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PNG Business News - April 18, 2022

NICTA Gives Final Approval to Telstra

Photo credit: Mick Tsikas - Telstra Logo Following the approval of Telstra's purchase of Digicel PNG Ltd, the country would benefit from K200 million in capital expenditures in the telecommunications industry over the next two years. The National Information and Communications Authority (Nicta) has given Telstra final approval to transfer licensing rights in the planned Digicel Pacific purchase. Timothy Masiu, the Minister of Information, Communications and Technology, said it was the first time a major Australian telecoms corporation had made such a large investment in PNG. “This means a lot to PNG because we are expecting more areas to be covered by the service that they (Telstra) are bringing. “They will be building towers in areas which are not covered right now.” Digicel PNG Ltd and Hitron Ltd are the only ICT service providers in the nation with their own operator licenses. Kila Gulo-Vui, Nicta's chief executive officer, stated the company will invest up to K200 million in PNG over the next two years, including "capacity improvements from 3G to 4G of surviving Digicel networks." “It also includes a buildup of additional communication infrastructure towers, upgrade of quality of services from 96 per cent to about 99 per cent,” he said. “There is no question on Teltra’s capacity in terms of its technical expertise and financial ability. We expect that to flow into our economy that will contribute to the sectors development and aspirations.” Responding on their thoughts on the approval by Nicta, a Telstra spokesman said: “We are pleased to receive unconditional approval from Nicta on our proposed acquisition of Digicel Pacific. We are working through the final completion steps of the acquisition.”   Reference: Luma, Dale. The National (12 April 2022). “Telstra gets nod from Nicta”.

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PNG Business News - April 11, 2022

Over 3000 Mine Workers in PNG to work when Porgera Mine reopens

Following the recent signing of stakeholder agreements, more than 3,000 workers will be employed when the Porgera mine reopens. “Over the next couple of weeks, the company will hire 3,100 people, most of them Papua New Guineans, (who) will head back to Porgera valley, open the gate and start digging the ground,” State negotiation team chairman Dairi Vele said. “We are hoping that they can announce that the first gold has been processed during June, July, and August.” According to Mark Bristow, president and chief executive officer of Barrick Niugini Ltd (BNL), the cost of restarting the Porgera mine is roughly US$300 million (K1.052 billion). The signing of the agreement at Port Moresby, according to Vele, "signified the reopening of the project." “The main one is the shareholders’ agreement, that is, the coming together to build the company. “That’s not for the Government. “That’s for Kumul Minerals Holdings Ltd (KMHL), the landowners and Barrick. “The company is born today – it is the beginning of the mine.” Vele said the company should be registered in the next 48 hours. “Kumul will own the company with 36 per cent, landowners 15 per cent, and Barrick 49 per cent,” he said. However, the government will receive 53% of the advantages, while Barrick will receive 47%. The 51% government share in the new Porgera firm, according to KMHL managing director Dr John Kuwimb, is made up of 15% for the landowners and the Enga government and 36% for Kumul Minerals. Barrick and the State, he claimed, would each have four directors. “We will work to run Porgera, and this company that we are incorporating will appoint Barrick as the operator,” he said.   Reference: Pacific Ming Watch (7 April 2022). “Over 3000 Mine Workers in PNG to work when Porgera Mine reopens”. 

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PNG Business News - April 11, 2022

Nadzab Airport to be Renovated by End of the Year

Photo credit: Costplan Group  The 1600-meter runway at Nadzab Airport has been finished, with another 800 meters to be renovated by the end of the year before it is completely operational. The final 800 meters of the runway, according to Oriental Consultants Global architect Satoru Ijiri, should be entirely improved by the end of this year. He stated that the airport terminal building is halfway completed and will accommodate both international and local flights. He also stated that airport aeronautical ground lights would be placed to allow planes to land at night by the end of the year. On a visit to the Nadzab Airport Redevelopment project site, Japanese Ambassador Nobuyuki Watanabe noted that refurbishing the airport is a big step toward expanding the airport's function and developing Lae's economy. According to Amb Watanabe, the airport's expansion will increase the capacity of international planes landing and departing straight from Lae's Nadzab International Airport. “I am very happy to see that progress, and I hope the airport will enhance the locals and to improve and upgrade the internationalisation of Lae and to develop the whole economy of Lae,” he said. “Due to the COVID situation, the construction has been suspended for 10 months, but the construction was normalised at the end of last year and is proceeding very smoothly.” The Nadzab Airport Redevelopment Project is a JICA-funded project with a contract signing expected for November 2019. Construction on the project began on February 4, 2020, and it will be finished in April 2023.   Reference: Wafi, Abbegail. Post-Courer (8 April 2022). “1600m Of Nazdab Airport Runway Done”. 

