Business, resources & economy Feed

Marape urges patience over Porgera

Landowners
Porgera landowners protest against Canadian company Barrick Gold Ltd

NEWS DESK
| Radio New Zealand | Edited

AUCKLAND - Papua New Guinea's prime minister James Marape has urged patience while negotiations continue over the contract for the Porgera gold mine.

Canadian company Barrick Gold Ltd, which operates the mine in Enga Province with China's Zijin Mining Group, is pushing to renew its contract.

Continue reading "Marape urges patience over Porgera" »


ADB helps Kina Bank improve services

Kina
Kina Bank's equity boost from the Asian Development Bank will help promote its lending to small business customers

NEWS DESK
| Asian Development Bank

PORT MORESBY - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has made a $10 million (K34 million) equity investment into Kina Securities Limited, a fast-growing financial services company in Papua New Guinea.

The investment will help to increase the availability of sustainable financial services and support growth in PNG.

Continue reading "ADB helps Kina Bank improve services" »


Something fishy about MRDC deal

Mek
Sir Mekere Morauta - "Foreign consultants have been boasting of their potentially dominant market power "

SIR MEKERE MORAUTA | Edited

PORT MORESBY - Arrangements between two foreign consultancies and the Mineral Resources Development Corporation to build power plants might be treating PNG landowners as fronts to ship out millions of kina.

Under arrangements I’ve been made aware of, the interests of foreign companies seem to have been given preference over a cheap and reliable national power supply and financial returns to the PNG LNG landowner groups who have invested in MRDC’s power-generation plans.

Continue reading "Something fishy about MRDC deal" »


Debt repayment: Tough year 2020

Ian Ling Stuckey MP
Ian Ling Stuckey - During the O'Neill regime “every year the average living standard of every person went backward by over K100”

SCOTT WAIDE
| EMTV Online | Edited

PORT MORESBY - The Papua New Guinea government is projecting a  tough year in 2020 as it contends with a shrinking economy and a K4 billion budget deficit.

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey has handed down a K18.7 billion budget whilst issuing a scathing attack on former prime minister Peter O’Neill for what he described as the “mismanagement of the PNG economy”.

Continue reading "Debt repayment: Tough year 2020" »


B’ville to revive mining proposal

Raymond masono
Raymond Masono - "“Panguna is the most likely project that can bankroll Bougainville’s independence from PNG”

NEWS DESK
| Reuters | Extract

SYDNEY — Bougainville vice-president Raymond Masono said he will revive a plan to overhaul the region’s mining laws after its ongoing independence referendum, which could strip the former operator of the Panguna gold and copper project of its interests.

The proposed changes, which have been criticised by Panguna landowners, would also erase an interest in the project held by the Papua New Guinea government, potentially complicating negotiations between the two governments after the referendum.

Continue reading "B’ville to revive mining proposal" »


Australia to loan PNG K1 billion

Marape Morrison
James Marape and Scott Morrison - Australia's billion kina loan equals about what PNG lost in its ill-fated venture into Oil Search

TOM McILROY
| Australian Financial Review | Extracts

SYDNEY - Australia will loan Papua New Guinea $442 million (K1 billion)) in direct budget assistance designed to secure essential government services and rebuff financial overtures from China.

The Morrison government agreed to the loan request from PNG prime minister James Marape, offering immediate financial support linked to his plans for longer-term economic reforms in the struggling nation.

Continue reading "Australia to loan PNG K1 billion" »


Is Gordons a turning point for PNG markets?

Gordons exterior
Port Moresby's new Gordons Market - symbol of progress or another chance to sink into chaos and anarchy?

BUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO

PORT MORESBY - The much talked about refurbished Gordons Market was officially opened on the 31 October at a cost of K30 million, most of the funds coming from the New Zealand Government and the National Capital Development Commission.

The market is said to be the biggest fresh produce market in the Pacific and will cater for up to 1,500 vendors.

Continue reading "Is Gordons a turning point for PNG markets?" »


Limited pot of money, says Treasurer

PNG Budget
Ian Ling-Stuckey and his Treasury team – “The budget process is a tough one – a demanding one requiring balancing different claims on a very limited pot of money”

IAN LING-STUCKEY MP
| PNG Treasury Minister

PORT MORESBY - Budget repair is difficult. It requires an honest approach, one that exposes the economic lies of the O’Neill years.

It requires an ability to make tough decisions, such as the K1,482 million spending cuts in the 2019 supplementary budget.

