverty and PNG could be a country of food production. He said PNG’s people lived in a land mass of 462,840 square km and also had a large sea area which supplied tuna to Asia and Europe. “PNG has enough land, sea and people to be a food supplier to the world, Mr Secretary-General, in response to your concerns for global food security,” PM Marape said. “For the first time, in our country, my Government has inserted efforts to address this imminent problem by placing more emphasis on the agriculture sector. “This is viewed not only as a revenue source for our economy, but also a conduit to empower the majority of our rural communities through introduction of innovative farming methods in cash crop production, livestock and poultry to take ownership and leadership of their development needs, and livelihoods, and at the same time also foster poverty alleviation and food security. “It is from this perspective that we have established new ministerial portfolios for Oil Palm, Coffee and Livestock. “That will assist us cater better not only for needs of the majority of our rural communities and their local economies to be integrated into the national and global markets, to improve their lives and livelihood but be the source for food security, and hunger and poverty alleviation for other countries. “We therefore welcome new international development partners to work with us in the agriculture sector, particularly in the downstream processing of products that add value and support local communities and the country.”   Article courtesy of James Marape News Page

Business

PNG Business News - September 26, 2022

PNG To Attend Indonesian Trade Expo

To show its commitment to a trade deal with Indonesia, PNG will, according to International Trade and Investment Minister Richard Maru, attend the Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI) 2022, which will be held next month. Maru said it was appropriate given a recent declaration to make commerce with Indonesia a priority and that he had received an official invitation to lead a Papua New Guinea (PNG) trade mission to the exhibition in Jakarta from October 19–23. With more than 1,000 exhibitors and more than US$6 billion (about K20.62 billion) in transactions over its seven zones of exposition, TEI draws around 40,000 people from all over the world each year. Manufacturing, healthcare, beauty, home furnishings, food and drink, clothing and accessories, medical equipment, and digital and services are a few of them. Andriana Supandy, the ambassador of Indonesia to Papua New Guinea, extended an invitation to Maru. Maru stated that his office would seek funding to send a sizable delegation that would include ministers, lawmakers, representatives of SMEs, state-owned companies, the business community, as well as individuals from the border provinces of East Sepik, West Sepik, and Western, as well as individuals from other provinces, industries, and organisations. He said that it would be a wonderful chance to establish interpersonal and commercial relationships. “We want to show you our commitment by going there right after our policy pronouncements.”   Reference The National (15 September 2022). “PNG to attend trade expo in Indonesia”. 

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PNG Business News - September 26, 2022

PNG, Australia Discuss Labour Mobility Scheme

The potential benefits of an extended labour mobility programme between the two countries have been emphasised by Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey and his Australian colleague Jim Chalmers. The doors would be open through Australia's recently expanded labour mobility policies, according to Mr. Ling-Stuckey, if people in PNG opted to travel and fill some of those jobs. The Australian Treasurer has acknowledged the labour shortages confronting Australia. “I agreed strongly, noting how we have started expanding our labour mobility program rapidly. Under the former PNG administration, there had been only around 120 workers each year. Post COVID-19 border barriers, the number had already increased by over 500 per cent to 750,” Mr Ling-Stuckey said. “I indicated to the Australian Treasurer that I recently had very positive discussions with the labour mobility area of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and the Gold Coast Hospital and there is a clear interest in continuing the schemes’ rapid expansion. “There is a need to evolve our management arrangements for a larger scheme, ensuring continued protection for our workers pay and conditions. This is indeed a very positive area for expanding our relationship. “The potential economic importance of a greatly expanded labour mobility program is often underestimated in PNG. Based on World Bank data showing that employees earn an average take-home wage of about K26,000, having 30,000 Papua New Guineans in Australia would be comparable to exporting K800 million worth of logs. “Having 45,000 workers (so only about 1 per cent of our workforce) would be equivalent to the entire Australian bilateral aid program of over K1.1 billion last year. Labour mobility schemes clearly have massive potential to modernise the PNG economy and lift our skills development, jobs and incomes.” The Marape-Rosso Government, according to him, is continuing to talk about ways to widen the scope of economic benefits for both parties. “Further meetings are occurring with officials from the Australian Treasury and Department of Foreign Affairs,” Mr Ling-Stuckey said. “There is lots of hard work ahead to convert the promise into a reality. I thank the many members of parliament and other workers that have already been supporting this initiative, along with the individual workers, their families and communities, and our valued Australian employers. I am proud of this plan to grow the economy, create jobs and incomes for our people.”   Reference: Post-Courier (20 September 2022). “PNG, Aust Treasurers Discuss On Labour Mobility Growth”.

