Sunday, October 31, 2010
|Paul Igag…a lifetime passion for birds|
Friday, October 29, 2010
Issued by the 8th Telecommunications and Information Industry Ministerial Meeting
At the October 30-31 meeting, Ministers will also address ongoing efforts to develop free and open markets in the Asia-Pacific region for the telecommunications and information technology industries, including regulations that encourage increased competition and investment in APEC economies.
Meeting under the theme ‘ICT as an Engine for New Socio-Economic Growth’, Ministers will turn to initiatives aimed at developing and sharing best applications of ICT to address problems such as energy and resource constraints and environmental degradation, as well as enhancing the effectiveness of emergency preparedness in the region.
“APEC is developing next broadband goals and initiatives aimed at using ICT to address social-economic challenges in areas such as the environment, emergency response, medicine, education and energy efficiency,” said Yoshihiro Katayama, Japan’s Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications, who is chairing the meeting.
Measures to strengthen cyber security, including effective policies to protect personal information and security of networks as well as efforts to protect vulnerable groups from online threats, will also be addressed by the Ministers.
APEC Cyber Security Awareness Day will be held in conjunction with the meeting to highlight the importance of sharing information between member economies on this issue and collaborating on region-wide efforts to address cyber security.
The meeting is expected to prove crucial to shaping APEC’s long-term growth strategy which will be finalised for Economic Leaders at their annual meeting, to be held next month in
The strategy includes promoting economic growth across the region through fostering innovation and a knowledge-based economy.
Telecommunications and ICT have, throughout the years, revolutionised the way the region’s citizens communicate, do business, interact with governments and educate and inform themselves.
Internet broadband subscriptions have increased from .2 per 100 inhabitants in the region in 1999 to 10.8 in 2009.
Similarly mobile phone subscriptions have rocketed from 10.5 in 1999 to 76.6 per 100 inhabitants in 2009, according to data from StatsAPEC, an extensive database showing economic performance in the Asia-Pacific region.
Ministers are committed to achieving an ambitious goal, set in 2008, of universal access to broadband in the APEC region by 2015.
APEC economies have achieved the goal of tripling internet access in the region, and largely achieved the goal of universal internet access by 2010 in terms of ICT infrastructure.
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By MALUM NALU
|Upper Watut warriors of Bulolo|
|Happier days…Wau-Bulolo mayor Jack Nawie (left) with Bulolo MP Sam Basil in Upper Watut… ‘zero tolerance’ of crime in Wau and Bulolo|
|Aerial shot of a gold dredge in Bulolo. The rivers and creeks around Bulolo and Wau abound with alluvial gold|
By PATRICK TALU
BANK South Pacific customers are to pay new and additional fees for kundu saver account, smart saver account, personal cheque account and ordinary business cheque account, The National reports.
BPS, in an unofficial circulation of the notice of fees to be effective on Monday, will see customers pay extra and new fees for previously free services.
The notice said for kundu savings account, K3 monthly fee would be charged for dormant accounts, teller service fee for deposit and teller service fee for EFTPos, while K4 would be charged for every withdrawal.
For the automatic teller machine (ATM) services, 50 toea will be charged for ATM balance enquiry; 75 toea for ATM withdrawal, ATM phone top up and ATM funds transfer-withdraw.
The bank will also charge K15 for ATM withdrawal using visa card and K1.50 for ATM balance enquiry for visa card.
Fees for other services with kundu account range between 50 toea and K3.
For smart saver account, the monthly and dormancy fees are
Other services range from 60 toea, with K50 as the highest penalty fee for early withdrawal outside December and January in any year.
Asked for reasons behind the new fees, the BSP management in an email said: “As part of BSP’s commitment to improve and enhance the quality and quantity of banking services to the majority of Papua New Guineans and recover the true costs of providing banking services, it will increase its fees effective on Monday, Nov 1, 2010.
“BSP advises that all branch staff and branch managers throughout its 36 branch network will be more than happy to provide information on the increase and also advise customers on how to reduce the costs of banking through products and channels available such as SMS banking, ATM and EFTPOS.
“BSP remains committed to enhancing the quality and quantity of banking services nationwide.”
By ANGELINE KARIUS
A 30-STRONG police squad will be redeployed at three LNG project construction sites today to ensure work continues on schedule, The National reports.
The national executive council met in an emergency session yesterday afternoon and approved the immediate release of K10 million for security operations.
Police Commissioner Gari Baki said last night that police from Port Moresby would be sent at first light to Gobe in Southern Highlands and Gulf’s Kikori and Kopi where construction of facilities were underway for the laying of the pipeline from the gas fields to the coast to Port Moresby.
The police redeployment was to quash fears among investors, especially developer ExxonMobil and its construction contractor Clough Curtain Brothers Joint Venture (CCBJV), of growing landowner opposition over employment opportunities, working conditions and outstanding land pay issues.
Infrastructure activities at Gobe, Kikori and Kopi included camp construction and site clearing, wharf and laydown at Kopi and bridge and road works on northern and southern logistics routes.
Baki said he gave a briefing on the security situation to the NEC which was chaired by Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, who had flown in from Cairns, and attended by Internal Affairs Minister Sani Rambi, who had also flown in from Brisbane, Finance Minister Peter O’Neill, Arthur Somare (Public Enterprises) and Paul Tiensten (National Planning).
The meeting was called about 4pm amid growing concerns that investors were seriously considering their options in the multi-billion-kina project, which was scheduled to begin production in three years.
The construction phase had been targeted by the burning of equipment belonging to CCBJV at Kopi, strike at Komo airfield construction site and last Friday’s stop-work by 108 employers at two pipeline sites.