Continue reading "Limited pot of money, says Treasurer" »


Ok Tedi locked in new legal fight

Landowner Alex Maun
Landowner Alex Maun in the dying forest near Ok Tedi River. He sued BHP in the 1990s (Alex de la Rue)

NICK TOSCANO
| Sydney Morning Herald/The Age

MELBOURNE - A fresh legal dispute has erupted over control of a fund set up to benefit the tens of thousands of villagers affected by mining giant BHP's environmental disaster at the Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea more than 20 years ago.

The Ok Tedi mine – which BHP co-owned with the PNG government until selling its stake in 2002 – discharged tens of millions of tonnes of mine waste into the local river system during the 1980s and 1990s, contaminating fish and trees and devastating the area's economy.

Continue reading "Ok Tedi locked in new legal fight" »


It was truly a night to remember

Kumbon - 2 of Lisa Arut's designs
Models showcase two of Lisa Arut's original designs at the PNG Fashion Week grand finale

DANIEL KUMBON

PORT MORESBY – “Last night’s Papua New Guinea fashion week extravaganza was mind boggling.

“It was a night of cultural renaissance, an awakening of another kind. Fashion has never been my forte but last night was a night to remember.”

These are the words I entered in my diary last Sunday morning after attending the memorable fashion week grand finale, named appropriately ‘The Awakening the Night Before’.

Continue reading "It was truly a night to remember" »


Corruption costs billions, trashes economy

Eddie Tanago (2)
Eddie Tanago - Act Now has identified 19 measures the government should use to attack corruption

EDDIE TANAGO
| Campaign Manager | Act Now!

PORT MORESBY - International research shows that corruption is costing Papua New Guinea billions of kina every year. It is ruining our economy and impoverishing the nation.

If the government is serious about making PNG ‘the richest black nation on earth’ then it must introduce a raft of reforms to ensure we have open and transparent government.

Continue reading "Corruption costs billions, trashes economy" »


The true state of PNG’s budget

Ian Ling Stuckey MP
Treasurer Ian Ling Stuckey - "The former prime minister Peter O'Neill has left PNG with an illegal debt legacy"

IAN LING-STUCKEY MP
| Minister for Treasury | Extracts

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s budget deficit had climbed to K4,636 million – the legacy of former prime minister Peter O’Neill.

Budget deficits add to public debt. This means the O’Neill regime’s policies were going to add another K4,636 million to public debt in 2019. PNG’s public debt was therefore going to increase to an extraordinary K33,045 million.

Continue reading "The true state of PNG’s budget" »


PNG has options to solve its budget crisis

David Kitchnoge
David Kitchnoge - "PNG does have options and we need to go into negotiations knowing what they are"

DAVID KITCHNOGE

PORT MORESBY - The fact that the International Monetary Fund admitted its failure in its assistance to Greece showed it was willing to learn from its mistakes and avoid the pitfalls in similar cases.

The key is always that, whatever solution Papua New Guinea adopts to get our economy going again, would be a negotiated outcome with multilateral financial institutions like IMF.

Continue reading "PNG has options to solve its budget crisis" »


Capitalism: No morality outbreak any time soon

Smith
Adam Smith did not envisage a world dominated by huge, impersonal corporations but understood the economic and social dangers they posed

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Like Phil Fitzpatrick (‘Is moral capitalism even possible?’), I have been thinking about whether capitalism can ever be conducted in a moral and ethical way.

And like him, I can remember another time and place where the absence of great corporations meant capitalism worked along the lines foreseen by Adam Smith when he wrote ‘Wealth of Nations’.

Continue reading "Capitalism: No morality outbreak any time soon" »


Rich paradise or poor third world nation?

Apprehensive boyJEFFREY FEBI

LUFA - There's disagreement about whether Papua New Guinea is rich or impoverished.

Many people, including leaders like Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and current prime minister James Marape, support the view that we are in fact rich.

Many others, including myself, differ. We believe Papua New Guinea is a poor nation.

Continue reading "Rich paradise or poor third world nation?" »


Could PNG’s kaukau crops be threatened?

Kaukau1
Cultivating kaukau in the highlands - there are 1,000 varieties of sweet potato in PNG alone

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, the sweet potato is the world’s seventh most important crop in terms of the weight of food produced.

Sweet potato was first domesticated in the Americas more than 5,000 years ago but didn’t reach Papua New Guinea until about 500 years ago.

When it did it created major shifts in settlement patterns and accelerated population growth.