Business

PNG Business News - September 21, 2022

PM MARAPE MEETS WITH STEAMSHIPS OWNER JOHN SWIRE; INVITES COMPANY TO DIVERSIFY, EXPAND

PRIME Minister Hon. James Marape recently (20/09/22) paid a courtesy visit to John Swire of John Swire & Sons Ltd, the principal shareholder and parent of Papua New Guinea’s oldest company – Steamships Trading Company. The meeting with John Swire & Sons at their London head office, was to thank the shareholder for keeping their investments going over a long time in PNG and still continuing in the face of everything PNG has gone through. The meeting was also to reassure the investor of the current efforts the Marape-Rosso Government is now putting into expanding the economy through the development of enabling infrastructure, Agriculture and downstream processing. PM Marape said: “Steamships has PNG truly at its heart. It has been operating in the country for over 90 years, with a history that is entwined with the country’s own history. Still, it is going strong. “Swire is a big company globally, with substantial shareholding in Cathay Pacific also. “My meeting with John Swire today was to reassure him that the future of PNG is looking up as we begin on the efforts to expand the economy toward the K200 billion mark within the next 10 years. We are doing this by opening up the rest of the country through infrastructure development, Agriculture and downstream processing. “I also reassured him that my government is more than willing to work with companies that have stood the test of time with PNG, and Swire – through Steamships – is the longest and most loyal. “The Government is looking forward to seeing Steamships and Swire consolidate their positions in PNG, and diversify and expand even further. “Steamships has been with us long before our own Independence and knows the PNG business environment like no other. Nothing would make us happier than to see it expand into the areas we are working at such as Agriculture, downstream processing and building MSMEs among Papua New Guineans,” said PM Marape. The Prime Minister said the Government was working at upgrading enabling infrastructure to support investors through the Connect PNG Program covering roads, bridges, wharves and jetties, airports and airstrips, including electricity which was mentioned by Swire as one of the challenges being faced by Steamships. PM Marape said power supply should be upgraded to full capacity within the next three to four years in the Southern region, and the Lae – Highlands area all the way to Hides utilising gas (Western end) and hydro (Eastern end). The Prime Minister once more gave credence to the link as established through the Commonwealth with the United Kingdom. “The country would know my view by now on maintaining our arrangements with the Commonwealth, especially with UK. UK is just like the United States; it is the capital of the free world, capitalistic society. This is where commerce and trade took off from, with huge markets here. At the moment they buy our oil palm, tuna and exports that find their way into the European market,” said PM Marape.   Article courtesy of PMNEC

Business

PNG Business News - September 19, 2022

PM halts logging permits

Photo credit: Sam Moko Prime Minister James Marape has ordered officials to halt the issuance of new logging licences until the 205 active ones have undergone "a comprehensive stock-take." “We want to make more money for our country but at a sustainable rate,” he said during a visit to the PNG Forest Authority office in Port Moresby. “This sector is a sleeping giant. We’ve been playing marbles (with it) for too long,” Marape said. “I want you to recommend to the (forestry) minister through the board and MD (managing director) how best we can ramp up our production in this sector without compromising sustainability and good environment practises.” Marape is also interested in learning how long the 205 permits have been active. “And businesses not (owned by) landowner (companies) must have an element of downstream processing built into their business plan,” he said. “(After) three years, I come to this place and I am very discouraged because we have not done much. “There is no substantial progress in the downstream processing phase. “No new license is to be issued. Let’s take stock of the 205 first. Inform stakeholders that the Government wants a serious placement on downstream processing.” He requests that all already operating forestry-related firms submit their business plans on down-streaming to the Forest Authority. “No more renewal of permits until this comes in. For those that do not have an association with downstream in their business plan, the State will exercise its right in the state marketing option that all logs cut will be put into our log ports.” For every log that leaves the nation, a "corresponding Kina or dollar must come back into the country," he added, adding that Treasury will work on a regulation enforcing this. “I may seem hard but I make no apology to anyone. “It’s not just for Forestry. We will do the same for fisheries and agriculture. “Gold, oil, and gas will follow the same process as well,” he said. “Our resources have been plundered (with) minimum return to our country.”   Reference: Mauludu, Shirley. The National (8 September 2022). “PM halts logging permits”.

