The Need for Cheaper Energy
During the handover ceremony of Petroleum Minster Kerenga Kua to Energy Minister William Onglo, the former chided the latter that at this point in time, there should be a department created for the energy sector.
“For Papua New Guinea’s quest for development, (we should start) by making energy a standalone department, with its own dedicated minister, with its own dedicated secretary and staff,” Kua said. “We have about 30 to 40 dedicated staff at the energy wing. Presently, under the public service determinations, we are one department.”
He added, though that the sooner the Energy Minister advances his department, the better it is for the country.
He continued, “Some of your challenges would be sourcing different sources of energy. There are all sorts of energy that you can look at. In PNG’s case, we have so much cheap energy, and cheap labour. But what has been lacking has been cheap energy.. We have not been able to figure out how to provide ourselves, cheap, affordable energy. It’s through the energy that you will encourage industrialisation.”
As a response, Onglo agrees that the energy in the country has gained ground and deserves to have a separate minister. “No doubt the energy sector is now gaining momentum as a very important driver to economic growth and deserves a separate minister,” he said. “I will ensure that the Energy Bill is presented to the NEC for endorsement and to the National Parliament for enactment as soon as possible.”
There are, of course, major challenges, Onglo said, but he is still hopeful that this department will push through.