Continue reading "Could PNG’s kaukau crops be threatened?" »


Bougainville: If it’s to be capitalism, let it be moral

Roka - Leonard on the shore at Kangu
Leonard Roka on the shore at Kangu - looking across to the Solomons triggers thoughts of the small friends who helped Bougainville achieve its post-crisis peace

LEONARD FONG ROKA

PANGUNA - The population of Bougainville is around 300,000 so, when looking at other small Pacific island states and their standard of living, the province’s development does not need a mine operating at the scale we knew at Panguna before the Bougainville conflict.

All of us know that the Papua New Guinea government does not clothe us, it does not feed us and it does not protect us.

Continue reading "Bougainville: If it’s to be capitalism, let it be moral" »


We stripped & skinned; but money’s not security

Roka - Teacher in the Panguna classroom
Inside the John Roka school, but "the able population tilts each day not to education but towards where it smells the money in the burrows"

LEONARD FONG ROKA

PANGUNA – No, I’m not lost from my PNG Attitude family; just accumulating more energy living in the midst of the corporate-mining-politics ridden Panguna mountains trying to educate my young people in a little early childhood institution.

It’s known locally as the John Roka Memorial School and was established by my siblings in honour of our West New Britain father, John Roka, killed by the Bougainville Revolutionary Army in that terrible civil war.

Continue reading "We stripped & skinned; but money’s not security" »


Engan yakait seeds selling like crazy in Moresby

Paul & wheelbarrow load of seedlings
Paul Kastas & his wheelbarrow load of yakait seedlings - just 10 kina each

DANIEL KUMBON

PORT MORESBY – Just recently I was proud to see Paul Kastas at Waikele Market in Port Moresby.

I knew him because many years ago he used to sell Enga Nius for us on the streets of Wabag. We lived in the same location at Aipus in Wabag town.

Now, here at a market in Moresby, he was selling something very important in Enga society - yakait (also known as tokak) seedlings.

Continue reading "Engan yakait seeds selling like crazy in Moresby" »


PNG cash flow crippled says Treasurer

Ian Ling-Stuckey
Ian Ling-Stuckey - "Poor national budgets have distorted development planning and service delivery"

KEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s treasurer, Ian Ling-Stuckey, has said the O’Neill government’s mismanagement of the economy has crippled the nation’s cash flows.

“There is some bad news coming but this government has already commenced work on solutions,” Mr Ling-Stuckey said in a media release.

Continue reading "PNG cash flow crippled says Treasurer" »


Hela: Will the people avenge Big Pig LNG?

Prized big pig in the main street of Tari (Albert Tagua)
Prized big pig in the main street of Tari (Albert Tagua)

SIMON DAVIDSON
| An entry in the Crocodile Prize

SONOMA – The highlands province of Hela is host to a multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas project. But operating alongside the wonders of modern technology is a culture full of rich tradition and custom.

Hela functions on the patrilineal system, where the man owns everything: the land, the pigs and he is the heir of the father’s riches, knowledge of the sacred rites and traditional history.

Continue reading "Hela: Will the people avenge Big Pig LNG?" »


Neo-colonialism: It’s not personal; it’s just business

Not personalCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The sanctions imposed upon Iran by the USA are causing a huge amount of damage to that country’s economy.

The people of Iran, as distinct from the ruling regime, are suffering a great deal as a consequence.

What surprised me was that an apparently quite closed and tightly controlled economy like Iran’s was so susceptible to the influence of the US government’s edicts.

Continue reading "Neo-colonialism: It’s not personal; it’s just business" »


PNG in 'economic hole' says new treasurer

Ian Ling-Stuckey
 Ian Ling-Stuckey - "The PNG  economy has been struggling and bleeding. Budget prospects for 2019 are extremely difficult. There is bad news coming"

NEWS DESK | Radio New Zealand | Edited

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea is in an "increasingly fragile fiscal position" and an "economic hole", according to PNG's new Treasury Minister Ian Ling-Stuckey.

The precarious situation was revealed by a check of the government's finances by treasury and economic officials.

Continue reading "PNG in 'economic hole' says new treasurer" »


Did 'presource curse' just deliver a pile of dung?

Continue reading "Did 'presource curse' just deliver a pile of dung?" »


Malaysian companies exploit oil palm workers

Children on oil palm estate
Children on an oil palm estate - life in camps with no schools and their birthright disappearing

NEWS DESK | Sarawak Report | Edited extract

SARAWAK, MALAYSIA - Dayak landowners of Sarawak will take no pleasure, but experience little surprise, in hearing how the people of Papua New Guinea have been ill-treated by logging and oil palm plantation conglomerates based in East Malaysia.

