Thursday, December 12, 2019

PM Marape talks to people of New Ireland

Prime Minister James Marape engaged in a  series of heart-to-heart conversations with the people of New Ireland during his three-day visit to Kavieng, Lihir and Namatanai.
He was in Kavieng on Tuesday, Lihir on Wednesday and Namatanai today.

PM Marape welcomed by Lihir dancers on Wednesday. 

“Development is a shared responsibility between National Government, Provincial Governments, District Development Authorities, Local Level Governments and our people,” Prime Minister Marape told Governor Sir Julius Chan and his Provincial Executive Council on Tuesday evening.
On Wednesday, while addressing Nimamar LLG on Lihir Island, Prime Minister Marape encouraged ward Members and Presidents to continue on being the “face, arms and feet of Government” in service delivery.
He said this while commending the LLG on its effective functioning.
Prime Minister Marape offered National Government help through their DDA for the betterment of Lihir islanders.
He also told thousands of local people who gathered outside the LLG chamber, that the Marape-Steven Government was all about “economic empowerment”.
“The Government is making funding for micro small to medium enterprises available for people to start businesses,” Prime Minister Marape said.
He paid special appreciation to an emerging agriculture partnership between Namatanai District and Newcrest Mine.
The district mobilises people into agriculture, partnering with PNG Micro Bank, with produce sold to the mine.
“Every day, about K10,000 worth of vegetables is bought by the district company and sold to the mine,” Prime Minister Marape said.
“This is a classic case of people starting in business that they are comfortable with.”
The Prime Minister travels from Lihir to Namatanai, where he will overnight.
He flies to Bougainville tomorrow to address the people in Arawa after an overwhelming vote for Independence this week.
“This will be the longest regional tour I have undertaken,” Prime Minister Marape said.
“We will visit more rural areas of PNG as my focus is to economically empower and connect the country.”

Monday, December 09, 2019

PM Marape welcomes Japanese investment in petroleum sector

Prime Minister James Marape says Papua New Guinea welcomes any investments in the petroleum sector.
He said this during a meeting with representatives of Japanese investor, LNG Japan Corporation, in Port Moresby last week.
The LNG Japan delegation was led by President and CEO Hiroshi Kawahara (pictured below with Prime Minister Marape).

LNG Japan is studying feasibility of potential LNG-to-power projects in PNG, leveraging its long experiences in the LNG industry, including a small-scale domestic LNG sea transportation project in Indonesia.
It is also looking at producing methanol as a raw material for plywood manufacture, hence, contributing to downstream processing of logs.
National Planning Minister Sam Basil (who is responsible for Kumul Petroleum Holdings Ltd), Commerce and Industry Minister William Duma, and KPHL Managing-Director Wapu Sonk also attended the meeting.
“I will give 100 per cent support if you show me that you can create employment,” Prime Minister Marape said.
“I don’t mind giving you a tax-holiday, if you can create employment for our citizens.”
Prime Minister Marape welcomed LNG Japan Corporation plans to operate in Kikori, Gulf, where a Special Economic Zone is planned to be built.
“We want to create cheap electricity for the whole country over the next 10 years,” he said.
“This is why we are pushing for a minimum 10 per cent of any gas found in the future.
“Kumul Petroleum will pick up this 10 per cent and use it.
“We will want to create by-products from this gas, but first and foremost, is cheap electricity.”
Prime Minister Marape told Sonk to continue discussions with LNG Japan Corporation and keep Ministers Basil and Duma in the loop
LNG Japan Corporation, established in 2001, is a 50-50 Venture between two leading Japanese trading companies, Sojitz Corporation and Sumitomo Corporation.
LNG Japan, from the days of its predecessor, has over 40 years of experience in upstream development, financing, marketing, trading and shipping in the global LNG Industry.
LNG Japan and Kumul Petroleum entered into a joint venture agreement on June 7, 2017 (amended on August 2, 2018) to set up the unincorporated joint venture for marketing of spot and short-term cargoes from PNG LNG.
The company, together with JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration Corporation and Marubeni Corporation (Japanese consortium) and Kumul Petroleum entered into a memorandum-of-understanding on August 30, 2018, to jointly pursue any opportunities to participate in the Papua LNG Project, as equity participants and financiers.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

PM Marape: More local participation in mining and petroleum

Prime Minister James Marape has emphasised the importance of local participation in mining and petroleum projects in the country.

