Friday, March 27, 2020

PM Marape's COVID-19 Update of March 26, 2020

Please click to watch full video:


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

PM Marape updates on 14-day COVID-19 Lockdown

1. 14 Day State of Emergency

PM Marape updating last night. 
This is to ensure we have an isolation strategy so that we can
pinpoint if the virus is present in our country after the first breach
of security.

Please click below to watch video


2. The first case

Has been transferred to Australia fit and well on Monday (March 23) morning and will undergo further medical tests. The results will be made known to the
country.

3. First case's impact assessment

We are doing steps retracing for the first case to ensure we have a map of
the impact (if any) so we can know correct statistics and put ins trategies to deal with the COVID-19.

4. State of Emergency   conduct

- Provincial  Governments  through  Provincial Administrators,  will
coordinate  with Provincial  Health Authorities,  Provincial  Police
Commanders  as lead agencies to handle awareness,  and coordination of
prevention  and treatment  at the provincial  level.

- No public travelling from district to district or province top rovince in country.

- All schools remain shut for 14 days, all-day students to stay at home and all boarding schools including universities and colleges are to maintain boarding of students but no classes are to be taught.

- Essential services will be maintained. That includes health services, public utilities, banks, shops, fuel stations, police and defence.

- All employers, including public services, should scale down workers in this period to ensure safe work place from the spread of Coronavirus.

- PNG Defence Force is on standby for call out to assist Police in this SOE period
and beyond.

- All spreading false rumours and organising public gatherings will be charged appropriately.

5. Economic Interventions

I had the pleasure of meeting with Central Bank, as well as all bank CEOs plus the two super funds, with the view that specific economic interventions be made for employees, individuals and business in our
country struggling as a result of this crisis we are in.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 has not killed one person yet in PNG. The only person who tested positive, after three tests, has left our country in a healthy state.

I ask our citizens not to panic.

Government will do everything
possible to stop from coming into PNG, stop  from spreading, and  stop from killing patients.

But in the first instance now, we want to map out our country within the
14 days to see which parts of our country ate attacked by the virus as a
matter of precaution.

Our people are asked to live healthy and clean. 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

PM Marape announces 14-day lockdown

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape today announced a 14-day lockdown starting Tuesday, March 24, to arrest spread of the coronavirus.

PM Marape at today's announcement
Please click below to watch video

"Today, based on advice from the COVID-19 National Operation Centre (NOC 19) and National Security Council (NSC) recommendations, the National Executive Council, in an emergency meeting,  decided on the following measures in light of first positive case of COVID-19 in our country," he said.
" This is a national security issue now and not just a health issue, but a cross-cutting issue  including effects on economy, law-and-order and education of our children, amongst other effects.
"So far, we have done trace of the person that came into our country, and he remains to date our only positive person who is in isolation and recovering.
"To clearly demarcate our country from spread and for Government to take stock from this bio(security breach, we are taking the following measures.

" 1. Confirm this first case and its impact to ensure we contain it, including treating, curing and sending the victim back to Australia.

" 2. Take stock of all entries into PNG after 7th of March to ensure all are checked, tested and status of health affirmed. All who have come in or those that have come in contact with those who came into PNG since 7th of March are to report to the hotline below.

 "3. Declare a State-of-Emergency for 14 days starting on Tuesday, 24th March, in which the Commissioner of Police will assume control assisted by a callout placed on military to ensure lawful order, control and response to  SOE control measures.

" 4. Following on our stop of incoming international flights, we are now stopping all domestic flights for the next 14 days starting on Tuesday this week.

" 5. We direct that as of Tuesday, 24th March, 2020, no public transportation of people and no movement from one province to another for a 14-day period. Only approved cargo and medicine and police /military personnel will be moving. It is a 14-day lockdown in our country wherever you are.

" 6. The Provincial Governors and their Provincial Administrators, with Provincial Police Commanders and respective Provincial Health Authorities, will be control points in all provinces.

" 7. All heads of departments and private companies are to embrace safe workplace practice and non-essential staff are asked to stay at home for the next 14 days.