Business

PNG Business News - September 19, 2022

Maru firm on trade agreement

Photo: Richard Maru According to Richard Maru, the minister for international trade and investment, the feasibility study for a free trade agreement with the People's Republic of China should be carried out before the end of the year. Maru reiterated PNG's commitment to a potential free trade deal with China during a meeting he conducted with Chen Jiliang, the charge de affairs of the People's Republic of China embassy. The cost and advantages of such an arrangement would be determined by the study, he claimed. “Both parties need to agree to the terms of reference for the study and agree to hire a neutral independent global expert to undertake the study. Without that, we cannot proceed with the study,” he said. He anticipates that the two nations will be debating the adoption of the study's findings by January or February of the following year. It was a result of discussions between Li Keqiang, the Chinese premier, and former prime minister Peter O'Neill in 2016. During a trip to Beijing last year, Prime Minister James Marape repeated it. Maru praised the Chinese government for contributing K1 million so that Papua New Guinea could hire a consultant to carry out the study's PNG portion. Additionally, he is pleading with both domestic and foreign investors to collaborate with the government in the downstream processing sector. “We need local and international investors to support the government in aggressively pursuing its new policy direction of replacing all food imports by investing in the downstream processing industries,” he said. He said that before they are shipped, PNG must prepare fish, coconut, cocoa, and coffee. “(They should) also invest in large-scale oil palm plantations in the savannah land especially in the Sepik Plains, Western, Madang and Morobe, and in cattle and other agriculture projects as well, and in the PMIZ,” he said.   Reference: The National (9 September 2022). “Maru firm on trade agreement”.

Business

PNG Business News - September 19, 2022

New Zealand Government to support PNG Election committee Electoral Process

The newly formed Papua New Guinea Parliamentary Election Committee has received the backing of the New Zealand Government in order to handle election-related concerns that arose during this election. This was said by Nanaia Mahuta, the minister of foreign affairs for New Zealand, at a news conference that both nations held in Port Moresby. In order to ensure that the electoral reform process is done correctly, the New Zealand government will advise and support the committee, according to her PNG counterpart, PNG's Foreign Affairs Minister Justin Tkatchenko. ''We have just come out of an election and we have just set up a Parliamentary Committee to address election-related issues encountered in this election and East Sepik Governor Allan Bird will Chair the Committee. ''We are pleased that the New Zealand government is very keen in offering its assistance in providing advice and other necessary support as we have many electoral issues such as the common roll,'' said Tkatchenko.      Meanwhile, PNG has always been a solid partner, according to New Zealand's Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, and the country is still dedicated to helping PNG. ''Every democratic society continues to shift and improve its electoral process and New Zealand is happy to assist PNG to improve its electoral process and strengthen the integrity of the electoral process,'' said Mahuta .   Reference: Papua New Guinea Today (8 September 2022). “New Zealand Government to support PNG Election committee Electoral Process”.

