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PNG Business News - July 02, 2021

IPA Signs MOU with Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate 

The Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate (NFACD) to share information to address issues of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing (AML/CTF) including fraud. In a small but significant event at the IPA Haus, the MOU was signed by the IPA Managing Director Mr. Clarence Hoot and Director of the NFACD Mr. Matthew Damaru.   In signing the MOU Mr. Hoot expressed the significance of the MOU stating that the partnership was enormous in terms of both Organization’s roles in promoting transparency and accountability. Mr. Hoot said there is already ongoing working relationships between the two Organizations and this is merely to formalize this collaboration. Under the Government’s efforts towards addressing the AML/CTF issue, a Committee co-chaired by the Department of Justice and Attorney General and the Bank of Papua New Guinea, comprising relevant Government Agencies was set up to develop work plans to address the agenda. The Committee consists of IPA, the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC), Internal Revenue Commission, the Bank of PNG and Treasury Department to name a few. One of the action items of the Committee is to sign MOUs with other Government Agencies to share information to facilitate their work including investigations. The MOU signing was part of the IPA and the RPNGC’s commitment towards implementing the action items. Director Damaru clarified that information sharing under the MOU will be restricted to those that relevant laws allow for the custodians to release. He said that any other information requested will have to be released after appropriate legal processes have been followed. The IPA believes in collaborative work with other key agencies to ensure that companies and relevant individuals are conducting business responsibly and in compliance with all relevant laws in the country. It is also inviting other Agencies to contact its Office to discuss possible partnerships. 

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PNG Business News - July 02, 2021

Aviation Industry Critical to PNG’s Tourism and Economic Development

According to Civil Aviation Minister Sekie Agisa and Transport Minister William Samb, the aviation industry is critical to the country's tourism and economic development. The aviation sector, according to Agisa, is a catalyst for social and economic activity by facilitating the flow of people and products. Aviation, he added, is critical to numerous businesses, including tourism and trade, as well as employment creation, productivity improvement, and a country's well-being. COVID-19, he said, had had a significant impact on aviation safety and security, and the aviation industry will continue to respond and recover from COVID with the goal of rebuilding the tourism and trade industries not only in PNG but also in other Pacific Island nations, with the help of other ministries and other Pacific Island ministers. Minister of Transport and Infrastructure William Samb also stated that the tourist sector has been severely impacted, and that aviation plays a significant role in strengthening the industry and contributing to economic growth. He explained that due to flight limitations, particularly foreign flights, which have resulted in a decrease in the flow of people into and out of the country, tourism and trade have suffered. The benefits that the aviation sector brings into the nation have been identified, according to Samb, and the aviation industry will be ready to contribute to PNG's economic recovery.   Reference: Kamus, Maxime. Post-Courier (1 July 2021). ‘Aviation Vital to Tourism and Economic Building’.

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PNG Business News - July 02, 2021

Sustainable Economic Recovery the focus for World Bank support to Papua New Guinea

