MINISTER for National Planning Sam Basil says all natural resources in the country must be processed downstream and the final product exported, The National reports.
Speaking at the opening of the National Development Forum hosted by the Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council at the Parliament House State Function Room, Basil said renewable and non-renewable resources must go under downstream processing onshore so that the country benefited from it.
"When we have downstream processing here, we will add value to our export commodities and maximise economic returns and benefits back to our country," he said.
"And most importantly, it will create employment, transfer skills and technology to Papua New Guineans and spin-off benefits apart from main revenue gain from the resources."
Basil said the traditional role of the government was to create an enabling environment for indigenous people to empower themselves and own and control the bulk of economic activities in their country.
He said for too long foreign-owned corporations had been ripping off the country's natural resources, leaving nothing for Papua New Guineans.
"Now there is a policy change under the O'Neill-Namah government whereby the indigenous people will have the upper hand in any resource development so that the bulk of the rural majority can see some changes in their living standards," he said.
Referring to the exports of round logs, he said they had the potential to collect billions of kina if they could be processed here.
"We need a policy shift to have a downstream processing in the country so that all our natural resources can be processed here so that we maximise the benefits," Basil said.