Business

PNG Business News - September 19, 2022

PM MARAPE ANNOUNCES VICE-MINISTERIAL ALLOCATIONS

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape recently (September 13, 2022) announced 12 Vice-Ministerial allocations, in line with his Government’s focus on ‘Growing the Economy’ and ‘Strengthening Internal Security’. He made the announcements before he left for London to attend the funeral service of Queen Elizabeth II. Of the 12 Vice-Ministers, four will be directly assisting PM Marape, in his role as Prime Minister and Minister for National Planning. The four Vice Ministers assisting PM Marape are: • Hon. Jimmy Maladina (Office of State Negotiations); • Hon. Kinoka Feo (Strategic Planning); • Hon. Muguwa Dilu (Constitutional Matters); and • Hon. James Nomane (Planning PIP Budgeting) The other eight Vice-Ministers and their allocations are: • Hon. Solen Loifa (Treasury); • Hon. John Boito (Finance and Implementation); • Hon. Kessy Sawang (International Trade and Investment); • Hon. Miki Kaeok (Works and Highways); • Hon. Thomas Opa (Petroleum and Energy); • Hon. Raphael Tonpi (State Enterprises); • Hon. Graham Piniau Rumet (Cocoa and Copra); and • Hon. James Donald (Mining and Border Issues). “The four Vice-Ministers have been given specific tasks to assist me, likewise, the other eight Vice-Ministers,” PM Marape said. “We are timebound and want to achieve results “It is not just a ceremonial office they are holding, unlike the past, and they have been given specific tasks just like Ministers. “We expect the Vice-Ministers to achieve in the tasks that they have been given.” PM Marape said Ministers’ jobs were so “wide and huge” with Papua New Guinea not being like it was back in 1975, especially population growth. He said when he returned from his international tour-of-duty, he would sit down with individual Ministers and Vice-Ministers, and tell them what was expected of them. “All Ministers have already been given Key Result Areas, and when I return, I will sit down with them and the Vice-Ministers,” PM Marape said. “Likewise, when I come back, I will meet all Governors at a Governors’ Forum and engage with them on what they must do. “We will focus especially on provinces being less dependent on Waigani for finances, with more focus on agriculture, downstream processing of forestry, fisheries, tourism and other businesses. “I want provinces to step up in these areas and take ownership of businesses instead of just being spectators and waiting for handouts from Waigani. “This will complement our focus on Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in all provinces and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. “This, I believe, will really jumpstart our economy.”   Article courtesy of PM James Marape News Page

Business

PNG Business News - September 15, 2022

PNG Economy Returns to Growth, Buoyed by Higher Commodity Prices

The economy in Papua New Guinea is forecast to expand by four percent in 2022, up from one percent in the previous year, according to the latest World Bank Economic Update, released recently. This return to growth following a sharp contraction of -3.5 percent in 2020 was mostly driven by strong performance in the non-extractive sector, with agriculture being among the key contributors to economic recovery. The report, Benefiting from High Commodity Prices, looks at recent key developments in PNG’s economy, and places these in the longer-term global and regional context where growth is decelerating, and inflation is surging in many countries due to rising food and energy prices, largely caused by disruptions in the supply chain triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war. Despite the challenging external environment, the economic outlook in PNG remains positive, underpinned by a projected recovery in the extractive sector, higher commodity prices, and gradual recovery in economic activity. On top of this, the easing of COVID-19 policies by local authorities is increasing domestic economic activity. “It is encouraging to see the economy returning to growth after a very challenging few years,” said Stefano Mocci, World Bank Country Manager for Papua New Guinea. “Now is the time to consolidate economic reforms that focus on key development challenges for the benefit of all the people in the country.” Agriculture played a key role in the economic recovery beginning in 2021 driven by higher export volumes of tea, palm oil, and copra. The extractive sector did not rebound in 2021 also due to disruptions to mining operations. Nonetheless, elevated prices for commodities – in particular natural gas – will likely provide the country with additional revenue this year. “International commodity markets have been performing well for PNG, helping the economy to grow, and revenue coming into the national budget has increased. However, these conditions are not likely to remain for long,” said Ruslan Piontkivsky, World Bank Country Economist for Papua New Guinea. “A reduction in commodity prices, and a lower demand for exports from the decelerating global economy are significant risks, and might result in slower than expected economic growth. Authorities should be prepared for this, in particular by continuing fiscal reforms that include higher revenue mobilization.” The PNG Economic Update also includes a special focus on Boosting Economic Growth. Given the country’s abundant geographic and natural resources, the report argues that PNG’s economy can – and should – grow faster. Although the economy has more than tripled in size since independence in 1975, real GDP per capita has increased by only 0.9 percent per year; a low growth rate compared to peer countries. The report recommends a renewed policy focus on economic growth, not only on the short-term factors affecting the outlook for the next year, but also on the longer-term drivers of the growth and welfare of the people. To achieve this, PNG should aim to renew its growth strategy to address three interrelated challenges: excessive macroeconomic volatility, low productivity growth, as well as excessive reliance on natural capital and not enough investment in human and institutional capital. “With a growing young population, PNG’s future growth and quality of life hinge on improving human capital,” said Stefano Mocci, World Bank Country Manager for Papua New Guinea. “While PNG’s wealth has been dominated by natural capital, over the decades PNG has made limited progress in improving human capital and it is vital for government and its partners to invest in this area." “We will continue to work closely with the PNG Government to help create opportunities and improved access to markets, education, and health– this will be essential to creating sustainable growth.”   Article courtesy of the World Bank