Photo Credit: World Bank Group   The World Bank Board of Executive Directors recently approved a US$100 million (PGK 352 million equivalent) operation to support Papua New Guinea in its response to COVID-19, and to lay important foundations for a sustainable recovery. With Papua New Guinea’s economy entering the COVID-19 crisis with limited resilience to external shocks, the pandemic has led to a sharp economic contraction, higher unemployment and considerably more Papua New Guineans falling into poverty, particularly women and young people. The Papua New Guinea Crisis Response and Sustainable Recovery Development Policy Operation aims to strengthen PNG’s health system, support livelihoods of vulnerable households and small businesses; and lay vital foundations for a more sustainable economic recovery. “There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on our country,” said Papua New Guinea Minister for Treasury, Hon. Ian Ling-Stuckey. “However, we have been proactive in taking steps to lay out a clear recovery plan to help stabilize the economy, maintain frontline health services and provide support to the business sector especially those in the MSME space among others. “Beyond the COVID crisis, the Marape Government has made a firm commitment to resume fiscal consolidation to ensure fiscal and debt sustainability and this operation is a strategic partnership with the World Bank to achieve this.” Stefano Mocci, World Bank Country Manager for Papua New Guinea said “Globally, the COVID-19 crisis has tested the resilience of many economies; and PNG is no exception. “To prepare PNG’s economy for a sustainable recovery, this operation supports the PNG Government’s efforts to strengthen the country’s medium-term fiscal and debt sustainability, improve the efficiency of the financial sector, ensure more people – particularly PNG’s most vulnerable families and communities – have better access to the finance, and to address the impacts of climate change.” This financing will help safeguard routine health services while delivering the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations, help provide financial assistance to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) for job protection and ease the tax administration burden on small businesses. It will also support the government’s commitment to ensure fiscal and debt sustainability, enhance women’s voice and opportunities in decision making, improve financial sector efficiency and financial inclusion, and prepare PNG for the impending impacts of climate change. Beyond the current crisis, the World Bank operation is closely aligned to the PNG Government’s National Plans, and will support the PNG Government’s commitment to resume much-needed fiscal consolidation in the post-crisis period, to address key structural challenges of fiscal and debt sustainability. The operation is in line with the World Bank Group’s Country Partnership Framework for Papua New Guinea 2019-2023, and will be delivered through a highly concessional credit through the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the world’s most in-need countries. The World Bank is working in close coordination with key development partners, including the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank, the Australian Government, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the United Nations to boost support for Papua New Guinea’s resilient recovery. The World Bank works in partnership with 12 countries across the Pacific, supporting 85 projects totaling US$2 billion in commitments in sectors including agriculture, aviation and transport, climate resilience and adaptation, economic policy, education and employment, energy, fisheries, health, macroeconomic management, rural development, telecommunications and tourism.

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PNG Business News - July 02, 2021

Japanese Prime Minister assures PNG of continued support

Hon. Yoshihide Suga, Japan's Prime Minister, has stated that his country will support Papua New Guinea's electricity initiative, supply road building equipment, and assist with a 30-billion-yen (K1 billion) emergency loan. During a virtual online bilateral summit between the two leaders, he offered this promise. “As part of our cooperation, we will move forward with the electrification progression,” PM Suga said. “The Japanese Government has also decided on the provision of construction equipment for road maintenance and improvement. “I hope that our emergency support loan (signed for in March 2021) will contribute to economic recovery in Papua New Guinea.” PM Suga also requested PNG's assistance in the operation of Japanese fishing vessels, the recovery of the remains of Japanese troops slain in WWII, and Japanese companies' participation in the Papua LNG project. PM Marape praised Prime Minister Suga, the Japanese people and government, and Emperor Akihito for "continuing to guarantee that PNG remains a lasting ally of Japan." “We’re blessed abundantly with the good relationship we have with the people of Japan and the Government of Japan thus far,” he said. “Lately, in our COVID-19 induced hard times, Japanese Government and people have stepped in. “Let me make special mention of Foreign Minister Motegi, who visited us last year. “He was the first foreign affairs minister or leader to visit Papua New Guinea during COVID-19. “On the back of that visit, your Government, your people, gave us over K1 billion worth of direct support to our Budget. “That was able to keep us going during this tough time, and I very much appreciate this on behalf of the people of Papua New Guinea.” PM Marape also thanked Japan for assisting PNG with COVID-19. He stated that PNG's second-largest airport, at Nadzab, Morobe, will be renamed "PNG-Japan Friendship Airport," thanks to funding from the Japanese government. PM Marape expressed gratitude to Japan for supporting the power system from Yonki in the Eastern Highlands to Lae, as well as additional help in areas like education. “Let me thank you (Japan) for all your interventions,” he said. PM Marape announced he will attend the  Japan-Pacific islands Leaders’ Meeting (PALM). He also promised Japan that PNG will help it in issues with North Korea and other international concerns, as well as in the recovery of WWII troops' remains. PM Suga stated that Japan will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games next month, and that he is looking forward to PNG's participation. PM Marape said Japan was a key partner for PNG, importing LNG, tuna, agricultural goods, wood, and other items, and that the country "looked forward to a continuing cordial partnership with Japan going ahead into the future."   Reference: Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council (29 June 2021). “Japanese Prime Minister assures PNG of continued support”.