These are companies who first robbed Sarawakians of their land rights before extending operations into virtually all the remaining timber reserves on the planet.

Continue reading "Malaysian companies exploit oil palm workers" »


Date set for UBS loan inquiry; Australian judge will assist

John Gilmour
John Gilmour - Scottish-born Australian former judge and expert in commercial law will join Sir Salamo Injia in UBS-Oil Search inquiry

JONATHAN BARRETT | Reuters

SYDNEY - Papua New Guinea will start preliminary hearings on Thursday 19 September into the terms of a K2.8 billion loan from Swiss bank UBS used for an ill-fated government investment in the gas sector, the inquiry’s chairman said on Monday.

The timetable and terms of reference, released for the first time, also include a focus on how the UBS loan used to buy a government stake in PNG-focused energy firm Oil Search was obtained, whether it resembled previous loans, and whether the government broke its own rules in taking out the loan.

Chairman Salamo Injia, a former chief justice, said in a statement that retired Australian judge John Gilmour would also join the inquiry as a second commissioner.

“The appointments of [an] overseas commissioner and counsel were necessary given the international dimensions of the UBS transactions,” Salamo said.

Continue reading "Date set for UBS loan inquiry; Australian judge will assist" »


Can two of PNG's most depressed regions converge & prosper?

Fly River port  Kiunga  Western Province (Adrian Mathias)
Western District's upriver port on the Fly River at Kiunga - what happens when the copper, gold and silver run out?

CLEMENT KAUPA

PORT MORESBY – On the first Thursday in June, soon after Oil Search chief executive Peter Botten addressed the 244th Sydney Mining Club forum over luncheon in Australia, a mother and her two sons drowned in the remote South Fly District of Papua New Guinea’s Western Province.

The tragedy which took the lives of the mother and her child and an infant occurred after a boat they were travelling in with relatives capsized in rough waters at the mouth of the Karu River. They left behind the father, a Port Moresby-based police officer, and three older siblings.

The family travelling in the ill-fated boat was on its way to the village of Sepe on the West Kiwai coast, escorting for burial the body of a deceased police officer from Port Moresby.

Continue reading "Can two of PNG's most depressed regions converge & prosper?" »


Buin-born mining veteran David Osikore joins BCL board

David Osikore (second right) briefs colleagues about the Wafi gold deposit south of Lae (Mike Porter)
David Osikore (second right) briefs colleagues on the Wafi gold deposit near Lae (Mike Porter)

KEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY – Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) has announced the appointment of David Osikore to the company’s board of directors.

Osikore, 57, was born in Buin and has spent 30 years in the exploration and mining industries in Papua New Guinea and Australia.

His career began with the PNG Department of Mines and has since traversed roles ranging from exploration geologist to managing director. He is currently also on the board of Pacific Niugini Minerals PNG.

Osikore nominates his involvement with the prefeasibility study associated with PNG’s Hidden Valley and Hamata gold projects among his career highlights.

BCL chairman Sir Mel Togolo said Osikore was well-respected and brought invaluable industry experience and a keen local perspective to the board.

“We are delighted that David has agreed to join given his breadth of experience, technical expertise and the industry knowledge he has garnered having worked for three decades in PNG, Bougainville and abroad on various gold, silver and copper mining projects,” Togolo said.


Without major reform, foreign loans won’t rescue PNG economy

Stephen Howes
Stephen Howes - Will yesterday's joint ministerial forum reveal detail of required economic reform in PNG?

STEPHEN HOWES | DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - Media reporting of Papua New Guinea’s efforts to access foreign loans to finance the government’s budget has been far from accurate or complete.

But the efforts themselves are real. And they pose significant challenges for both the country’s suitors, China and Australia, and most importantly for PNG itself.

As reported in official PNG documents, PNG has been trying to obtain a loan from China since last year. The government is seeking K1 billion from China’s National Development Bank.

In principle agreement was reached at APEC last year, but the deal is still not yet done. The sticking points are the interest rate, and that China normally lends for projects, whereas PNG wants the money not be earmarked.

It needs the loan to pay salary bills and interest. Given the length of time the negotiations have taken, it is not clear when or indeed if China will come to PNG’s aid.