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PNG Business News - April 11, 2022

PNG Government Allots K350 Million Package for Families Says Treasurer

Photo credit: Post Courier - Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey  Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey said the Papua New Guinea government had launched a K350 million package to assist households with the rising cost of living. He stated that the government will do so responsibly, striving at a temporary decrease with expenditures restricted to K350 million as part of a "program of responsible budget repair." The current idea, according to Ling-Stuckey, is to target GST cutbacks on vital household items such as gasoline, wheat, rice, corned beef, canned fish, biscuits, cooking oil, and women's sanitary products. “Given feedback from the community and sectoral interests, we are also examining options for partial or full tax relief on fuel, including import taxes on fuel and excise charges on fuel,” he said. “The necessary legislative changes will be introduced in the Parliament session on April 19. “The National Executive Council will need to consider workable options before then. “I have instructed the acting Treasury secretary to convene and continue talks with the Internal Revenue Commission, Customs and the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) to develop a full set of costed options. “Meetings will occur this week with PNG peak business groups on how best to implement such important administrative changes. “The war between Ukraine and Russia continues to impact cost-of-living pressures on PNG families. “As announced in the March session of Parliament, the Marape-Basil Government is determined to make life easier for families and small businesses through GST tax cuts. “As previously stated in response to some industry groups, just cutting income taxes will only benefit the small proportion of our people in the formal economy, and even then, there will be no benefit for those on minimum wages as they already pay no income taxes. “The preference is GST and fuel excise and fuel import tax cuts. “We need to work with businesses to determine a fair, efficient and fast way to deliver these tax cuts. We need to work with the ICCC to ensure these tax cuts are passed on to families. “I am listening to advise on the proposed household items to benefit from a GST cut. “I am very concerned about the health of our people, including the increase in obesity levels (some say fatness), which increases the chances of diabetes and heart attack and other health conditions. “On this basis, I have recommended the removal of sugar from the proposed GST tax cuts with savings allocated to other key household items. “I look forward to the outcome of consultations with local businesses on how best to deliver these important cost savings for our families. “I understand that our businesses will need to make these changes and there will be some costs. “I hope they understand that this is important for our people. “It is also good for business in that the increased spending power to our families also means that businesses will benefit from that. “The good, steady hand of budget repair and responsible fiscal management under the Marape-Basil Government and quick responsive targeted and balanced understanding the cost of living pressures on families, targeted tax increases through the additional company tax on those that can afford to pay, and targeted tax reductions flowing through to all families and businesses.”   Reference: Papua New Guinea Today (7 April 2022). “PNG Government Sets K350 Million to help Families”.

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PNG Business News - April 07, 2022

Pacific Returns to Positive Growth as Vaccinations, Border Reopenings Strengthen Economies in 2022 — ADB