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PNG Business News - July 02, 2021

Vanimo Airport to Get a New Look

Photo Credit: Post Courier  Since 2014, the Civil Aviation Development Investment Program (CADIP), which is conducted by the National Airports Corporation, has been giving the Vanimo airport in West Sepik Province a substantial facelift. Aside from the continuing new infrastructure projects at the airport, the construction of a new terminal building is expected to finish in November. The new terminal accompanies a 300-meter runway expansion that was just completed. The new runway, which was finished in November 2020, is 1960 meters long and allows unrestricted operations of Fokker 100 or comparable aircraft. China Railway Construction Engineering Group Co Ltd was awarded this project in November 2018, and work began on April 4, 2019. The new airport terminal will cost K23.6 million to build and is expected to be finished in October 2021. The total cost of the project, which includes the runway expansion and the new terminal, is K59.6 million. The new terminal was developed by China Railway, which is also rebuilding the Kavieng airport in New Ireland Province, and so has a track record in the construction industry. According to the Economic Internal Rate of Returns (EIRR) analysis on the Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 projects under CADIP, Vanimo, as the gateway to the PNG-Indonesian border, the improved airport facilities will result in an increase in the number of flights and the number of people engaging in tourism and business activities in the province. The facility will have a VIP lounge, departure lounge, passenger check-in desks, arrival lounge with luggage conveyor belt, baggage screening machines, and restroom facilities, to mention a few. The new terminal will be larger, with a holding capacity of more than 100 people, than the previous terminal, which was built more than 30 years ago and was relatively tiny, with a holding capacity of just 30 people, and has since deteriorated. Despite the obstacles provided by COVID-19 and other circumstances over the last year, work on the new terminal has progressed at an outstanding rate.   Reference: Post-Courier (29 June 2021). “Vanimo Airport Gets K59.6 Million Facelift”.

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PNG Business News - June 28, 2021

Kina Asset Management Ltd Halts Investment Program in Australia

Chairman Sir Rabbie Namaliu of Kina Asset Management Ltd (KAML) said the company has halted its investment program in Australia until the impact on economic conditions is better understood. He informed the annual general meeting that Australia's reaction to the Covid-19 epidemic had been one of the most stringent in the world, involving international and state border restrictions as well as lockdowns. “As a result, the company suspended its investment programme in Australia until the impact on economic conditions became more certain,” Sir Rabbie said. “The company’s Australian investments reported capital losses of K3 million for the year, and dividend income fell from to 0.9 million in 2019 to K0.6 million in 2020. “However, the Australian dollar rose strongly against the PNG kina during the year, and foreign currency gains of K6.3 million were recorded,” he said. “The company’s shares again traded in very light volumes during 2020 and closed at year-end at a price of 95 toea per share. He said that this was a 40% discount to the company's net tangible asset backing of K1.59 per share, and that it did not reflect the company's past performance or the quality of its underlying assets. Sir Rabbie added that in the present year, a combination of fiscal and monetary stimulus, as well as quick progress in immunization programs, has resulted in a robust comeback in economic growth in most developed nations. “In Australia, the success of Federal and State governments in controlling the pandemic appears to have led to some slowness in easing restrictive measures when compared with their counterparts in the US and Europe. Global share markets have continued their recovery. “For the five months to May 31, 2021, the main stock indices in the US, Europe and Australia have all risen strongly: in the US, the S&P 500 index has risen 11.3 per cent; in Europe, the Euro Stox index is up 13.7 per cent; and in Australian, the ASX 200 has risen 8.7 per cent. “For the year to May 31, 2021, the preliminary return on the company’s investments was 9.7 per cent, and the NTA has increased to K1.68 per share.”   Reference:  The National (24 June 2021). “Firm suspends investment in Aust amid pandemic”.

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PNG Business News - June 28, 2021

Australia To Provide Infrastructure for PNG

According to Australian High Commissioner Jon Philp, Australia aims to provide high-quality infrastructure for PNG, generate employment, and upskill locals. His administration recently announced that it will invest K1.1 billion (US$300 million) to improve and repair all marine facilities owned and maintained by PNG Ports. In Port Moresby, Philp signed an agreement with State Enterprises Minister William Duma and PNG Ports chairman Kepas Wali, signalling Australia's commitment to the development of PNG's marine infrastructure sector. He stated that Australia was pleased to help PNG improve its marine infrastructure in order to enable commerce and boost national development. PNG's Prime Minister James Marape, who was also there, said the country has sought Australia for help in renewing and improving its ports. Duma praised Australia for prioritizing local jobs and business engagement in whatever project it supports. “The foundations of most of our ports were built during the colonial and Pacific War era by the Australians, and it is appropriate that we now come together to jointly collaborate to plan for the rehabilitation of critical infrastructure,” he said.  The 30-year ports infrastructure master plan, Philp said, presented a "great opportunity and platform" for Australia to assist PNG's infrastructure development goals. Wali praised the board and management of PNG Ports for their dedication and assistance in ensuring that any work sponsored by Australia will be done in a transparent and high-quality way. He was pleased that PNG Ports had the chance to prepare a financing proposal for projects that will modernize the country's ports and benefit the people.   Reference: Kero, Gynnie. The National (25 June 2021). “K1bil for ports upgrade”.