It’s not that China never provides non-earmarked budget support, but it is certainly the exception rather than the rule. Given the difficulties PNG is experiencing in obtaining K1 billion from China, talk of China refinancing PNG’s K27 billion of government debt is fanciful.

Continue reading "Without major reform, foreign loans won’t rescue PNG economy" »


Finschhafen mission prepares for modern communications

Logaweng telecoms tower
Logaweng telecommunications tower

ISO YAWI

LAE - It all started with a phone call from my superior the Thursday before last during a critical peak in my work at Nadzab airport.

“You’re assigned on a technical mission to do a site survey at Finschhafen tomorrow,” my superior said.

“You and Robert Waninara will be representing Bmobile and other state-owned ICT entities will be sending their reps with the media team.”

The mission was assigned by Papua New Guinea’s communications minister and MP for Finschaffen, Rainbo Paita.

I felt excited and a bit nervous as it would be my first experience of this kind. So I completed my work at Nadzab and got myself ready for Finschaffen.

I had only heard stories of this historic town. When Johann Flierl came to PNG in 1886 as the first Lutheran missionary, he set foot at Simbai at the mouth of Mape River (Bubui) in the Finschhaffen area.

Our telecommunications tower is located on Logaweng hill looking down on Gagidu station near where the Logaweng Lutheran Seminary was established in 1907.

Continue reading "Finschhafen mission prepares for modern communications" »


Joint Venture pressures PNG by setting deadline for LNG project

Marape
James Marape - unsure about the benefits locals will see from a multi-billion-dollar LNG project

NEWS DESK | AFP

SYDNEY - Oil Search has accused Papua New Guinea of backtracking on a deal to build a new liquefied natural gas project and set a 31 August deadline to resolve the dispute.

Oil Search is working in partnership with France's Total and US-based ExxonMobil on the US$13 billion site that would roughly double Papua New Guinea's exports of LNG.

The deal was signed in April, but since coming to office in May PNG's prime minister James Marape has raised concerns that locals will not receive enough benefit from the project.

"While initially indicating that the government had decided, in principle, to stand behind the agreement, more recently it has signalled its desire to renegotiate some of the agreed terms," Oil Search said.

Continue reading "Joint Venture pressures PNG by setting deadline for LNG project" »


Chinese counterfeits are killing PNG’s embryonic fashion industry

James Marape and Annette Sete
James Marape and Annette Sete

ANNETTE SETE | My Land, My Country

LAE - Papua New Guineans in the creative industries will never win against cheap Chinese copies unless and until the Papua New Guinea government tightens up on some of the laws safeguarding our businesses.

Chinese imitations of local designs and fake or counterfeit products will continue to flood our markets.

This past week my total of Chinese copies reached eight. Six of those we attempted to fight against, but high legal costs meant we can’t afford to do it all.

I read with interest and frustration as Papua New Guineans call for protection of our rights.

Continue reading "Chinese counterfeits are killing PNG’s embryonic fashion industry" »


Was UBS loan corrupt? Many questions to be answered: Marape

LISA MURRAY, ANGUS GRIGG & JONATHAN SHAPIRO | Australian Financial Review | Extracts

SYDNEY - Papua New Guinea's new government has appointed a former chief justice and an anti-corruption crusader to lead a three-month inquiry into the UBS loan affair, which is expected to renew focus on the investment bank's role in the controversial deal.

Prime Minister James Marape announced on Friday the inquiry would investigate whether any laws were broken when the Sydney office of UBS lent $1.2 billion to the PNG government in 2014 to buy a 10% stake in ASX-listed Oil Search.

The commission of inquiry will also look into whether there was any corruption or impropriety.

PNG PM James Marape says there are many questions that need to be answered.

Former chief justice Sir Salamo Injia has been appointed commissioner and Sam Koim, who headed the disbanded Taskforce Sweep that looked into allegations of corruption involving former prime minister Peter O'Neill, was announced as counsel assisting.

Continue reading "Was UBS loan corrupt? Many questions to be answered: Marape" »


PNG turns to China for help with tuna processing investment

MARK GODFREY | Seafood Source

SAN DIEGO - USA - A Chinese fishing firm is edging towards a deal to allow it access to the waters off Papua New Guinea with six large fishing vessels.

The fleet is set to sail after a team of eight officials from PNG visited the company at its home port in Zhejiang Province.

The officials inspected safety and tracking devices aboard six vessels of the Wenzhou Da Zhou Distant Water Fishing Co.