Business

PNG Business News - September 12, 2022

PM Marape invites foreign investors as he launches K130 million Paga Hill project

Photo: PM Marape speaking during the launching of the K130 million Paga Hill Paradise project in Port Moresby Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has welcomed foreign investors into Papua New Guinea, as he launched the K130 million Paga Hill Paradise project in Port Moresby recently (September 8 2022). He said the 22-storey luxury apartments project, besides Fairfax Harbour, was at the heart of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) earmarked by Government in the National Capital District and would be completed over two years. Present with PM Marape were NCD Governor Hon. Powes Parkop; Moresby North-East MP Hon. John Kaupa; Sarawak (Malaysia) Minister for Tourism Creative Industry and Performing Arts His Excellency Dato Sri Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah; Malaysian Ambassador His Excellency Mohamad Nasri Abdul Rahman; Chinese Embassy representative Jiliang Chen; developers of Paga Hill Paradise and members of the private sector. PM Marape thanked the investors for having faith in Port Moresby and PNG by investing K130 million. “My Government – regardless of colour, political divide, religion or tribe – encourages business investments,” he said. “This is a country that has shown its ability to repay its investors with a substantial return on investments. “Going forward, you will not be discouraged if you invest in our country, you will have a good return on your investment. “In 1975 we had an economy that was under K5 billion, in 2011 we had an economy of K44.4 billion, in 2019 when I took over from Government we had an economy of K79.6 billion, today after three hard years – and endorsed by International Monetary Fund and World Bank – our economy is peaking at K110 billion. “We are a nation that is growing. “My generation of leaders envisages growing our economy to a K200 billion economy over the next eight years. “This time, 10 years from today, our economy would have gone past K200 billion. “As the economy expands, there’ll be a lot of room and need for services, infrastructure, buildings, entertainment precincts. “Special economic zones are meant to be places of investment, expansion, and I thank the investors for choosing to invest here.” PM Marape said the Port Moresby SEZ was one of many that would be established in all 21 provinces and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. “The special economic zones must attract investments, and we invite investors to go into those special economic zones,” he said. “Paga Hill Precinct in the city centre has been ticked by Government as a special economic zone, with the support of the National Capital District Commission, and investors must come here to this all-inclusive ‘city within a city’ and business centre. “This area must be given a modern outlook in line with Governor Parkop’s ambitious, but achievable, plan to deliver Port Moresby as the ‘amazing city’ of the Pacific.”   Article courtesy of James Marape News Page

Business

PNG Business News - September 12, 2022

Envoy: India ready to help PNG

Photo credit: The Statesmen According to India's High Commissioner Inbasekar Sundaramamurthi, Papua New Guinea exports to India five times more than India does to PNG. “This means the balance of trade is in (PNG’s) favour,” he said. According to Sundaramamurthi, India and PNG had bilateral trade of about $427 million (K1,471.13 million). Around US$70 million (K241.168 million) is what India exports to PNG, and US$357 million is what PNG imports from India (K1,229.96 million). “But we are okay with that (trade) because as a country in the Pacific, PNG needs all the support. “So we buy commodities, raw materials and minerals. “We are also ready to transfer technology to you through agriculture.” Sundaramamurthi explained that India “understand the sentiments because Prime Minister James Marape wants jobs to remain here and downstream processing to happen in the country”. “So we are all ready to support that,” he said. “In other countries, you have to move beyond just selling commodities. “We are ready to buy commodities but we are also ready to teach you technology, and capacity building,” Sundaramamurthi said. According to him, India exports PNG textiles, machinery, food, medicines, surgical supplies, and rubber. However, the exports from India travel through China, Malaysia, and possibly Australia to reach PNG. “Which means cost becomes higher,” he said. “We could avoid the middlemen.PNG exports to India nickel, copper, pearl, wood, wooden articles and cocoa.”   Reference: Moi, Clarissa. The National (5 September 2022). “Envoy: India ready to help PNG”.  