Photo credit: Asian Development Bank After 2 years of recession caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Pacific is expected to return to positive growth this year, according to the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2022, ADB’s flagship economic publication, which was released today. The economies of ADB’s Pacific developing member countries contracted by 0.6% on average in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to weigh down tourism and trade. Growth in the Pacific is expected to resume at an average of 3.9% in 2022 and 5.4% in 2023. Although most Pacific economies are projected to return to growth in 2022, led by the subregion’s tourism-dependent economies as borders reopen, economic contraction is seen to persist in Solomon Islands with COVID-19 community transmission in the first half of the year, as well as in Tonga due to the impacts of an undersea volcanic eruption and tsunami in January. “Rising vaccination rates will help most of the economies of the Pacific recover from the effects of the pandemic by allowing the safe opening of borders and enabling a return to positive economic growth,” said ADB Director General for the Pacific Leah Gutierrez. “This suggests the Pacific has turned a corner, and that is good news. Now is not the time to be complacent about the vaccine rollout. It is critical for all countries in the subregion to reach a high vaccine coverage. At the same time, efforts to wind back heightened COVID-19 response expenditures, attention to bringing down debt levels, and careful monitoring of inflationary pressures are needed to underpin sustainable and inclusive economic recovery.” High global fuel prices due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine are compounding inflationary pressures in the Pacific through elevated transportation costs and rising prices of imports. On average, inflation in the Pacific is projected to rise sharply to 5.9% in 2022, before easing to 4.7% in 2023. High inflation poses a risk to recovery by potentially constraining economic growth through reduced purchasing power and consumption spending. In 2021, growth in Papua New Guinea (PNG), the biggest economy in the Pacific, was dampened by two COVID-19 surges, underpinned by a very low vaccination rate. Some relief has come from strong commodity prices and fiscal stimulus sustained by ADB and other development partners. Increased mining activities in the second half of the year should contribute to growth of 3.4% in 2022. ADO 2022 says growth in PNG is expected to rise to 4.6% in 2023. Fiji, the subregion’s second-largest economy, is projected to record 7.1% growth in 2022 and 8.5% in 2023. The opening of the country’s borders in December 2021 gives hope for a revival of tourism, which remains key to a quick economic turnaround and restored employment. However, international competition among travel destinations is likely to be intense, says the ADB report. After successfully keeping COVID-19 at bay for almost 2 years, community transmission of the virus broke out in Solomon Islands in January this year. ADO 2022 expects the Solomon Islands economy to contract by 3% in 2022 because of restrictions on mobility and domestic transportation, and associated health impacts of the pandemic. While logging activities are expected to decline in 2023, the expected easing of COVID-19 restrictions will increase construction, fishing, and mining, leading to an economic recovery of 3%. Vanuatu’s economic growth is forecast at 1% in 2022, with growth in public services as well as a recovery in agriculture and construction offset by the domestic transmission of COVID-19, which has delayed the reopening of international borders. Growth is projected to rise to 4% in 2023 as tourism activity revives. The South Pacific economies of the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, and Tonga were, until recently, largely spared the health impacts from community transmission of COVID-19, which allowed time for near-universal vaccine coverage. The report projects growth in the Cook Islands to be 9.1% in 2022 and 11.2% in 2023, supported by a vaccination rate of more than 96% of the eligible population and the acceleration of infrastructure projects to enhance readiness to receive tourists. The economic recovery in Niue will similarly depend on safely easing restrictions and reopening to tourists in the coming months. With no clear sign of borders reopening in Samoa, growth in 2022 is expected to be tepid at 0.4%. Constrained by scarring in the tourism sector, only a slight increase in growth to 2.2% is projected for 2023. The biggest risk to the economic outlook would be any escalation in the community transmission of COVID-19 and a consequent delay in restoring tourism. The delayed reopening of borders in Tonga due to the recent volcanic eruption and community transmission of COVID-19 are likely to slow long-term tourism recovery. ADO 2022 projects an economic contraction of 1.2% for 2022 and a return to positive growth of 2.9% in 2023 assuming borders reopen. The North Pacific economies contracted in 2021, as travel and mobility restrictions continued to stifle tourism in Palau and trade in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Marshall Islands. In the FSM and the Marshall Islands, border reopenings are expected to boost recovery, but this rests on further progress with vaccinations. Economic expansion of 2.2% is expected in the FSM in 2022, accelerating to 4.2% in 2023, while the Marshall Islands economy is projected to return to growth of 1.2% in 2022, picking up to 2.2% in 2023. Growth in the tourism-driven economy of Palau is expected to reach 9.4% in 2022 before accelerating to 18.3% in 2023, provided the effects of the pandemic dissipate, allowing for a gradual return to pre-pandemic levels of international arrivals. The report projects a pickup in growth in the Central Pacific economies of Kiribati and Tuvalu and slower growth in Nauru in 2022. Surging global oil prices will significantly affect inflation in these import-dependent economies. Growth of 1.8% is expected in Kiribati in 2022, picking up to 2.3% in 2023. Nauru’s economic growth will slow to 1% in 2022 and rise to 2.4% in 2023. Tuvalu will experience 3% growth in 2022 and again in 2023. ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.   Article courtesy of the Asian Development Bank

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PNG Business News - April 06, 2022

PM Marape says 2022 elections will go ahead as scheduled

According to James Marape, the 2022 General Election will go place as planned and will not be postponed. He stated this to calm worries that the polls will be postponed, which had been fueled by speculation and bogus news on social media. “The elections will not be delayed and will go ahead as scheduled,” PM Marape said. “We are working together with the Electoral Commission to ensure that the elections are on time.” PM Marape stated that there would be a lot of adjustments in this year's elections. “For purposes of transparency, we will have Transparency International, National Research Institute and civil society representation in the Elections Planning Committee,” he said. “We will have separate voting queues for men and women to cast their votes without undue influence, as in the past. “It is the right of voters to make their choice based on their God-given wisdom – not on inducements, bribery, cash, food, wantok system or hype “We will have CCTV used for counting to make the elections fair and friendly for all.” PM Marape further stated that election officials who engaged in "improper and unlawful behaviour" during polls would face serious punishment. “There will be severe penalties for election officials engaged in corrupt practices at polling places,” he said. “A vote is the sanctified responsibility of each individual to cast his or her vote for a leader, who they feel will represent them in Parliament. “It’s a high calling of each individual and must not be tampered by an ineffective process or corrupt election officials, campaign managers and officials, or candidates themselves.”   Reference: PM James Marape News Page (4 April 2022). “PM Marape says 2022 elections will go ahead as scheduled”.