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PNG Business News - June 28, 2021

ABG receives K30 million from IRC

After the National Government authorized the transfer, the Autonomous Bougainville Government received K30 million in tax proceeds from the Internal Revenue Commission today. President Ishmael Toroama, members of his government, and the Bougainville Public Service received the award from IRC Commissioner-General Sam Koim. The K30 million comes from Bougainville firms' corporate income tax receipts, which is held in trust under the Bougainville Peace Agreement. Koim urged the Autonomous Bougainville Government to use the cash for projects that will boost Bougainville's budgetary self-sufficiency. According to Koim, financing the economy would enable Bougainville to fulfill one of the BPA's key pillars: fiscal self-reliance. He informed President Toroama that the Prime Minister had promised him that the money would not be under the National Government's authority. He went on to say that the money will be released at the ABG's discretion to finance its development goals, but that the funds should not be misused or squandered. President Toroama thanked the National Government and Prime Minister for releasing the monies to Bougainville as soon as possible. The K30 million would be utilized to subsidize economic operations on Bougainville in order to start generating money, according to the President. “It is time to work for the leaders, the public servants and the people of Bougainville to work together and support the ABG's economic development priorities,” President Toroama said. “With the Sharp Agreement in place we must work on building our capacity to support the drawdown of powers and functions as we prepare for independence,” President Toroama said. In the meantime, the ABG has failed to receive Custom Duties from PNG Customs, as required by the Bougainville Peace Agreement, as well as tax payments from Bougainville Copper Limited to the IRC, as ordered by a court. The duties have yet to be transferred to the Taxation Trust Account, which will subsequently be paid to the ABG by the PNG Customs Office.   Reference: Autonomous Bougainville Government website (22 June 2021). “ABG receives K30 million from IRC”.

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PNG Business News - June 28, 2021

IRC and ENB Form Partnership

The Internal Revenue Commision (IRC) and the government of East New Britain (ENB) have formed a partnership to work together on tax collection in the province. IRC commissioner-general Sam Koim and ENB administrator Wilson Matava signed a memorandum of agreement in Kokopo. ENB ranked third in terms of tax collection, but Matava and Koim believe there is still space for growth. The collaboration would allow parties to share information while also allowing the province to assist in improving tax compliance. Matava believes the province's internal income base has a lot of room to develop. “The ENB government has aspirations to gain autonomy, but that will just be a dream if your internal revenue is not strong,” he said. “We are here to help, especially in increasing goods and services tax (GST) collections, so that we will give 60 per cent.” Koim highlighted that taking advantage of the recently implemented small-business tax system has resulted in a good collaboration in the growth of micro and small companies. He said, “ENBPG has aspirations to gain autonomy, but that will just be a dream if your internal revenue is not strong. We are here to help, especially in increasing GST collections so that we will give the 60% of the “more we collect”, to help grow your Provincial economy.”

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PNG Business News - June 28, 2021