" 8. Education and Higher Education departments are asked to advance first-term holiday as of tomorrow, 23rd March, and the next 14 days are to be school holidays.

" 9. All who have come into the country as from 7th March, 2020, or those who made contact with those who came into the country from that date, please report, call or text the hotline below.

" 10. No border crossing by foot or canoe and police /army presence in border areas will be stepped up.

" 11. Banks, financial institutions and super funds will be mobilised to work with Government on economic packages in this down time.

 "12. The SOE Controller, through the Office of Prime Minister, will be the only official point of releasing statements to public.

" 13. The SOE Controller will issue details on how citizens and our country respond and behave in this time. Breach of these will be punished as offence in times of emergency.

" 14. ICCC will ensure prices of all goods are within lawful range.

 "15. We are setting a multi-sector agency task force to report to the National Security Coordination Centre 24/7.

" 16. All foreign friends of PNG in our country: Your embassies and missions are  available including our Foreign Affairs Department, to assist you in this time of lockdown.

" 17. All these will be reviewed after the 14 days, during which we would have mapped the presence of COVID-19  in our country.

" 18. PNG is a Christian country. We declare that Wednesday , 25th March, 2020, becomes a national day of fasting and prayer. For the next 21 days, prayer and fasting can continue for those who want to do it.

" We have now divided the country into zones to isolate this virus from spreading.

" 1. Mid PNG Zone from Morobe and Madang Provinces into the entire Highlands.

"2. Central Papua ( including NCD, Central and Gulf).

" 3. New Guinea Islands Zone.

"4. Sepik Zone.

" 5. Western Border Zone.

"6. Eastern Papua Zone.

" 7. Bougainville Zone.

"The SOE Controller will delegate the PPCs to police the zones to ensure compliance to these control measures.

" We will get through this phase.

"We ask for cooperation from all citizens, residents and businesses houses.

" Hotline toll free-number is 1800 200 and Bmobile 019, Digicel 71960813.

"God bless PNG." 

Saturday, March 07, 2020

PM Marape welcomes new Fijian High Commissioner

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP, this week, welcomed the new Fijian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, H.E. Mosese Tikoitoga, in Port Moresby (pictured).


During the courtesy call paid to the Prime Minister by H.E. Tikoitoga, PM Marape outlined the warm and friendly diplomatic relations between the two countries, formally established on September 16,  1975.

Their discussions included the success of the two governments’ steadfast contributions to strengthening bilateral relationship in the areas of trade and investment, people-to-people connectivity, agriculture, tourism and sports, amongst others.

PM Marape also extended his deepest condolenced to the family of the former  High Commissioner, who passed away recently.

PM Marape acknowledges Japanese infrastructure aid

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP, has thanked and acknowledged Japan for the significant major infrastructure developments around Papua New Guinea.

He made these remarks while welcoming Japan’s new resident Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, H.E. Mr Kuniyuki Nakahara (pictured) , in Port Moresby this week.



Monday, March 02, 2020

PM Marape commended by Solomon Islands and PNG business leaders

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has been commended by the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea business communities for promoting business links between the two countries.
PM Marape took a plane load of mostly business executives on his first Official Visit to the Solomon Islands from last Thursday until Saturday.
PM Marape enjoying a presentation at Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Ltd (GPPOL) outside Honiara on Friday. GPPOL, one of Solomon Islands' biggest export revenue earners, is a subsidiary of PNG's New Britain Palm Oil Ltd.

He was guest speaker at a business luncheon hosted by the Solomon Islands’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Honiara last Friday.
Business links were also forged during the three-day visit.
Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry Board Chairman, Jay Bartlett, commended PM Marape for his initiative in strengthening business links between the two countries.
PM Marape with the top management of Guadcanal Plains Palm Oil Ltd outside Honiara on Friday.