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PNG Business News - April 06, 2022

ICCC Concerned With Internet Price Regulation

According to the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC), there are still concerns with internet price regulation in the nation. Following consumer complaints over the costs of retail broadband internet services, the ICCC launched a preliminary investigation into the industry. Consumers were concerned that PNG DataCo Ltd price reductions for wholesale internet broadband services in 2021 were not being passed down to them at the retail end, according to ICCC commissioner and chief executive officer Paulus Ain. From December through March, the ICCC investigated consumer complaints to find out what was going on. Internet Service Providers (ISPs), DataCo, Digicel PNG Ltd, Daltron PNG Ltd, Telikom PNG Ltd, and Datec were among the significant industry stakeholders interviewed. “The ICCC raised consumer concerns, seeking information as to why advertised reductions in wholesale prices were not passed on, why consumers were not seeing corresponding price reductions at the retail level,” Ain said. “The National Information and Communications Technology Authority (Nicta), the ICT regulator, was also consulted.” The ICCC found: Different cost structures for ISPs in PNG - mobile network operators and traditional ISPs in the town area have different cost structures that impact their retail price for internet services; Only if the ISP purchases the wholesale service from DataCo is the wholesale pricing a cost input into the retail service pricing. DataCo's National Transmission Network (NTN) is mainly unstable, with too many extended outages, thus ISPs can't rely on it entirely. Additional expenditures paid as the source through different sources - 03B satellites – to retain connectivity; Despite DataCo's claims of a 66% price decrease in their metro fibre service, pricing for this service remain quite costly when compared to equivalent services supplied by foreign service providers. DataCo has vertical integration concerns. DataCo not only owns and operates important wholesale infrastructure, but it also participates in the retail sector. This has caused alarm among the ISPs surveyed by the ICCC, and it may cause future competition problems for the ICCC. Mobile network providers' (Vodafone) potential entry and roll-out might boost market competitiveness. It's also good for DataCo since it gives the NTN another big customer. This might put pressure on DataCo, as the NTN's owner, to increase service offering in order to improve standards and coverage while also being more efficient. “The ICCC understands that Nicta will be conducting an enquiry this year into the retail market for internet broadband services in PNG,” Ain said. “This is due to create regulatory oversight in this segment of the market and enable ISPs to compete efficiently, in providing services to consumers.”   Reference: The National (4 April 2022). “ICCC looks into internet prices”.

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PNG Business News - April 06, 2022

PM Marape opens Maramuni Road, launches Enga-Sepik Highway

Photo: The Maramuni Road at Maramuni Station James Marape claims that his government's trademark 'Connect PNG' program links rural Papua New Guinea like never before. He remarks when unveiling the K15 million 57-kilometre Maramuni Road, which connects Maramuni to Wabag, and launching the Enga-Sepik Highway, which would connect Maramuni to Karawari in East Sepik. The Wabag District Development Authority (DDA) and the Enga Provincial Government built the Maramuni Road across some of the country's most steep and hardest terrain at a low cost. The area is famed for its gold and agriculture and its great unrealized tourism potential; unfortunately, there was no road, so people had to hike to Wabag, which took several days. PM Marape went to Maramuni as soon as he arrived in Port Moresby from Jakarta, Indonesia. He led a government and business group and spent the night before returning to Port Moresby on Saturday. The Prime Minister pledged K10 million in additional funds for the Maramuni Road, as well as K8 million to begin construction on the portion from Maramuni to Karawari. The Maramuni Health Centre was also inaugurated by PM Marape. His entourage included Enga Governor Hon. Hon. Sir Peter Ipatas, Minister of Works and Highways Hon. Michael Nali, Member of Parliament for Angoram Salio Waipo, represents the people of East Sepik, and Hon. Salio Waipo, Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture Hon. Isi Henry Leonard, Minister of Labour and Industrial Relations and Member of Parliament for Lagaip-Porgera Hon. Tomait Kapili, Fisheries Minister and Wabag MP, and Hon. Tomait Kapili, Tomait Kapili, Tomait Kapili, Dr. Lino Tom, who served as the event's host. Representatives from various government departments and agencies were also present, including Works and Highways Secretary David Wereh. PM Marape praised Sir Peter and diligent Dr. Tom for his insight and vision for Maramuni's "lost" people. “We are trying to connect all rural areas right throughout the country,” he said. “In this year’s Budget, we have allocations for 163 roads.” PM Marape stated Maramuni was one of the "missing connections," which included Tabubil-Telefomin, which connects Western and West Sepik, Karamui-Kundiawa in Chimbu, Finschhafen-Lae in Morobe, and others. “We are trying to connect all these missing links,” he said. PM Marape said that his predecessor, Peter O'Neill, had focused solely on Port Moresby, neglecting rural communities such as Maramuni. “Over the last three years, we have spent K15 million on the Maramuni Road – which is not a lot of money,” he said. “To break down mountains along the Maramuni Road would require K50 to K60 million. “I want to thank the leader of Enga, especially Governor Ipatas, and Dr. Lino, for making it possible.” PM Marape also praised the construction crew for being honest and hardworking in their efforts to build the road while avoiding the use of unneeded costly contractors. “I want to thank Dr Lino, Governor Ipatas, the team on the ground, including local boys who handled the machines, for putting smiles on both young and old faces at Maramuni,” he said. “This place has gold, coffee, and so many other resources. “However, we have forgotten them until now for so long.”   Reference: PM James Marape News Page (2 April 2022). “PM Marape opens Maramuni Road, launches Enga-Sepik Highway