Prime Minister Marape addressing the Mining and Petroleum Conference

He said this on Tuesday when addressing the PNG Mining and Petroleum Conference at the Stanley Hotel in Port Moresby.

“I think it is about time that we define what local content is,” Prime Minister Marape told a full house crowd.

“Our country has the capacity to ensure that our citizens participate in majority of the spinoffs taking place in this industry.

“If Government and the sector can sit down and better define what is local content, in my view that can also be encapsulated and properly defined, if not in agreement then in policy.

“This is borne from the experience of many of our projects in the past.

“We want to create sustainable businesses that go past oil and gas, go past construction phase, and go past the boom cycles of mining and gas in our country.”

Prime Minister Marape assured industry players that the Government would work hard to ensure that they were given proper support.

“We know discussions on many resource projects like P’nyang, Porgera, and Waffi are going on as we speak,” he said.

“Sometimes, I’m being sensitive to the timeliness in which we conduct these discussions, but here in Papua New Guinea you have to have all the groundwork and dots ticked off, right from the start.

“We’re trying to find the right balance so that we are not stepping on each other’s toes as we go into the future.

“Our Government, whilst preparing for these projects, is now seeking investment in a big way.

“The Budget that was handed down by our Treasurer last Thursday shows significant investment in enabling infrastructure.

“This time 10 years from now, I want to drive from Lae to Port Moresby, I want to drive all the way from Lae to Vanimo, we want to drive from Kerema all the way to Alotau, cross over from Popondetta to Port Moresby.

“We want an enabling electricity network that runs parallel with these.

“We want to open up economic corridors.

“Ten years from now, I look forward to a country with a better environment, and not a country of third-world status as we are today, and not a country that is heavily dependent on the industry to subsidise social services and infrastructure building.

“That is Government’s role.

“We will do our absolute best to ensure enabling infrastructure is built, whilst at the same time shifting our people into sustainable industries, more so in agriculture and other industries.

“I look forward to you in the mining and petroleum sectors giving greater participation to our landowner companies to participate more freely and better in businesses."

Prime Minister Marape acknowledged that several landowner flagship companies had grown because of the support of the mining and petroleum sector.

"If I can be a bit greedy here, I want more of these sort of companies to develop from resources on land that is theirs," he said.

PM Marape: Government not depriving students of education

Prime Minister  Hon. James Marape says his Government is not “kicking out a million students  from school” as claimed by former Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.
He was responding to statements by O'Neill, who was notably absent at last the 2020 Budget session on November 28 and Debate on December 5, criticising the 50 per cent reduction in school fees for primary, high and secondary school students.
Prime Minister Marape has introduced a K200 million students' tertiary loan scheme to which monies from the Tuition Fee Free (TFF) will be diverted.

Video below (please click to view) shows Prime Minister Marape talking about "a second chance in life" for Grades 8, 10 and 12 school dropouts after Thursday's 2020 Budget passage. This is apart from the student loan scheme for tertiary students. All come under the K200 million Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP).

"Under O'Neill's watch, the 'low quality' free education policy was pushed," he said.
"Contrary to what he is barking about, we are  creating an avenue to address all children in our country, including those who leave schools.
"Under the previous PNC-led Government, TFF was a ‘feel good headline’ for political convenience.
"The unreported reality was that the full money was never reaching schools.
" Corrupt middlemen and their cronies syphoned off millions.

The stark reality. ~Graph provided by TREASURER IAN LING-STUCKEY

"Low quality education was evident with more students dropping off at grades 8, grade 10 and grade 12 with no further education option.
" We are trying to share the burden by involving parents, local government, provincial governments and National Government.
“ At Elementary to Grade 12, we will pay 50 per cent, and the local MP or provincial government can partner by footing the other 50 per cent. "
Prime Minister Marape said O'Neill was oblivious to the fact that the most burdensome cost to parents was that of vocational, technical , college and universities.
" That is something we want to pick up through the HELP, or Higher Education Loan Programme  facility," he said.
"We all know that children don’t remain in primary or secondary school forever.
" We are  creating pathways , options and school fees for children at all levels when they leave school.
“ I have been Education Minister before.
"I am well-versed with issues in education, and I want to make quality education available for all.
" Sharing responsibilities between parents, and with MPs and Governors, can be a start towards us 'Taking Back PNG' in as far as quality education is concerned."