“As we take this opportunity for inter-personal networking, I do hope this will culminate in closer focus between our countries,” he said.
“I do believe that it’s time that we must seriously consider the establishment of an annual Papua New Guinea-Solomon Islands Business Forum.
“A forum that has alternating hosting cities of Port Moresby and Honiara.
“In fact, this gathering today, is in essence the very notion manifesting itself.
“I believe that it’s not a coincidence that two of our very own Prime Ministers, who have instigated this opportunity, are here today.
“Whilst we seek their blessing, we also stand ready to progress this forum as partners, as friends, and as wantoks.”
New Britain Palm Oil Ltd Country Manager and former PNG Business Council President, Robert Nilkare, said the visit augured well for the future.
New Britain Palm Oil Ltd Country Manager and former PNG Business Council President Robert Nilkare addressing the business luncheon in Honiara.

“This is probably the start of a business relationship where both the Business Council of Solomon Islands, and the Business Council of Papua New Guinea, get together on a regular basis,” he said.
PNG Business Council member and Credit Corporation CEO, Peter Aitsi, said the PNG delegation appreciated the opportunity made available by PM Marape.
“I think, with the commitment shown by the Prime Minister, we now have a platform on which we can have regular dialogue with our business partners, and equally, for Solomon Islands’ business to have interests in Papua New Guinea,” he said.
“The objective for us now is to set up an annual forum, whereby business leaders from both countries, can be able to meet and progress those investment opportunities.”
Investment Promotion Authority Managing-Director, Clarence Hoot, said the Marape Government should be commended for its initiative.
Investment Promotion Authority Managing-Director, Clarence Hoot, using a Bank South Pacific ATM in Honiara. BSP is one of several PNG companies with a strong presence in Solomon Islands.

He said although the economy in Solomon Islands was small, as compared to PNG, “going there and showing that we are willing to invest is a good thing that is commendable”.
“We went with a full team of business, who were very happy with what they’d seen, and discussions are already ongoing,” Hoot said.
“One or two people (from PNG) have already registered their businesses in Honiara, and we look forward to providing the support.”
**

Sunday, March 01, 2020

PM Marape meets PNG community in Solomon Islands

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape had an emotional meeting with members of the Papua New Guinea community in the Solomon Islands on Friday.
PM Marape met the community, including children, who live in the Solomon Islands but still maintain ties with PNG.
PM Marape with PNG children at the PNG Chancery in Honiara on Friday.

They included PNG men and women, who are married to people from Solomon Islands, and now settle there.
PM Marape was also shown around the impressive PNG Chancery by Acting High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Dr John Balavu.
PM Marape addresses the PNG community in Solomon Islands on Friday. He is flanked by PNG's Acting High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Dr John Balavu.

PNG girl Diana Ruby presents a painting to PM Marape at the PNG Chancery in Honiara on Friday evening. Members of the large PNG community thronged to the Chancery to meet PM Marape .

A painting gift for PM Marape from PNG girl living in Solomon Islands Amelia Kairi.

PM Marape meeting members of the PNG community in Solomon Islands. 

He told the PNG community that PNG was still the “most-diverse nation on Planet Earth”.
“That God-given diversity has held our country together, amidst many challenges that we have, the saddest so far being the Bougainville issue,” PM Marape said.

State Enterprises Minister Sasindran Muthuvel, PM Marape and Investment Promotion Authority Managing-Director Clarence Hoot meeting the PNG community. 

“We’ll work our way through, from where we are today.
“God has been kind to us, God has blessed us with so many resources, from the sea in the coastal areas to the mountain tops.
“Since 1975, we’ve made mistakes along the way, in terms of how we harvested our resources.

PM Marape with PNG High Commission staff. 