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PNG Business News - April 06, 2022

Australia financing $158 million for upgrades and refurbishments to Papua New Guinea’s energy and road networks

Photo credit: Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific Australia will provide $158 million for repairs and refurbishments to Papua New Guinea's electricity and transportation networks under the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific. A $86 million finance package for the Laitim Hauslain project to upgrade national electricity infrastructure is part of Australia's contribution. This initiative will provide power to 30,000 to 40,000 houses, schools, and clinics in the provinces of Morobe and East New Britain, many of which will be connected for the first time. The Australian funding is part of the PNG Electrification Partnership, which aims to reach 70% electrification by 2030, an important goal for the Papua New Guinean government. Improved access to electricity would help Papua New Guineans achieve better economic and development results, as well as assist economic growth in local communities and enhance the delivery of essential services. Australia has also committed $72 million to the national road network, which will help link communities and enhance access to markets. The funds will help the Papua New Guinea Department of Works and Highways repair and maintain roughly 359 kilometres of road along the Wau Highway in Morobe Province and the Sepik Highway in East Sepik and West Sepik (Sandaun) provinces. The money will help with the design of the projected Trans-National Highway. This will help the Papua New Guinean government move on with its key Connect PNG Strategy, a 20-year strategy to improve critical links throughout the country's four regions. Both investments will create jobs for Papua New Guineans and use local resources to help the country grow.   Reference: Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (31 March 2022). “Lighting houses and connecting communities in Papua New Guinea”.

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PNG Business News - April 06, 2022

NASFUND SIGNS MOU WITH CEFI

Photo: Judah Waffi (Head of Special Projects – Nasfund) & Saliya Ranasinghe (CEFI Executive Director) The National Superannuation Fund (Nasfund) Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI) on March 31, 2022.  This MoU is a 12-month partnership between Nasfund and CEFI that enables both organizations to work together in providing financial literacy training to Nasfund’s more than 623,000 members. The Fund’s collaboration with CEFI is important as it empowers Nasfund employees to be champion advocates of the savings culture through financial literacy. Commenting on this development, Nasfund CEO Ian Tarutia was pleased with the partnership, which would benefit the Fund’s membership and the communities it operates in.  “The importance of saving for retirement is a priority for the Fund, especially when engaging with our members right across the country. Educating our members on the pathway to a comfortable living after active employment, including how much is required to fund a meaningful retirement is a key focus for us. There is also the challenge of the unbanked segment of our population which is being addressed through the BPNG initiative to extend financial inclusion across the country. We support this program and will play our part in increasing coverage. This is why working alongside CEFI under this partnership is especially meaningful in preparing our staff to drive financial literacy to our membership. A well-informed membership makes well-informed decisions – this is crucial, especially in retirement.”  Under CEFI’s Training of Trainer (TOT) program, 60 selected Nasfund staff will undergo a 5-day training session conducted by CEFI aimed at equipping and upskilling Nasfund staff on the planning, delivery and monitoring of financial literacy training for Nasfund members.  CEFI’s reach for financial inclusion through Nasfund’s branch network and continuous engagement with its membership will be extensive. Nasfund is looking forward to working together with CEFI to promote financial inclusion through education.  Similar sentiments were shared by CEFI Executive Director Saliya Ranasinghe. “Financial education plays a very important role as it brings new knowledge and changes attitude,” said CEFI Executive Director Mr Saliya Ranasignhe. “We hope this initiative will change the lives of Papua New Guineans to have a better standard of living,” Mr Ranasinghe added.   Article courtesy of CEFI