PM: SMEs Have Huge Role to Play

Small and medium businesses (SMEs) have a significant role in economic growth, according to Prime Minister Hon. James Marape. When addressing the 3rd SME Business Breakfast on Friday (June 25, 2021) to commemorate the end of SME Week, he also praised local SMEs for hosting PNG SME Week at APEC Haus in Port Moresby from June 21 to 25. “Thank you (SMEs) for what you have been doing this week,” PM Marape said. “Many nations globally are built on SMEs.” He used the example of neighbouring Indonesia, which has over 50 million SMEs, which he described as the economy's "engine room." PM Marape also mentioned New Zealand, which he visited last year and described as a country around the same size as PNG but with an economy based on SMEs. “New Zealand is a country almost the same land size as ours,” he said. “Their economy is really dependent on SMEs that are based around agriculture, tourism and cottage industries. “This is a place that we could source inspiration from. “Based on those small-scale, SME-based industries, they have a US$200 billion economy that keeps them running.” PM Marape stated that New Zealand's economy is built on agriculture, cattle, dairy, and marine resources, rather than large-scale mining, oil, and gas operations. “I believe in the propensity of our country to expand to an economy that is beyond US$200 million sizes, if not in the next 10 years, easily in the next 20 years we could get there,” he said. “That is simply because of the resource density we have in our country.” “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” PM Marape remarked as the country went through difficult times. “Those who will be in the mainstream are those who want to capture opportunities that are available for them,” he said. “I speak to our local SMEs: There are opportunities available.” PM Marape stated that individuals working in the SME sector should know that “our Government is pro-business, pro-SME”. “We want to help Papua New Guineans and those that are resident in Papua New Guinea to get going in business,” he said. “We embrace businesses of all types because we are cognizant of the fact that success of business allows the economy of a country to be strong.”   Reference: The Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council (26 June 2021). “PM Marape highlights important role of SMEs”.

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PNG Business News - June 28, 2021

Extractive Industries Transparency Commission Bill Ready for Public Consultation

PNGEIT Commission Bill Technical Working Group Team Members from left; Eva Boas (Department of Personnel Management), Vanessa Asivo (Internal Revenue Commission) Channan Kumalau (Department of Petroleum) and Lois Stanley (Constitutional Law Reform Commission) at a consultation for the proposed bill mid-June in Port Moresby.    A proposed legislation to transition the Papua New Guinea Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative National Secretariat into a statutory body is ready for public consultation beginning next month. This follows the successful conclusion of a series of consultations among legal and technical officials of key government institutions, mining & petroleum companies and civil society organizations on the elements of what is proposed to be the Papua New Guinea Extractive Industries Transparency Commission in Port Moresby last week. PNGEITI Head of National Secretariat Mr. Lucas Alkan thanked instrumentalities involved for progress made so far in shaping an appropriate legislation that will be a best fit for the replacement of the PNGEITI National Secretariat which is now situated at the Department of Treasury. “When enacted into law, the PNGEIT Commission will function as a statutory body for the implementation of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Standard and principles through the publication of EITI Reports,” Mr. Alkan said. “The push for the establishment of the PNG EIT Commission is part of a bigger policy drive to institutionalize and systemize EITI reporting anchored into the PNG legal and policy framework. “PNG has made considerable progress with the publication of seven flagship PNGEITI Reports since PNG subscribed to the EITI Global Standards in 2014 to promote transparency and accountability in mining and petroleum sectors to enhance good governance and better management of proceeds from these important sectors of the economy. “Seven years into implementing the EITI Standards through the publication of EITI Country reports and considering the fact that PNG is endowed richly with mineral and petroleum resources, PNGEITI is maturing into its next stage to meet the evolving challenges of the industry. “What the PNGEITI Multi Stakeholder Group is doing now is to legally establish an entity to render administrative services for effective EITI implementation in Papua New Guinea.       “I am pleased to note that considerable progress has been made so far with a draft bill already in our hands and also pleased to note that the PNGEITI is comfortable with this piece of legislation which will undergo further public consultation in the coming months. “A technical team conducting consultation on the draft bill will commence next month and I encourage all stakeholders to participate in the consultation so that we get a final product that has the inputs of the wider public. “First consultation will be held in the New Ireland Province for the New Guinea Islands region and then move to the rest of the regions in the country” Mr. Alkan said.

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PNG Business News - June 28, 2021