Baki said police personnel from the Port Moresby-based task force division would be deployed for an indefinite period.
Police had withdrawn from selected sites during the year because of lack of funds.
Rambi confirmed Baki’s statement, adding that the K10 million would be drawn from the K101 million set aside last month for special police operations, including resource areas.
He said police presence was to restore law and order and, secondly, to instill public confidence in the project, especially among the expatriate workers.
The NEC intervention yesterday was forced by events of the past week when villagers stopped early construction work on pipeline from Kopi to Kaiam and Mubi crossing.
The villagers, many of whom were employed by CCBJV, had petitioned the prime minister to address their grievances such as poor salary and bonuses, among others.
So far, ExxonMobil had not commented on the strike.
By SAMUEL RAITANO
DRIVERS of international security service company, G4S, protested yesterday over what they claim was low pay, unpaid allowances and other entitlements, The National reports.
There was a commotion at the Pacific Corps car park in downtown
They are engaged with G4S as drivers for both nationals and expatriates working in the PNG LNG project.
The drivers questioned their pay and demanded answers from G4S administration.
A driver, who requested anonymity, said: “We work as security guards and drivers, yet our pay does not show we are working for a multi-billion dollar LNG project.
“Hau na ol security long Tari kisim moa lo mipla? Mipla wokman blo LNG tu (How is it that guards at Tari get more than us? We are LNG workers too).”
It was observed that the guards wanted to speak out on the matter but feared repercussions and decided to remain tightlipped when approached by reporters to speak.
At one instance, some guards got so worked up that they threatened to remove their uniforms and walk off.
The National was told to stay outside the fence of the premises, with G4S staff saying it was a “minor issue” and a consensus was being worked out with no need for publicity.
After some convincing, the striking workers gathered the remains of their scattered lunch and peacefully resumed work.
G4S fleet manager Brendan Bakani, when contacted, said he was not aware of the incident.
He later said a meeting had been held by concerned stakeholders in the morning.
Esso Highlands Ltd’s government and corporate affairs manager Miles Shaw, when contacted, said ExxonMobil operation was not affected.
Shaw said it was a matter between G4S and its drivers.
He also said ExxonMobil had a contract agreement with G4S to provide drivers for its operation, and nothing was affected yesterday.
VILLAGERS in Western are angry their government has allocated more than a million hectares of pristine forest for “special agricultural leases” – which they describe as a land-grab for logging, The National reports.
At a landowner meeting in Kiunga this week, hundreds of disgruntled villagers said their land had been given away without any informed consent or notification.
Western now has half of PNG’s allocated 4.3 million hectares of “special purpose agricultural and business leases”, after the government gazetted Tosigiba Timber group and North East Timber 1.25 million hectares on Sept 23.
Last year, the government allocated 853,420ha to companies in the province for special leases in areas such as the contentious Kamula Doso forest that had a court order preventing any forestry activity.
The build-up of “special leases” had enraged green groups, NGOs and numerous government officials to raise their concerns that PNG’s forests were under threat by oil palm or “logging by stealth”.
North Fly MP Boka Kondra, who addressed the landowners on Wednesday, said it was a grave concern.
“They are giving away the land but we do not know what the future is or the implications,” he said.
“It is a surprise to see this, I will talk to the ministers concerned to find a possible solution because a lot of people on their land will see this as taking it away.”
“It is unprecedented the government gives one million hectares,” he said.
“We have members of the companies here that all say they did not agree to the deal.”
The Lands Department grants the “special leases” to companies to develop, for example, oil palm plantations but, in the past, unscrupulous players had used the leases to bypass laws and cut down the forest, export the logs and then leave.
Greenpeace forest and climate campaigner Paul Winn said increasing special leases was another example of PNG’s disregard for its purported climate change policy and indigenous people’s rights.
“These leases will never result in agricultural benefits to PNG. They are just a way of sidestepping the logging laws,” he said.
Agriculture Minister John Hickey and the Lands Department could not be contacted for comments. – AAP
Thursday, October 28, 2010
By MALUM NALU
Two former provincial politicians who have been wandering the corridors of Waigani awaiting their outstanding entitlements are demanding answers.
Former Morobe provincial speaker Isaac Narol and his Madang counterpart Tonny Sauba say they have been going to Waigani day-in, day-out, only to find evasive public servants.
They are now calling on acting chief secretary and secretary for provincial affairs and inter-government relations, Manasupe Zurenuoc, to come clean on this as the payout decision was made at cabinet level.
“The national government appropriated K30 million to settle outstanding entitlements for former provincial assembly members, whose term of office was terminated as a result of the reforms in the previous provincial government system in 1995,” Narol said.
“We were assured by Zurenuoc that our payments would be ready in July or the second week of September.
“To date, there are no signs of cheques being printed, and there is confusion within the Department of Provincial Affairs as to when the payment will be forthcoming.”
Narol said lawyer Emmanuel Bearion was responsible for organising payments, however, seemed to be deliberately avoiding frustrated former provincial politicians by staying out of his office.
“The inability of the Department of Provincial Affairs to release payment of K39m from the 2010 national budget is one good example of public servants not serving the interests of the executive government,” he said.
“I call on Zurenuoc to sack the officers responsible.
“If this is not done, then he himself should resign and to save face because his actions speak loud and clear of his bad leadership.
“The Prime Minister, through cabinet and the minister responsible for provincial affairs, must all the responsible officials for disobeying lawful orders of the executive government of the day.”
|Harmony CEO Graham Briggs|