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PNG Business News - April 04, 2022

PM Marape concludes State visit to Indonesia

With a one-on-one meeting and bilateral discussions with President Widodo, James Marape ended his Official State Visit to Jakarta, the capital of the Republic of Indonesia. PM Marape has extended President Widodo an invitation to visit PNG later this year on behalf of the PNG government. He stated that the two nations' ties must now shift away from border negotiations and focus more on trade and economic links, as well as business-to-business and people-to-people interactions. “Some relationships we have are not by choice and we have no choice over it,, but they exist by the design of God, “ PM Marape said. “For us PNG and Indonesia, it is a relationship that we cannot ignore because we are here to  stay. “We are not just friends,, but more than brothers and sisters, and our nations have been together and existed since time immemorial. “PNG is,, Mr President, very closer to Indonesia in that respect in our relationship to our brotherhood and sisterhood relationship. ’’ PM Marape stated this following the bilateral discussions during a joint press conference. “We have always had a good relationship since 1976 when our two nations established formal relationships, “ he said. “I just want to say thank you very much again for accepting us to come to pay a courtesy call on short notice, and pay our due respects and give recognition where it is due. “That is especially the respect and support Indonesia has given to us, since the last 46 years we have been together since our nations got independence. “Indonesia stood us with in many fronts. From the workload and support when we became formal bilateral partners in 1976, and you were responsible for our admission to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) membership. “You have always been there for us in some difficult times, as we have struggled as a nation in our crisis days, in our stressful financial days, and lately in the COVID-19 stress and pandemic that affected our economies. “ PM Marape thanked President Widodo for assisting PNG with the Indonesian Department of Health. “We PNG Government, business houses and leaders and PNG public servants, will forever be grateful to Indonesia as we have been in the past, “ he said. “Today has been the first step, and my delegation here has been totally given the due respect, as we feel it and also it is due for us to extend our invitation to you and the Government of Indonesia to visit Port Moresby next year so that we have those hands-on meetings. “The extent of our discussions between our two nations, as it was done when the then Indonesian President and our PNG Prime Minister, who then met and reached an understanding in that Comprehensive Partnership Agreement that the two Leaders come up with in 2013 shall continue. “Unfortunately, after nine years, those exchanges have not progressed further. I am happy that under your leadership as Mr Presiden,   see the importance of that reconnection with PNG at the Government to Government level is held like today. “For the public, it is not just myself and the President and the Government. We have brought ministers from both sides to get them connected, we are bringing our private and business sector, and those special contacts that are important for our two nations to coexist going into the future supporting each other. “For PNG, Indonesia is a big country, a three trillion dollar economy and they are hosting G20 this year. I wish them, Indonesia, the very best and we thank you for hosting and inviting the Pacific Island Forum to the margins of the G20 meeting later this year. “This indicates that Indonesia is a big economy and is a sleeping giant. PNG is tapping into that potential Indonesia has already. “Mr President I just want to conclude by saying that our comprehensive discussions that we have just held at personal levels went well. “At the Government to Government level, our bilateral discussions are going well. We look forward to officials from both sides working on agreements like the Defense Cooperation Agreement, which will be finalized very soon. “ Apart from the border accords and dialogues, PM Marape stated that PNG want increased business ties and exchanges. “We also want such exchanges not only at the border level talks but the business level, “ he said. “’For so long, we have held discussions and focused on border issues. These discussions today with the President and myself were outside of border and more into trade, business, economy, public service exchanges, health and education services exchanges and it was a timely representing our two peoples and nations. ‘’We look forward to our meeting in Port Moresby next year to see how much we have progressed.”   Reference: PM James Marape News Page (31 March 2022). “PM Marape concludes State visit to Indonesia”.

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PNG Business News - April 04, 2022