“About six weeks ago, I addressed mining and oil and gas developers in Brisbane.
“I told them: ‘Papua New Guinea and her people will pay highest price for the extraction of resources happening in our country. None can be more exemplary than the Panguna Mine. Well after the miners have left, 30 years on, we still pay the price of the legacy of that mine.The highest price is that one part of our country wants to go. We deserve a better deal that what we’ve been getting thus far. That’s because we’ve learnt’.”
PM Marape urged the PNG community in Solomon Islands to contribute what they could, including ideas, towards bettering PNG.
He said he had found time, amidst the many challenges in PNG, to establish connectivity in Solomon Islands “as a very important nation to us”.
“They (Solomon Islands) stood with us every step of the way,” PM Marape said.
“In the face of the Bougainville Crisis, for instance, they were there for us, assisting Bougainvilleans, assisting us, to find peace again.
“Many of our children are half Solomon Islanders, there are also half-Solomon Islanders living in PNG, so we are already intertwined and we are here to stay, as long as we exist until Jesus comes back.”
PM Marape promised the PNG community that his Government would give its “best shot” to make the country a better place in the future.
“Thank you for having faith in your country,” he said.
“Remain positive.”
***

PM Marape commends PNG oil palm company for work in Solomon Islands

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has commended Papua New Guinea company New Britain Palm Oil Ltd (NBPOL) for the work it is doing in the Solomon Islands.
He said this after meeting management and staff, and visiting facilities, at NBPOL’s Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Ltd (GPPOL) outside Honiara on Friday.
PM Marape checks out fruit at the GPPOL facility outside Honiara on Friday. 

GPPOL, which used NBPOL management and expertise from West New Britain to start off, is now one of the biggest export revenue earners for Solomon Islands.
Lab Superintendent Lawrence Heromate (left) takes PM Marape through the palm oil process at GPPOL on Friday. 

It is also allowing 20 per cent landowner participation in the business, something that PM Marape applauded, saying it should set the benchmark for other PNG companies wanting to invest in Solomon Islands.
Children of employees, waving PNG flags along the roadside, welcomed PM Marape to GPPOL on Friday.
PNG flag-waving children welcome PM Marape to GPPOL outside Honiara on Friday.

“We want to allow for this sort of business to grow (in Solomon Islands),” PM Marape told GPPOL management and staff.
“I am happy about the way in which this company has allowed for local participation, SME involvement, even locals holding equity in the business.
“It’s a good model which is happening.”
GPPOL General-Manager Craig Gibsone said the company was the Solomon Islands’ operation of NBPOL.
“We’re a lot smaller than New Britain Palm Oil,” he said.
“It’s 7000 hectares, with just under 7000 (ha) is the estate and the smallholders 700 (ha).
“We produce about 160,000 tonnes of fruit every year and we export 40,000 tonnes of oil.
“We have 1300 to 1500 employees and run a mill.”
Mr Gibsone said GPPOL had been operating in Solomon Islands since 2005 after taking over from the previous owner.
“NBPOL came in and rehabilitated those estates,” he said.
“While production started after one year, it actually took over five years before the full rehabilitation was completed.
“NBPOL owns 80 per cent and the local landowners own 20 per cent.
“We don’t own any land: We lease the land off the landowners.
“They benefit through rentals, royalties, and when the company makes a profit and declares a dividend, they’re entitled to 20 per cent of that.
“Them (landowners) being supportive of the project is key to our success.”
***

PM Marape urges Solomon Islands and PNG businesses to go into agriculture, fisheries and tourism


Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has urged businesses in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea to look more into agriculture, fisheries and tourism.
He said this in Honiara on Friday when addressing a business luncheon attended by the business community in Solomon Islands as well as a large business delegation from PNG.
PM Marape addressing the business luncheon in Honiara on Friday. 