Business

PNG Business News - September 12, 2022

PMIZ Project May Cost Close to K1B

According to International Trade and Investment Minister Richard Maru, the construction cost of the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) project in Madang may be close to K1 billion. Maru stated that although the government had set out roughly K70 million for the project, it might not be sufficient. “We are going to make sure that PMIZ is going to be constructed as soon as possible,” he said yesterday. “We will shortly be calling a meeting with the Fisheries (and Marine Resources) Minister (Jelta Wong), PNG Ports, KCH (Kumul Consolidated Holdings) on how we can raise K1 billion to build the park. “I’m talking wharves, sewerage system, water, power. “We need to raise the funds internally if we can, and get on with the construction of PMIZ as soon as possible.” The undertaking would fall within the purview of the ministry that Maru oversees. To move on with the project, the National Fisheries Authority secured 130 property titles from the Department of Lands and Physical Planning. Wong received the titles from department secretary Benjamin Samson Wednesday at the start of the PNG provincial fisheries conference in Port Moresby. Samson said: “117 of the titles are for industrial purpose and 13 are for underwater resource and residence.” “This makes PMIZ the first of three projects to have land titles issued, considering we are yet to get titles for Motukea Wharf and Manus Wharf.” In 2004, the then-cabinet of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill approved the PMIZ project to be built at Vidar. According to the NFA, the nation's 2.4 million square kilometre fisheries zone is the biggest in the South Pacific.   Reference: The National (7 September 2022). “Maru optimistic about PMIZ”.

Business

PNG Business News - September 12, 2022

National Trade Bill To Be Presented In Parliament

When Parliament convenes in October, it is anticipated that the National Trade Bill, which was approved by the National Executive Council in 2021, will be presented. The National Trade Office Bill aims to address the need for anchoring the government's trade policy role, removing redundancy and resource waste, and giving the newly established National Trade Office a legislative authority to carry out its duties. Richard Maru, the minister of international trade and investment, promised to see to it that the law is introduced at the next session of Congress. During the handover-takeover ceremony with the departing Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Soroi Eoe, he announced this. The National Trade Office will oversee international trade and investment. Since its founding in October 2020, the National Trade Office has been operating for approximately two years. The new ministry will operate independently of the previous Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with an emphasis on global commerce and economic security as part of the government's "Take Back PNG" policy. The Electronic Transaction Act (ETA), the Trade Defense Bill, the National Trade Office Bill, and the Trade Policy Implementation were all introduced by the National Trade Office under the direction of Minister Eoe. The National Trade Policy Strategic Implementation Plan has been authorised by the NEC and is prepared for implementation by the different trade players. The ministry has to be improved, according to Mr Maru, who also pledged to keep working on some of the projects launched for the benefit of the populace.   Reference: Wohi, Lorraine. Post-Courier (8 September 2022). “National Trade Bill To Be Tabled In Parlt”.

Business

PNG Business News - September 08, 2022

PM ADRESSES IMPORTANCE OF GOVT & BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP

Prime Minister Hon James Marape recently addressed the importance of the partnership that the government and businesses can foster to discuss policy, financial barriers, technology and innovation so that growth in business can be accelerated.  He highlighted this during the Business Council of PNG's Back to Business Breakfast which was held on the 30th of August at the Stanley Hotel and attended by Ministers of State, executives of the business council and members of the private sector. The Prime Minister's address was followed by a panel discussion and a question-and-answer session with "key economic ministers". As this was the PM's second business breakfast, He said "businesses are key drivers of the economy that I acknowledge, so conducive policy, and a regulatory business environment are key ingredients". "Last year when I addressed the business council I stated that the government will be responsive to create a a conducive environment for business, trade, and investment. The consultation of the private sector is significant in putting together policies so that interventions can be established to grow the private sector". Marape said that during the second year of his tenure as the Prime Minister, the country was just recovering from the peak of the Covid - 19 pandemic.  At that time, his government was at the stage of placing critical actions to restore the economy, growing it as well as dealing with the aftermath of the pandemic. Despite these challenges the economy showed stability as the country adapted through well managed investments from that period of great uncertainty to a period of more hope. The PM also took the time to show his gratitude and appreciation to the many investors and business houses who continued to operate and provide vital services and employment opportunities for the people during those trying times. The government has pledged to do its best and plans to build confidence in the business environment to support them in growing and sustaining their businesses. Furthermore, Marape added that his Government remains fully focused on implementing Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that will empower the people to become productive and self-sustaining. The number of MSME's has continued to expand and business and investors have a major role to assist this sector grow through provision of credit and business literacy skills. A thriving SME sector empowers the small business owners to be self-sustaining and contributes to economic development. In relation to this, Marape continued by highlighting that in order to  create and increase business opportunities key ministers have been retained in their portfolios for continuity and stability while some portfolios have been merged to free up ministerial positions. This has now allowed the government to create new ministries that best reflect its key priorities. The new ministries created are International Trade and investment, Oil Palm, Livestock, Coffee, and Agriculture. These ministries will ensure that more focus and attention is given to their mandate to strengthen their capabilities and production. This will allow this economic sub sectors to grow and harness their potential for increased investment and revenue generation by business houses and the rural population. The government is also focused on unlocking customary land for business and commercial purposes. That is why it is placing great emphasis on sustaining Agriculture for over 82 per cent of the population. The restructure of the ministries and separation of Livestock, Coffee and Oil Palm is important in making this a successful process. "We want to grow our economy and create more opportunities for our people. The road ahead requires a concerted and collective effort to fully realize our economic potential" "We would like to return our country to a place where it is safe for our investors to do business and I encourage the private sector to to work with the government to grow the economy through effective partnership arrangements”. Marape said. The Prime Minister concluded his statement by saying "To achieve this I am confident that the restructuring of my cabinet and its refocus will derive the desired outcome that is beneficial to our socio-economic development aspirations in the next five years”.

Business

PNG Business News - September 08, 2022

PM Marape announces K42.7 billion health programme

Photo: PM Marape and Health Minister Hon. Dr Lino Tom with members of the medical fraternity at the Medical Symposium recently Prime Minister Hon. James Marape recently (September 5 2022) announced a K42.7 billion health intervention programme for the next 10-15 years in Papua New Guinea. He made the announcement today (September 5 2022) when addressing the 56th Medical Symposium of the Medical Society of PNG in Port Moresby, with the theme, ‘ICT in COVID-19 Pandemic, Education and Research’. “Our Government has committed to a K42.7 billion 10–15-year programme of interventions in the health sector,” PM Marape said. “These interventions must be made correctly, in the correct places, so that small steps are being worked upon for the collective dreams of the country going forward. “It calls upon every one of us to work together, and at this juncture, let me thank those of you who have played your part for our country to be where it is today. “I bring to you our total commitment to ensure that our National Health Plan is financed to the best of our ability, and we can together work to ensure that the standard of health is better for our people to benefit from going forward.” PM Marape said his Government was putting its money where its mouth was with the biggest-ever allocation of K2.8 billion to Health in the 2022 Budget. “Our Government is committed to making health our major focus,” he said. “You cannot find a better place to read Government policy than every year’s annual appropriations. “In the last annual appropriation, Health sector received the highest-ever presented to any sector, since 1975. “Health has always come behind infrastructure and education, but we have turned this around, with Health receiving the highest.” PM Marape said COVID-19 had awoken PNG to the ailing state of health facilities throughout the country. “The COVID-19 pandemic exposed our vulnerability that we have been carrying all along,” he said. “How can a nation of 10 million people have only 200 ICU beds nationwide? “Of the 200 ICU beds nationwide, only 40 had oxygen and ventilation, 26 of which were in Port Moresby. “I was dumfounded and I was stunned, I was embarrassed. “Having been a politician since 2007, I felt that I had let the country down in a very big way.” PM Marape said PNG must “leapfrog” in ICT and his Government was prepared to make substantial investment in this. He urged all medical practitioners to look into the National Health Plan 2021-2030, which he launched last year, and recommend ways to improved PNG’s health system based on research. PM Marape also talked about the need for PNG patients to be treated in-country than going overseas and for quality health services to be just one-hour away. He said his Government was committed to supporting medical research.   Article courtesy of PM JAMES MARAPE News Page

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