PM Marape: Embrace agriculture and SMEs

Prime Minister James Marape says the people should embrace the emphasis on agriculture and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the 2020 Budget.
He said this when commenting on the 2020 Budget handed down by Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey on Nov 28, 2019 and passed on December 5.
Agriculture and SMEs are key-ticket items in the Budget:

(Click video below to see PM Marape's  message after passage of the 2020 Budget) 

  • SME funding for agriculture K200 million
  • State equity fund for agriculture K20 million
  • Special economic zones K16 million
  • Tourism sector development K23 million (loan K13.6 million)
  • Cocoa industry development K7 million
  • Coffee industry development K8 million
  • Fresh produce development and marketing  K7 million (loan K8.5 million and grant K600,000)
  • Coconut downstream processing and marketing K9 million
  • Land development programme K15 million
  • Livestock industry development K5 million
  • Oil palm smallholder roads K10 million   

Prime Minister Marape said the Government was putting more money into previously-neglected sectors such as agriculture and SMEs.
“We will be tailoring a programme,” he said.
“In my view, the banks should have a role to play, either NDB (National Development Bank) or BSP (Bank South Pacific), which are the banks with nationwide networks.
“We want to partner with out districts and provinces, who will identify SMEs operating at their level, especially agriculture-based SMEs.
“This money is not for Prime Minister, Treasurer or Finance Minister to distribute to Open MPs.
“We will go to banks.
“This money will be parked in the banks, with different criteria for different SMEs.
“Existing Papua New Guinea businessmen and businesswomen, who are struggling out there, can apply for assistance.
“The major qualifier is that they must be tax-paying businesses.”
Prime Minister Marape said about 10 per cent of the money would be made available to Bougainville SMEs.
“I have also indicated that 50 per cent will be given to businesses run by women, and the balance to businesses run by men,” he said.
“I stress here that this is not money which will disappear into thin air, like the infamous National Agriculture Development Plan (NADP), but which will impact on the economy.”

Sunday, December 01, 2019

PM Marape: 2020 Budget a ‘hard’ one

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has described the K18.7 million 2020 Budget as a “hard” one, in view of the current economic climate.
He said this today when commenting on the Budget which was handed down by Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey last Thursday.
Treasury Secretary Dairi Vele, Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey, National Planning Minister Sam Basil and his Secretary Koney Samuel at the Budget Lock-Up last Thursday. 

“It’s a hard budget in view of the fact that our revenue environment was not certain,” Prime Minister Marape said.
“Some of our big-ticket projects like Wafi-Golpu mine, Porgera mine, P’nyang and Papua LNG projects are still in discussion stage.
“Revenue was not certain, but I am comforted that Treasury was able to model next year’s Budget, and for the next three to four years, out of our own ‘sweat component’, ‘sweat’ meaning what we invest in.
“We’re using this Budget as a tool to restimulate and diversify our economy to other sectors.”
Prime Minister Marape said the K4.6 billion deficit, projected to be the largest ever, “is not something we should be fearful about”.
“This is so long that, as custodians of the Budget, what we plan to implement is geared towards recuscitating the economy,” he said.
“What we borrow must come in to recuscitate the economy.”
Prime Minister Marape said this included the US$330 million (K1 billion) loan from Australia.
“The Treasury will look at better financing options in the market to ensure that our deficit is totally financed,” he said.
“We tried our best to be balanced and as fair as possible, right across the country.
“So, overall, the budget is not bad but it’s going to be a hard year.
“We have to stick to the core fundamentals, be conservative.
“This is all to ensure that we get back on the right track by 2025, by which time, we should be cascading back to a lower deficit.
“We should have a lower debt-to-GDP by the mid-2020s.”
Prime Minister Marape said revenue was forecast to increase by K2 billion.
“The K14 billion revenue will be the highest ever on record that we will have collected thus far,” he said.
“That’s a strong indication of our own commitment to work hard next year at all levels.
“That’s why we’re sharing the burden right across all parts of our country.”

PM Marape: Government taking bigger burden off parents with tertiary loan scheme

Prime Minister James Marape says his Government is taking an even bigger burden off the shoulders of parents by introducing the K200 million students’ tertiary loan scheme in 2020.

He said this when addressing a fullhouse crowd at the Pacific Adventist University (PAU) graduation at its Koiari Park Campus outside Port Moresby today (pictured below) .

They applauded when Prime Minister Marape made the announcement.