PM Marape said there were about 52 PNG businesses in Solomon Islands, which could grow even more, and likewise urged Solomon Islands’ businesses to set up in PNG.
He said that Asian market was a growing and affluent one that needed organic food, clean water and rest-and-recreation.
“The affluent of Asia will be looking for good food, clean water, and rest-and-recreation,” he said.
“These things we have in Solomon Islands and PNG.”
PM Marape said Solomon Islands and PNG could take the examples of Israel and New Zealand, who although were small, were now agricultural powerhouses.
He said the global demand for fisheries products was increasing and this was where the two countries could make an impact.
“My fisheries minister was advising me that Pacific Islands’ waters hold 70 per cent of the world’s tuna supply,” PM Marape said.
“Tuna belongs to this ‘healthy food’ that I was alluding to.
“Solomon Islands and PNG can combine into those spaces.
“We don’t need skyscrapers, big technology hubs, to rush into the spaces of other nations.
“I propose to us today: Look into the space of food and look into the space of tourism.”
PM Marape said PNG could be like New Zealand, however, “we are lazy ourselves”.
“We want the easy money from oil and gas,” he said.
PM Marape pointed out the example of Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Ltd, a subsidiary of PNG company New Britain Palm Oil Ltd, which was now one of the largest export earners for Solomon Islands.
“I encourage the rest of us Papua New Guineans and Solomon Islanders to think big,” he said.
“God has already blessed our land and resources at strategic locations.
“The market place is there for us.”
PM Marape said he and Solomon Islands PM Hon. Manasseh Sogavare had talked about providing incentives for businesses from the two countries to grow.
“I’m an advocate of agriculture and sustainable business,” he said.
“Whilst other business are important, I know that every day, I will not be looking for gold and gas: I will be looking for food.
“Solomon Islands and PNG, from our seas and from our land, using technology, can supply Asia.”
***

PM Marape and PM Sogavare sign bilateral agreements in Honiara

Prime Minister James Marape and his counterpart Manaseh Sogovare on 28th February 2020, during Prime Minister’s Official Visit to Solomon Islands, signed two important bilateral documents.


Prime Ministers Hon. James Marape and Hon. Manasseh Sogavare signing the bilateral agreements in Honiara on Friday.

Prime Ministers Hon. James Marape and Hon. Manasseh Sogavare after  signing the bilateral agreements in Honiara on Friday.



These two documents are:

  1. Framework Treaty Guiding Relations between the Independent State of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands

This is the overarching framework treaty that provides the principles guiding the relations between our two countries. This Treaty was first signed in 1995 and was than reviewed in 2004. The Treaty has now been reviewed for the second time and signed by the Prime Ministers. This Treaty is a key overarching document that entails our bilateral cooperation and how the Governments of the two countries can work together. 


  1. Framework Agreement on Development and Economic Cooperation 

This Framework Agreement signifies a positive development in the PNG-Solomon Islands bilateral relations. This framework agreement is the mechanism that will pave the way for greater sectoral cooperation. 

The areas of cooperation by mutual agreement include but are not limited to the following; 

  • Agriculture
  • Air Services 
  • Bilateral Trade Arrangements 
  • Climate Change and Environment 
  • Defence and Security Cooperation
  • Double Taxation
  • Education and Human Resource Development 
  • Health and Medical 
  • Investment Promotion Protection
  • Marine and Fisheries Cooperation
  • Mining and Energy 
  • Tourism and Culture

Prime Minister Marape has reiterated that this relationship between the two countries goes deeper than the political partnership.

“Our relationship predates the geopolitical boundaries that have demarcated us," he said. 

" We are a people that share a common cultural heritage and strong faith based values. 

“This Official Visit was aimed at enhancing the bilateral relationship and neighbourly cooperation with our Melanesian neighbour and to advocate for a greater economic partnership between our two countries through our businessmen and women. "

Prime Minister Marape led a delegation consisting of Four cabinet Ministers, one Vice-Minister, Government officials and affluent businessmen and women from PNG on the two-day visit to the Solomon Islands.

" This visit not only focused on the political agenda but also on our economic, developmental and social priorities, people to people links and private sector partnerships," he said. 

"The PNG Business Council members also had the opportunity to meet with the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce.

" Trade and Investment is important as economic independence will lead to vibrant, happy and peaceful region. 

"It is the objective of the two Prime Ministers that both countries work together for common prosperity. 

"We need a strong and stable Melanesian region and these can only be achieved through deeper and more meaningful engagement and cooperation. 

" Our two Governments now look toward a new era of our relations with regular dialogue at the Leaders' level. 

 The Prime Ministers agreed to an annual Leaders’ Meeting and on the margins of the meeting, the business communities will continue to meet. 