PNG Expo2020 Dubai - A Journey of success

Photo: Major Richard Elizah from the PNG Defence Force (left) receives Commissioner General’s Certificate of Excellence from Ambassador Joshua Kalinoe, who officiated at the PNG Expo2020 Pavilion Closing Dinner on behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Hon. Soroi Eoe. Major Elizah is seconded from the PNGDF as Logistics Manager for Dubai Expo team. The PNG Commissioner General for Expo2020 and Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union, His Excellency, Mr. Joshua Kalinoe has described Papua New Guinea’s participation in the Dubai Expo2020 as the “journey of success”. He was officiating on behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Hon. Sori Eoe at the Pavilion Closing Dinner he hosted to thank all the pavilion, staff, partners, stakeholders and the PNG community in Dubai, at the Pullman hotel on Monday 27 March. Minister Eoe was unable to attend due to other urgent commitments. Ambassador Kalinoe, said that the staff of the pavilion, led by the Deputy Commissioner General Mrs Jacinta-Warakai Manua, have done their country proud. “The staff has lived up to the expectation of their people and country as they worked very long hours, 24-seven, not only in pavilion duties but also planning and executing trade and investment events during the expo led thematic weeks. “Papua New Guinea was one of the countries that actively participated in expo led programmes within the context of the pavilion’s strategic participation framework that was approved for implementation by the Marape Cabinet, “ Ambassador Kalinoe said. He said for most of the long term pavilion staff, days and months have been going so fast as if it was like a few weeks away when they first arrived on the shores of the United Arab Emirates and sadly the time has come for them to leave. “Apart from speaking to thousands of people going through Pavilion from the four corners of the World, the Pavilion staff also made friends with individuals and colleagues from both the Pacific Islands region, and other parts of the World. Expo2020 was a truly, one world-village experience,” he said. He said by attending to events organized by the Expo2020 Secretariat and other pavilions, we have learnt, listened and shared from each others’ experience and innovations. “For PNG, this experience has opened up visibility and created new opportunities for trade, investment and innovations that we would accommodate into our mix of variables in Living in Balance with Nature, the catch word we used throughout the Pavilion’s organized programmes,” Ambassador told the audience. He said, like the other Pacific Islands states, we are an island nation sharing the vast Pacific Ocean. The Blue Economy is also important for us. In Expo 2020 however, PNG focused on the Green Economy because the Island of New Guinea host the third largest rainforest in the World, of which PNG has the largest share. He said through Expo2020, we have told the world of our efforts to protect this international asset through our two-part Roundtable discussions and several business forums where the forest, tourism and agricultural resources the country is so blessed with are sustainably utilized. This means living in balance with Nature. He said the two roundtable discussions on Living in Balance with Nature have resulted in a very positive response from Europe, North America, Asia and the United Arab Emirates. Ideas on the sustainable use of the forest through science, research and innovation where exchanged and positive outcomes were concluded, including the following; MOU was signed between a PNG Forest Concession Holder Company and a North American Environment Management Company for Carbon Trade partnership. A coalition of international academics formed to carry out scientific research into the forest biodiversity, agriculture and other economic use of the land and natural resources, including in hydrogen gas conversion and production as well as block chain and crypto currency trade. Establishment of a private equity venture capital Sustainable Development fund. “During the Agriculture thematic week the Pavilion signed a Letter Of Intent (LOI) with the Dubai Multi-commodities Centre (DMCC) for trade in agriculture and mineral products and discussions a ongoing with a Abu Dhabi based company for similar partnership arrangements. “The PNG-DMCC partnership has in fact started with the launch of the PNG-DMCC coffee brand last month where PNG Coffee beans are brewed and packed at the DMCC Coffee Centre in Dubai and distributed through the DMCC marketing system.” Ambassador Kalinoe said. He said in April, we will take the post Expo journey to Abu Dhabi were a B2B and G2B networking dialogue will be staged and it is hoped that more LOIs will be signed from the Expression of Interests that the Pavilion has received to date. Because PNG is not well known throughout the World, we also used the Pavilion Journey to create visibility. Click Media, a Dubai based media platform partnered with us and the PNG Pavilion story has been told throughout the Arab World and parts of Europe, Asia, North America While the Pavilion journey will stop at midnight on 31 March, the journey to connect the World and keep alive some of the outcomes and connections using the Dubai and UAE experience will continue. Through the pavilion journey we have learnt that the UAE is truly a springboard for PNG to jump from to access opportunities in the East, West, North and the South. The pavilion staff were also presented with the Certificates of Participation, The Commissioner General’s Special Award of Commendation was presented to Mrs Jacinta Warakai-Manua, Ms Daure Kiromat, Ms Emily Lopili, Major Richard Elizah Ms Pauline Raman and Ms Nerolyn Kuamugl.