They were accompanied by company executives and officials from local government in Dontou County, near the city of Wenzhou, a major export-focused manufacturing hub.

Entering PNG would represent the “most cherished wish” of his company, Wenzhou Da Zhou general manager Yang Jin Ying told the press after the inspections.

Continue reading "PNG turns to China for help with tuna processing investment" »


Mobile phones have seen rapid rise in off-grid solar in PNG

LISA CORNISH | Devex | Extract

CANBERRA — The use of off-grid solar products has skyrocketed over the past five years in Papua New Guinea, with 60% of households now using solar lighting — up sharply from just 2% in 2012, according to a new report by the International Finance Corporation.

As a result, PNG now has one of the highest rates of use of off-grid solar lighting in the developing world, according to the report ‘Going the Distance: Off-Grid Lighting Market Dynamics in PNG’.

Part of this is due to the fact that 87% of the population — or 7.2 million people — are not connected to the electricity grid.

But the increased use of mobile technology has also played a major role. The report showed the transition happened at a time when mobile phone penetration was growing rapidly, but the means to charge phones was lagging.

Continue reading "Mobile phones have seen rapid rise in off-grid solar in PNG" »


Papua New Guinea backtracks on China debt refinancing

CONTRIBUTOR | Asia Times / AFP

SYDNEY - Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape has backtracked on an announcement saying he had asked China to refinance the country’s $8 billion debt, insisting the statement was released without his knowledge.

A statement from his office on Tuesday said Marape had asked China’s ambassador for help in refinancing the country’s K27 billion public debt during a meeting in Port Moresby.

But on Wednesday afternoon, Marape’s office released a new statement saying it was “false” that he was “going one way to China” to tackle the country’s debt.

He said PNG was primarily discussing trade with China while examining debt options with undisclosed “non-traditional partners.”

Continue reading "Papua New Guinea backtracks on China debt refinancing" »


Multibillion debt request to China “took Australia by surprise”

KATE LYONS | The Guardian | Extracts

SYDNEY - Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape has dealt a blow to Australian diplomacy by asking China to refinance his country’s debt.

The request marks a “significant shift” in regional politics and PNG’s allegiances, according to Pacific experts.

Australia has traditionally been the largest aid donor and most important ally of PNG, but in recent years ties between China and PNG have strengthened.

PNG’s prime minister, James Marape, visited Australia two weeks ago at the invitation of his counterpart, Scott Morrison, in his first international visit since becoming the Pacific nation’s leader at the end of May.

Continue reading "Multibillion debt request to China “took Australia by surprise”" »


PNG request to China to refinance K27bn debt will rile Oz

CONTRIBUTOR | Asia Times

PORT MORESBY- Papua New Guinea has asked Beijing to refinance its K27 billion debt, in a request likely to rile Australia and the United States as they try to maintain their influence in the Pacific in the face of a rising China.

Beijing has been strengthening ties with PNG and other Pacific nations by increasing engagement and offering loans for infrastructure, prompting both the US and Australia to launch their own charm offensives in the region to keep traditional allies on side.

Less than two weeks after traveling to Australia on his first trip abroad as leader, PNG prime minister James Marape announced on Tuesday that he had asked China’s ambassador for help in refinancing the country’s K27billion public debt during a meeting in Port Moresby.

“He stated that a formal letter would be forwarded to the ambassador to convey to Beijing on this request,” Marape’s office said in a statement.

Continue reading "PNG request to China to refinance K27bn debt will rile Oz" »


Marape asks China to elevate its trade partnership with PNG

NEWS DESK | PNG Today | Edited

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape has requested that China enter a free trade arrangement (FTA) with PNG and Pacific Island countries to boost the economy of the region.

Marape made these request at a meeting with the Chinese ambassador to PNG, Xue Bing, saying he was mindful that a similar arrangement with Australia and New Zealand was under review to ensure it seeks tangible outcomes.

The meeting agenda included PNG refinancing its K27 billion debt with China, the upcoming Third China-Pacific Islands economic cooperation forum to be held in Samoa in October, and forthcoming Pacific Islands Forum meetings to be held in Tuvalu this month.

“I also suggested for Chinese investment in the Agriculture and Fisheries sector, and in particularly establishing down streaming processing plants for products in forestry, fisheries, mining and petroleum, and general food production and supply in PNG,” Marape said.

Bing raised concerns with forum hosted by Tuvalu which has diplomatic relations with Taiwan and urged PNG to support China to allow it to speak at the forum meeting at which China wants to deliver a statement on strengthening relations in the region.