Senior officials from both were directed by the Leaders to meet soon to review and finalise outstanding economic and social sector agreements including arrangements for 50 scholarships for Solomon Islands students to study annually in tertiary institutions in Papua New Guinea between 2021-2025 and other arrangements.

Friday, February 28, 2020

PM Marape: PNG looks to strengthen ties with Solomon Islands

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says Papua New Guinea is looking to strengthen its relationships with neighbouring Solomon Islands. 

He said this after meeting Solomon Islands' Governor-General, His Excellency Sir David Vunagi, in Honiara on Thursday evening (pictured) . 



The occasion marked PM Marape's first bilateral visit to Solomon Islands. 

"Our two countries are bound by our rich Melanesian cultural heritage, our maritime border and shared Christian and democratic values hence, my first visit to our closest Pacific Island neighbor, Solomon Islands to renew and strengthen our neighborly ties and cooperation, a key strategy of Papua New Guinea's foreign policy, " he said.

"The people-to-people linkages since pre-independence days has seen Solomon Islands missionaries contribute to peace and harmony by spreading Christianity in Papua New Guinea.  

" The post-independence era has seen both our countries work hand-in-hand alongside our Pacific neighbors in assisting to restore peace in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, and in the Solomon Islands and other neighboring countries in recent times. 

" This is a testament to our common desire to maintain, peace, harmony, unity and stabiliy in our region.

" Our discussions therefore on protecting our sovereignity, our borders and the sustainable management of our resources particulaly fisheries, forestry and agriculture, amongst others is vital for the long term economic benefit of our people and future generations."

PM Marape said educating the human resources of the two nations  was also essential to nation-building and to their successes as nations. 

" I am pleased with our discussions on educational opportunities for our citizens, " he said. 

" I will be discussing with the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Hon. Manasseh Sogavare, ways we can continue to provide more opportunities for Solomon Island students to study in tertiary institutions in Papua New Guinea. 

"I will also promote the establishment of the PNG/Solomon Islands Alumni Association so we can maintain the network and friendships created through education." 

PM Marape said it was his  intention to deepen trade, investment and economic links between the two countries. 

" There is huge economic potential in Solomon Islands and I will be encouraging my delegation, comprising mainly of people from the private sector, to engage with their Solomon Islands counterparts, in our combined efforts to grow our economies,." 

PM Marape thanked Sir David for the Solomon Islands' hospitality. 

" Let me take this moment to express my most humble appreciation for the hospitalities extended to my delegation and I when I visited you'" he said. 

" It was a privilege to meet with you. 

" I wish to therefore extend, on behalf of the Government and people of Papua New Guinea, our best wishes to you during your term as the Governor-General of Solomon Islands." 

***

PM Marape arrives to a red carpet welcome in Solomon Islands

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape arrived to a red carpet welcome in Honiara, Solomon Islands, yesterday. 

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare welcomes PNG Prime Minister Hon. James Marape at Honiara International Airport.

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape is welcomed at Honiara International Airport.

A red carpet welcome for Prime Minister James Marape at Honiara International Airport.

Prime Minister James Marape and a large business delegation from PNG are welcomed at Honiara International Airport.


PM Marape is leading a large business delegation from Papua New Guinea, representing Government and private sector, on his first official State Visit. 

Papua New Guinea businesses in Solomon Islands, as well as those wanting to invest there, are also accompanying the Prime Minister. 

He was welcomed at Honiara International Airport by Solomon Islands' Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare, Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Hon. Jeremiah Manele, Acting PNG High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Dr John Balavu, Solomon Islands' High Commissioner to PNG Barnabas Anga, and a large crowd of people. 

PM Marape was then taken to Government House where he paid a courtesy call on Solomon Islands' Governor-General Sir David Vunagu. 

This was followed by a State Dinner  in Honiara. 

PM Marape has a meeting with Hon. Sogavare today, followed by the Solomon Islands and PNG Bilateral Meeting, and a Joint Press Conference. 

The PNG business delegation will meet with its counterparts from Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

PM Marape continues his State Visit and church service with Hon. Sogavare on Saturday before returning home to PNG.