Business

Paul Oeka - April 04, 2022

Credit Guarantee Corporation Launched

Photo: Credit Guarantee Corporation The Bank of Papua New Guinea has launched the Credit Guarantee Corporation to help sustain and increase the growth of the Small to medium enterprise (SME) sector. Small businesses in Papua New Guinea will now leverage on the Credit Guarantee Corporation (CGC) to grow their businesses. The Credit Guarantee Corporation launching on Tuesday 29th of March 2022 at the APEC House in Port Moresby will see it provide financial collateral as security to small businesses operated by Papua New Guineans to grow their Businesses. SME’s can now be able to secure a guarantee from the CGC to start or expand their business. According to the Government the CGC is a credit supplementing institution within the financial system and acts as a guarantor to SME’s loans. BPNG acting Director Benny Popoitai clarified that CGC will provide loan security to financial institutions on behalf of PNG owned businesses. Popoitai Said “The Credit Guarantee Corporation will be owned by the Central bank and will be managed independently by the Bank of PNG under its Laws” The CGC was initially approved by the government and was first announced by then Minister for National Planning Mr. Richard Maru during his presentation of the Public Investment program in the 2019 budget press lock- up. Prime Minister James Marape Acknowledged the work of the Bank of Papua New Guinea for implementing the NEC’s decision by launching the CGC. He made a government commitment of K50 million to carry out CGC operations. The establishment of the CGC in PNG is part of major reforms undertaken in the SME sector since 2014.

Business

PNG Business News - April 01, 2022

PAPUA NEW GUINEA SET FOR SECOND EITI VALIDATION COMMENCING APRIL 2022

Papua New Guinea’s second country validation on implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Global Standard commences on Friday, April, 1st, 2022.  Head of the PNGEITI National Secretariat Mr. Lucas Alkan says the “validation” is intended to assess the impact EITI implementation has made in the country in terms of addressing sector governance challenges. The six months validation exercise will entail an independent and comprehensive assessment with an announcement on the outcome by the international EITI board expected in October.     “Our second country Validation will be a quality assessment on how far we have progressed implementing the EITI International best practice requirements in PNG,” Mr. Alkan said. PNG was awarded “meaningful progress” ranking in its first Validation in 2018 with recommendations to close EITI reporting gaps and this validation will assess how PNG implemented recommendations and other EITI requirements under the EITI Standard.   “The validation focuses on the efforts made by the country in; implementing the specific requirements as prescribed by the EITI Standard, the lessons learned or challenges faced in the country’s effort to implement these requirements, the progress made in undertaking policy and legislative reforms as recommended through the EITI country reports, as well as any concerns stakeholders may have in the extractive sector relating to resource governance for better management of the sector,” Lucas Alkan explained.   PNG’s validation will be undertaken in 3 phases. Firstly, staff from the EITI International, the PNGEITI Secretariat and its Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) will undertake a desk review of all relevant documentations of the PNGEITI since its inception. Upon completion of the desk review, staff from the EITI International Secretariat will undertake stakeholder consultations with the intent of drawing up the initial validation assessment report. Upon completion of the country consultations, the EITI International Secretariat team will compile an initial assessment report. An Independent Validator will then review the initial assessment report, do an independent assessment and compile a draft Validation Report. PNG, through PNGEITI MSG will be given an opportunity to assess and provide further feedback on the draft Report before a final Report is submitted to the EITI Board for deliberation and decision making. “The validation process commences on 1st April and all stakeholders from key government entities, industry players, civil society organizations and development partners are requested to provide necessary information and support when contacted during the consultation process to ensure PNG achieves a good scoring in this second round of assessment,” Mr. Alkan said.  

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Business

PNG Business News - March 29, 2022

PM Marape commends Minister Rosso on Strata Title Law

Photo: Downtown Port Moresby Lands and Physical Planning John Rosso was praised by Hon. James Marape. In Parliament, Rosso applauded the approval of the Strata Title Management Bill 2022, as well as associated legislation and amendments (March 23 2022). Because of a rising population and a lack of land, the bill permits people to acquire units and flats in high-rise structures. PM Marape explained that the bill was enacted to modernize the country's land and housing industries. Smaller Pacific countries like Fiji and Vanuatu, according to the Prime Minister, already have strata title legislation. “This is a response to our country’s need for housing,” he said. “The minister has worked very hard on this at the sunset of this term of Parliament.” PM Marape reminded everyone that only 3% of the country's 462,000 square kilometers are held by the government. He explained that, with the rising demand for land, there was a need for more affordable housing, which the new law addressed by allowing people to purchase units and apartments in high-rise buildings. PM Marape stated that this law was only one of several that his administration has approved since taking office in May of this year. “This law was first talked about 20 years ago,” he said. “It may seem just like any ordinary Act of Parliament that we’re passing today, however, far that. “This has a direct value on the economy. “If one person owns a piece of real estate in an urban area and decides to build a 20-floor building, in which you can find over 60-70 units, these can be individually titled out. “You don’t need to own a piece of land to have title to an apartment that you can call home. “This is a law to modernise some of the legacy issues that we have carried through.” PM Marape thanked both parties in Parliament for their help in getting the new law passed.   Reference: PM James Marape News Page (23 March 2022). “PM Marape commends Minister Rosso on Strata Title Law”.

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