Marape maintains that all nations are sovereign states and that each forum member is entitled to decide on who its external partners are.

He said PNG’s One China Policy has always been the cornerstone of relations with China. Given this and favourable relations with China, PNG will support China on regional issues of mutual importance.

Bing briefed Marape on China’s investments in PNG and said they were much less compared with PNG’s other development partners. China’s two major projects are Ramu Nickel and the Porgera gold mine.

The two men also exchanged views on global food security and discussed entering an agricultural cooperation arrangement to supply PNG organic food and vegetables to the Chinese market and entering an agreement for Chinese Investors to build fisheries processing plants in PNG.

Bing invited Marape to China to “consolidate” agreement on key issues including air services, tourism, mining, petroleum, electricity, roads, ports, education, the Chinese language curriculum to be introduced in schools, and encouraging business investment from China.

Marape said all business investors and other officials traveling to PNG would be facilitated by the PNG Embassy in Beijing so meetings with senior government officials and ministers are properly coordinated.


Oil Search is 'encouraged' as PNG signals support for gas deal

TOM WESTBROOK | Reuters

SYDNEY - Papua New Guinea has signalled it will back a previously agreed multibillion dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) deal involving Australia's Oil Search, although it said that some terms still need negotiating.

The deal, for a project called Papua LNG, was agreed in April. However it was put up for review after the prime minister who signed it was ousted in a parliamentary vote in May, following a political crisis caused by discontent over the distribution of resource riches.

Oil Search CEO Peter Botten said the company was "encouraged" by the PNG petroleum minister's statement.

Papua LNG, which is a joint venture between French oil major Total, Exxon Mobil Corp and Oil Search, is part of a $A19 billion project to develop gas fields off PNG's shores and double the country's exports of LNG.

Continue reading "Oil Search is 'encouraged' as PNG signals support for gas deal" »


PNG: Look to agriculture not minerals to strengthen economy

AgricCALUM RUTTER | Public Finance International

LONDON, UK - Papua New Guinea should look to agriculture to strengthen growth as the economy recovers from a series of external shocks, the World Bank has said.

Structural transformation was needed in the country to bring about the inclusive and sustainable development that would enable its economy to become more resilient, the bank suggested in a report.

Real GDP growth in Papua New Guinea dropped gradually from 13.5% in 2014 to -0.5% in 2018.

During this time there was a commodity price shock, a particularly warm El Niño climate cycle and a 7.5-magnitude earthquake that hampered the economy, the World Bank pointed out in the report, released on Friday last week.

Continue reading "PNG: Look to agriculture not minerals to strengthen economy" »


Agriculture in PNG: A significant opportunity & significant peril

AgricMERVYN PIESSE | Global Food and Water Crises Research Program | Future Directions International

NEDLANDS, WA - Papua New Guinea is a predominantly rural society that relies on subsistence agriculture.

Its prime minister, James Marape, has stated that he wants to diversify the economy, away from its dependence on oil and gas and increase the export of agricultural goods.

While agriculture is a significant part of the PNG economy, its agricultural exports are almost entirely limited to coffee, palm oil and copra.

Although it is possible that PNG will be able to expand the supply of those commodities, the development of other food products, such as rice or other cereals, will likely be difficult.

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Want to invest in PNG? You'll need a lazy K10 million

Marape
James Marape - Papua New Guinea only wants 'serious investors' 

GREGORY AVIRA | FM100

PORT MORESBY - People who intend to set up business in Papua New Guinea must be serious and meet set requirements.

Prime minister James Marape says one of these is that an intending business must open a bank account in PNG with a minimum K10 million deposit.

“Investors must have serious money – a minimum of K10 million to be deposited in a facility with the Central Bank to show you are serious,” said Marape.

The prime minister says he made clear during his recent visit to Australia that this will be PNG’s investment approach.

Marape saids he remains confident in continued reciprocated business investment with Australia.

He thanked the 5,000 plus existing Australian businesses which continue to invest in PNG.


Did police mobile squad’s decline contribute to Hela killings?

Mobile-squad
The police mobile squad's effectiveness is argued to have been compromised by LNG camp security duties

DAVE EKINS

RICHMOND, TAS - Prior to the commencement of the Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas (PNG LNG) project, the Police Mobile Squad was an extremely feared entity in the Southern Highlands and later Hela Province.

Their Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary’s mobile squad had a modus operandi that at times was brutal – including rape, destruction of crops and livestock and burning of houses.