“Next year onward, we will have the students’ loan programme,” he said.

“No more will you pay (tertiary) school fees.

“As long as you have NID (national identification) and residency as a Papua New Guinean, you will go and get money for your school fees.”

Prime Minister Marape said parents would pay 50 per cent of school fees from elementary to secondary school, with the Government to foot the balance, until students were ready for tertiary education.

He said the money would be parked under a programme known as HELP – Higher Education Loan Programme – “where we will have funding easily available to assist our students pursue higher education”.

Prime Minister Marape said he had heard many people complaining, since the 2020 Budget was delivered last Thursday, about Government reducing funding for primary and secondary schools.

“I put it back to them: Which is most-burdensome? Is it high school or primary school education, or university and college education?” he said.

“I think university or college education is more-burdensome – that is where we are stepping in right now.”

Prime Minister Marape said those who dropped out of Grades 8, 10 or 12 could be easily absorbed by vocational schools or SME training that would be made available.

“Government wants to do all of these things, but Government alone cannot do it,” he told the graduating students.

“Government and your country needs an army of responsible citizens, who are out there making it happen for our country.

“I am sure I am speaking to an army of good citizens who have learned very well in your studies, and spiritual upbringing here at PAU.”

Thursday, October 24, 2019

PM Marape calls on National Development Bank to lift its game

Prime Minister James Marape today called on the National Development Bank to lift its game in ensuring more Papua New Guineans are engaged in business opportunities, through programmes beneficial to every interested citizen.

He made this call during a visit to the NDB headquarters in Port Moresby, where he acknowledged and paid the Central Government’s respects to the bank as an organisation.

“This bank is a key institution of State operating as a bank to facilitate banking services for our citizens to secure loans and finances to ensure they can go into business,” PM Marape said.

He also said this State-owned institution would structure a programme which would be divided into categories, specifically for women in business, men in business, and a special category for Bougainvillean businesses "as it is a special region in our country, and must not be left out" .

PM Marape was accompanied by Minister for State-owned Enterprises Sasindran Muthuvel, Lands Minister John Rosso, and Hela Governor Philip Undialu.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

PM Marape: Rule of law to be tightened

Prime Minister James Marape is calling for the tightening of the rule of law, where police are to arrest and imprison those who murder innocent people in his Hela province and the country.

The Prime Minister was addressing his people of Tari-Pori and Hela Province yesterday at the Andaija Oval in Tari. 

He passed his sincere condolences to the family and relatives of the late policeman Sergeant David Hale, who was killed in Tari last week.

PM Marape and his delegation visited the ‘haus krai’ or house of mourning, on Sunday at the Paipali Police Barracks. 

PM Marape visiting the haus krai of the slain police officer on Sunday night. 

During the visit, he made a commitment, announcing Tari-Pori district would take care of the late Hale’s children’s school fees, from primary up to tertiary level.

The Prime Minister, leaders of Tari and Hela Governor Philip Undialu conveyed their deepest sympathies to the immediate family of the deceased.

PM Marape also said not all the people of Tari were bad and only a few with bad attitudes and guns were causing such problems.

He said majority of law-abiding citizens of the country and community are sick and tired of the loss of innocent lives, taken by murderers.

He said law-enforcement agencies and  police should now arrest, charge and lock-up people who drink homebrew and smoke drugs like marijuana, use guns and other weapons to threaten good people in public places and communities.

“People are not happy and are worried about the threats and intimidation from those who continue to cause harm and kill their relatives with guns and bush knives " PM Marape said. 

“I appeal to the people of Tari-Pori and Hela province not to take the law into your own hands and stop the killings. 

“I appeal to you to surrender the guns you have.

“I want to ensure my own people should take the lead in respecting the rule of law.” 

PM Marape said the Government would  ensure the laws were changed to ensure people who killed others should be arrested and sent straight to jail.

He said there would be no more compensation in Tari and Hela as trouble-makers hid behind the scenes and continued to cause trouble and destroy properties and take lives.

“Guns are not only in Tari but all over the country and those who cause trouble must stop,” PM Marape said.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

WWII relic found in Lae

Australian High Commission

Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea Bruce Davis handed over a Japanese 7.7mm type 92 aircraft machine gun from WWII to National Museum & Art Gallery (NMAG) Director, Dr Andrew Moutu last week Friday, 11 October.

