BELDEN NAMAH MP
| Leader of the PNG Opposition
PORT MORESBY - The price of gold has taken off around the world as the Covid-19 pandemic pushes investors to turn away from currencies to buy gold but PNG is missing out because of the continued closure of Porgera gold mine.
The government of prime minister James Marape is fully responsible for this loss of revenue because of its decision to refuse an extension of the special mining lease to Canadian miner Barrick and the protracted court proceedings that have resulted.
In addition to loss of potential revenue for the mine from the surge in gold price, the nation is missing out hundreds of millions of kina in taxation.
The Enga Provincial Government is losing tens of millions of kina of its contribution from the mine.
The Porgera mine community is missing out on revenue and essential services such as electricity, transport and health services.
Over 2,650 employees may be laid off work if the mine does not reopen quickly and scores of contractors who depend on the mine are now without business.
The government's threatening posture is also driving away foreign investors and causing those already in the country to scale down operations such as Oil Search Limited's recent decision to sell off its exploration equipment.
The Papua LNG looks like it is on permanent hold and any hope for a separate third LNG project at P'nyang is now fading away fast.
Other prospective exploration work are going to slow down and agreements for proven up reserves such as at Wafi Golfu and Frieda River are going to adopt a ‘wait and see’ attitude.
Foreign direct investment in any country is directly linked to political stability and predictability. That is why sovereign risk rates as a big factor in a country's credit rating and suitability as an investment destination.
This government is now hiding conveniently behind the pandemic law.
It has failed to enunciate any economic policies or programs to prepare the nation to withstand the effects of the global economic downturn as a result of Covid-19.
It has failed to deliver a supplementary budget as it should have at the last sitting of parliament. We are yet to see the results of the Covid-19 stimulus package of K5.6 billion announced by the Treasurer, Ian Ling Stuckey.
Taken together this government has totally failed the people at a time when the people need their government the most.
We cannot allow such a government to continue in office any much longer.