However, they did stop the fighting and brought most of the criminals to heel.

The very threat of their deployment made clans think twice about fighting and payback. Not only would compensation have to be paid between warring clans, but the mobile squad’s collateral damage usually had to be compensated for as well by the fight ‘owners’.

Early in the construction phase of PNG LNG there was a fight going on adjacent to one of the camps and some of the combatants jumped the perimeter fence when they saw a couple of people from another clan working in the camp.

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Corrupted real estate industry needs to be regulated

Lae rentalSCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country

LAE –Real estate companies don’t want to reduce their prices.  It’s an ugly fact of life in Papua New Guinea.

If you ask real estate companies if there should be regulations, they will tell you something to the effect that it is a ‘self-regulating’ industry and that government should not interfere with that ‘self regulation.’

As long as there is demand, real estate companies have no problem keeping the prices high.

The prices are out of reach for ordinary Papua New Guineans and still expensive for others who may be sharing rental costs with their partners or other family members.

In housing, you need economies  of scale.  That is where the National Housing Corporation comes in.

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The appeal of the regions & the richness of being poor

Phil Fitz
Phil Fitzpatrick - "Generation after generation have stayed in the towns until it has become impossible to escape"

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - It’s estimated that about 80% of the people in Papua New Guinea are subsistence farmers.

A subsistence farmer is by definition someone who only produces enough to satisfy their basic or primary needs.

It is unclear who actually made the above estimate and what definition of subsistence they used.

As economic anthropologists have shown there is no such thing as a true subsistence economy because in every type of economic system there is nearly always surplus production.

In PNG’s old days this surplus was used in ritual or prestige consumption, communal use or for exchange.

In modern PNG the surplus has become part of what is known as the informal economy, much of it in the hands of women.

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Marape tells Oil Search PNG wants ‘greater participation’

Oil SearchNEWS DESK | Reuters | Edited extracts

MELBOURNE - Papua New Guinea’s new prime minister James Marape has used Oil Search Ltd’s 90th birthday to press the country’s biggest company and its oil major partners to pay more tax.

His comments come as Oil Search and partners Exxon Mobil Corp and Total SA face delays on a $13 billion plan to double liquefied natural gas exports from Papua New Guinea and the new Marape government seeks to win more revenue from resource projects.

Oil Search has long prided itself on the work it does in PNG communities, including funding health care and literacy programs, but Marape said that was not the company’s job.

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Marape government to rule soon on K47 billion gas deal

Kerenga Kua (2)
Kerenga Kua - wants to create fairness for both resource investors and Papua New Guineans

LISA MURRAY & ANGUS GRIGG | The Australian Financial Review

SYDNEY - Papua New Guinea's new government will make a decision within weeks on whether to amend a multibillion-dollar gas agreement involving Oil Search, according to the country's Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua.

In his first interview with the foreign media since being appointed to the key ministry last month, Mr Kua said the government's internal review of the Papua LNG agreement –a project that is being led by France's Total and also involves ExxonMobil – will be completed within two to three weeks.

Uncertainty about the project has been weighing on the Oil Search share price, which has fallen almost 15% since late April, when former prime minister Peter O'Neill came under mounting pressure to step down.

His replacement, James Marape, and Mr Kua had both been critical of the Papua LNG project leading up to the change of government. Together with the PNG LNG Project, it forms part of a K47 billion liquefied natural gas expansion in the Pacific nation.

Mr Kua told The Australian Financial Review the internal inquiry into the Papua LNG project was focusing on two areas.

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Take back PNGSDP’s emperor clothes for PNG & Western Province

Community leaders sign the Community Mine Continuation Agreement  giving up rights to claim compensation from Ok Tedi Mining
Community leaders sign an agreement giving up their rights to claim compensation from Ok Tedi Mining

MARTYN NAMORONG | Namorong Report

PORT MORESBY - Treasurer Sam Basil’s recent economic update has highlighted serious cash flow issues for the Papua New Guinea government as it struggles to deliver the 2019 budget.

As Basil himself highlighted, the collection of corporate income tax, goods and services tax and departmental fees are all below target.

Prime minister James Marape recognises the dire predicament his government faces and so it was unsurprising that his first overseas trip was to Singapore to meet with the Board of the PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP).

PNGSDP is an independent entity, a status clarified by a recent ruling by the courts in Singapore.

Continue reading "Take back PNGSDP’s emperor clothes for PNG & Western Province" »