 Lieutenant Colonel Murray W Heron – Deputy Head of Australian Defence Staff, Australian High Commissioner Bruce Davis, NMAG Director Dr Andrew Moutu, Shinichi Maruo – Counsellor Japanese Embassy and Colonel Lari Opa from the Office of the PNGDF Chief of Staff.

Representatives from the Japanese Embassy to Papua New Guinea were also present for the occasion.

The war relic was discovered on 2 September 2019 by a construction crew working on the Australian Government funded ANGAU Hospital redevelopment in Lae, Morobe Province.

The machine gun, potentially the first of its kind to be discovered in Papua New Guinea, is likely to have come from a Japanese warplane between 1942 and 1943 and was found during hospital excavations. 

As part of PNG’s history, the relic will be stored by NMAG for conservation.
Dr Moutu highlighted the importance of conserving military artifacts when receving the relic on Friday.

He said, "Military heritage artefacts provide a physical link to the past, and serve as touchstones to help us remember and retell stories from the war. NMAG is pleased to add this significant item to our collections.

"The ANGAU Hospital redevelopment, which is scheduled for completion in late 2020, is one of the largest health infrastructure projects in PNG’s history and part of the PNG-Australia Partnership commitment to strengthening healthcare in PNG. 

"Australia is delighted to continue our ongoing support for NMAG, a world class facility. 

"Through the Kokoda Initiative, NMAG and Australia partner to manage, protect and conserve military heritage and historical artefacts in Papua New Guinea."

PM Marape: Investigations will continue into Ramu mine spillage

Prime Minister James Marape says investigations into Ramu Nickel Mine slurry spill at Basamuk Bay in Madang will continue.

PMJM being the abjudicator during heated debate on the issue of mine pollution of  Basamuk Bay in Madang today. Behind him is Leader of Government Business and Finschhafen MP Rainbo Paita.

He said this after lengthy and heated debate in Parliament today after a report on the August 24, 2019, incident was presented by Environment and Conservation and Climate Change Minister Geoffrey Kama.

“I note most Members of Parliament have a conversation to make in regards to this ministerial statement presented,” PM Marape said.

“As indicated by the minister, there’ll be further assessment and investigation.

“Every stakeholder, including the Governor for Madang (Peter Yama), has every right to have an interest in this matter.

“When matters relate to the security of our people, the interest of our people, and matters relating to the environment, it is just and responsible that we all have a concern.

“We note the concern that was raised by every Member of Parliament, especially the Governor for Madang and Member for Rai Coast (Peter Sapia) in the immediate precinct and affected areas.

“We are grateful for the comments by every leader this afternoon, in response to the statement minister has made.”

PM Marape said Northern Governor Gary Juffa had made a strong statement, as well as Kompiam-Ambum MP and former Environment and Conservation Minister, Sir John Pundari.

“Every other statement is also correct, finding the right balance,” he said.

“Our harvest of resources comes from the price on our environment.

“We’ve allowed those investors to come in, but the investors who come in must operate within responsibility and due care to our environment, to our country, and to our people.

“I think from the outset, without the specifics on the impact on the environment, the fact that there was a practical defect in the structure of the mine itself is an incident that warrants deeper study into what was taking place, in as far as the mine safety and operation is concerned.

“Cabinet did indicate this to the minister, and I note that minister’s statement embraces further investigation, further assessment.

“Let me assure people of Madang, people of Rai Coast, people of Usino-Bundi and people of this country, that this report and the investigation thus far is not conclusive and that is not the end of the story.

“The fact that there was a slip, which took place in the mine infrastructure, irrespective of the extent of the damage, warrants deeper scrutiny, deeper investigation, deeper assessment.”

PM Marape assured the people of Madang, Usino-Bundi, Rai Coast, as well as the country, that all stakeholders including Madang government, Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA), Mining Department and other Government agencies would look deeper into what had happened.

“I’m just falling short on telling the mine to cease until our next stop, but I will not be influenced by emotion to make this call,” he said.

“This report, which we’ve been waiting for, for some time, is the reference point and the starting point, which has now been elevated to a higher committee, led by Deputy Prime Minister.

“This must be a pointer to present operator of Ramu Nickel Mine, that a slip has taken place.

“We want to work with them to ascertain fully what has taken place, and for us to  go forward in ensuring that the mine is not only safe in as far as operation is concerned, but is also positive towards our economy and our country going forward.

“We want to ensure that going forward, this incident does not happen again.”