Vice Minister Richard Masere to Provide Political Oversight on Expo2020 Dubai

To ensure the success of PNG’s participation in Expo2020 in Dubai, UAE, the Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has tasked the Vice Minister Assisting him on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Hon. Richard Masere to provide political leadership, guidance and support. The World Expo is of substantial national interest to PNG, and the Prime Minister’s engagement has been well received. Vice Minister Masere was briefed on expo preparations to date, by the core group of the National Coordination Committee, led by the Commissioner General for Expo2020, Ambassador Joshua Kalinoe. He was accompanied by key members of the Task Force on FDI, including Special Economic Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Commerce & Industry Dulciana Somare and Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on FDI, Ambassador Gabriel Dusava. Vice Minister Masere expressed satisfaction on the preparations and gave an undertaking to work closely with the Expo Secretariat and the National Organising Committee to ensure that we achieve an appropriate return on investment from the programs and projects being developed. With just under 100 days until the official opening of the World Expo, the PNG pavilion contents and interior design will be completed in the next two weeks and the container with display and commercial materials will depart for Dubai on 1 July. PNG intends to use its presence at the expo to attract investment in agriculture, resources, construction, manufacturing, financial services, and renewable energy. It will be an opportunity to showcase the PNG story. “Expo2020 is participative in nature. PNG will be given the opportunity to tell its story, in business, government, SMEs, academia, the arts, culture, tradition and heritage. It will reflect on the beauty and diversity of our great nation, highlighting our tourism industry. There are several theme weeks throughout the 6-month expo program - each representing an opportunity to present PNG in a different light.” The Prime Minister is expected to address members of the Business Council and Manufacturing Council, to encourage support and participation at this prestigious event. Vice Minister Masere said apart from the individual and company participation, the Investment Promotion Authority will also stage weekly roadshows through out the exposition period, promoting the packaged projects and other business opportunities from the private sector and SMEs. “Participation of Expo2020 in Dubai, is as a whole-of-Government NEC approved national event targeted to tell the PNG story, where 200 countries will come together to connect, exchange ideas, tell their respective stories and develop practical investment prospects. Accordingly, the Government will adequately resource and fund our participation as well as continue to provide appropriate political oversight,” Vice Minister Masere said.

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PNG Business News - June 23, 2021

Bougainville VP: Province Is Economically Viable for Independence

Photo Credit: RNZ / Johnny Blades Patrick Nisira, the Vice President of Bougainville, claimed that the province is economically sustainable enough to become an independent sovereign state. Nisira remarked this during the House of Representatives June session in Buka. He said that there have been complaints that the autonomous region must first achieve fiscal self-sufficiency by producing adequate income before pursuing political independence. However, according to Nisira, this has not been the case for many newly independent countries, including Papua New Guinea. He told Parliament that as Minister of Commerce, Trade and Economic Development, he has created the Low Hanging Fruit economic strategy, which would be presented to the Bougainville Executive Council for approval before being executed to increase income generation in the area. According to Nisira, the government will disclose first commercial initiatives worth 19 million US dollars, or about K68 million, early next year, as well as economic investments of 100 million US dollars, or about K400 million, that would generate up to 2000 jobs in the economy. ''Where do we draw our confidence from? When you look around, Bougainville has a lot of natural resources and we will have to manage them and run our own government. We have the Panguna Mine, and at one-time Panguna mine bankrolled the Independence of PNG in 1975, and that same Panguna mine will bankroll the Independence of Bougainville,'' said the Vice President.  Prior to Bougainville's political independence, the Vice President dismissed the individual's worries about economic independence.   Reference: PNG Facts (18 June 2021). “Bougainville Economically Viable for Independence, says ABG Vice President”.

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PNG Business News - June 23, 2021

PM Opens Bulolo Highway Restoration Project

Photo Credit: Department of Prime Minister & National Executive Council Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP, has officially opened the K66 million Bulolo Highway restoration project in Morobe Province. The Bulolo Highway, according to PM Marape, is a major route that will benefit the people of Bulolo and the Morobe Province because it is home to several important projects such as Zenag Chicken and Bulolo Forest Products. “Coffee, copra and other small to medium enterprises like alluvial mining will rely and depend on the road, " he said. “It is right and proper because there are many businesses and industries that contribute heavily and have an impact on the economy. “Now, more importantly with the up-coming Wafi Gold Mine and the existing Hidden Valley Mine, it is a right decision by the National Government and not because my Deputy Sam Basil is the Member for Bulolo. " PM Marape told hundreds of people gathered in Wau that the government's Connect PNG 2020-2040 Road Plan aimed to open up the country through roads. “By 2025, when PNG celebrates 50 years of Independence, a good road network must connect our country, " he said. “Therefore, this 9-Mile to Wau-Bulolo National Highway is very important. "The road from Garaina in Morobe Province should link Goilala in Central Province and to Kerema in Gulf Province, and open up and rehabilitate our existing road network." PM Marape asked people to look after government-funded projects, till their land, and engage in activities that would benefit them and their families, rather than getting engaged in narcotics and illegal activities. The Australian Government is funding the Bulolo Highway under the Department of Works' Transport Sector Support Program (TSSP). PM Marape announced a K1 million National Government commitment for the Bulolo District Education sector, in addition to the regular Government District Service Improvement Program (DSIP) funds. The National Gaming and Control Board, he added, will provide that funds on behalf of the national government (NGCB). “I am concerned that we are creating many high schools, and there are many children coming out of our education system and do not have a second chance, " PM Marape said. “I am appealing to students who are wandering around to get enrolled in the Flexible Open Distance Education (FODE) and other technical and vocational centres." The National Government also wants the National Development Bank (NDB) to build a branch in Wau, according to PM Marape. He announced K50,000 in financing for rugby league tournaments in Wau and Bulolo, as well as K50,000 apiece for women's and men's basketball competitions in Wau. PM Marape travelled to Wagau LLG with DPM Basil to kick off the sealing and upgrading of the Gabensis to Buang road. He handed over K3 million to contractor Kaia Works for the sealing of an additional 8 kilometres of road, which would assist thousands of residents in the Buang LLG. PM Marape and DPM Basil mended political disagreements during the no-confidence vote in November while in Wagau. DPM Basil expressed regret for listening to other politicians who wanted to replace PM Marape, and he apologized to PM Marape for lying to him. He stated that he will cooperate with Prime Minister Marape now and until the 2022 election. PM Marape expressed his delight at DPM Basil's return to the government and stated that he accepts him fully. “I want to say that Minister Basil is a leader in his own right and has the right to make his own move and decision, " he said. “I did not ask him to leave and always told him his position of Deputy Prime Minister was still vacant for him to return and reclaim." Under the Bulolo District Rural Electrification Program, PM Marape also turned on the lights in Mapos 2 Village in Buang LLG. DPM Basil was commended by PM Marape for providing services and development to his people, and he was asked to keep up the excellent work. He slept at DPM Basil's house in Sagaiyo Village for the night. He was also present at the opening of the Mumeng District Rural Local Lock-up, for which the National Government has pledged K50 million. “The plan is to build a proper Correctional Service lock-up and will ensure the inmates can attend the Mumeng vocational school,” PM Marape said. He also unveiled the ‘Golpu House' building of the Mumeng LLG District, the Mumeng Town road sealing and street lighting project, the National Pastors' Conference Church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG Mumeng District and the Mumeng Town project.   Reference: Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council (19 June 2021). “PM Marape launches over K60 million worth of road projects in Morobe”.

Business

PNG Business News - June 23, 2021

Customs Revenue from Taxes and Excise Decreases

Photo Credit: South Pacific International Container Terminal Ltd In comparison to the first quarter of this year, revenue from customs taxes and excise has decreased in this quarter. In the first quarter of the fiscal year 2021, K890 million in taxes were collected. David Towe, the Commissioner of the PNG Customs Service, confirmed this. He did not say how much of a reduction there was from the first quarter, but he did say it was due to a drop in trade worldwide.  He stated that there is still a need to guarantee compliance in order to assist correct the income collection shortfall. “In the first three months we were able to exceed our revenue projections and that came at the back of some improved compliance activities. We collected in excess of close to K50 million in unpaid taxes. “We had conducted a revenue recovery exercise that went very well. We not only collected revenue but we also uncovered where the system collapsed, all the loopholes where the revenue leakages were,” Mr Towe said. However, he stated that they began to see a decline in revenue for two or three weeks in this quarter. To remedy this, Customs was instructed to increase compliance and ensure that every import was thoroughly inspected so that no money was lost.  “We also have to ensure that we maintain control because not every importer is compliant and there will always be some who will try to cut corners to get away, whether intentionally or unintentionally. The most recent example is the importer who was caught. “We cannot say that all importers are being compliant so we need to be extra vigilant to ensure every importer is clearing their cargo at the right quantity and rates.” Customs income rose up again in the last check and during the last two or three weeks, according to Towe, who attributed this to improvements in monitoring and maintaining control. He expects consistent growth in revenue in the coming quarter, as long as due diligence and compliance for all imports are maintained.   Reference:  Wakasup, Melissa. Loop (21 June 2021). “Customs Revenue Slumps”. 

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