Thursday, January 30, 2014

Naru welcomes moves to make Lae economic and industrial hub of PNG


Morobe Governor Kelly Naru has welcomed moves by the national government to make Lae as the economic and industrial hub of Papua New Guinea, without forgetting the 80% of its people who live in rural areas.
This is revealed in Naru’s 2014 budget speech, which was presented together with a copy of the budget, to Treasurer Don Polye last Thursday and was expected to be approved by yesterday.

“Lae has been termed by the national government as economic and industrial hub of Papua New Guinea,” he said.
“We welcome this and wish to encourage all living in Lae as well as in the province to embrace this and work with the national government to realise this.
“This points to possibility that the people of Morobe can make Morobe economically-prosperous and enjoy a life that is of higher standard and quality.”
Naru, however, cautioned that despite all of Morobe’s potential, 80% of its people lived in rural communities which were inaccessible, and predominantly subsistent and semi-subsistent.
“This means that they are unable to participate effectively in the cash economies to improve their income, thus meet their basic needs of health, education, food security and improve their standard of living,” he said.
“This must therefore be the No. 1 challenge – improve access to services.
“I want to remind us once more that Morobe is a big province in PNG.
“It is blessed with over 646, 876 people, it has one of the largest land masses with nine districts, 33 LLGs, 465 wards and over 2,500 villages and thus has the largest number of political leaders in the national parliament.
“It also means that there are more resources and more potential to do bigger and better things.
“It is from this perspective that I propose to look at the development agendas of this province.”

Cricket World Cup hopes out of PNG's control

Radio New Zealand International

Papua New Guinea are resigned to missing out on a place at next year's Cricket World Cup following another defeat in qualifying.
The Barramundi's were bowled out for 236 in pursuit of Scotland's 288 to drop to fourth place in the Super Six standings.
That means a top two placing is now out of their control, with the United Arab Emirates and Scotland two points clear of the chasing bunch with one round remaining.
PNG Assistant Coach Rarua Dikana says Scotland were the better team when it mattered.
"We lost at the key moments of the game. We managed to bowl the Scots out for 280 which was a big effort because they were looking at a score above more than 300. We got a good start but then we lost a wicket in the key moment in the innings, especially in the middle. The tailenders came in to do some hitting at the end but it was already too little too late because the pressure was too big for them".
PNG must now beat Hong Kong and hope other results go their way.

Australia seeks proposals for master plan for ANGAU Hospital redevelopment

Australia High Commission

Australia and Papua New Guinea yesterday moved another step toward redeveloping the Lae ANGAU Memorial Hospital, issuing a request for expressions of interest in preparing the Health Services and Facilities Master Plan for the project.

The two nations have agreed to co-fund the reconstruction of the hospital through the Australia-PNG Joint Understanding on Further Bilateral Cooperation on Health, Education, and Law and Order, signed in July 2013.

The ANGAU hospital redevelopment will be the largest health infrastructure project since PNG’s independence. Australia is investing up to AUD$207 million in the redevelopment including the Master Plan and 50 per cent of the capital cost of works.

Australia’s High Commissioner to PNG, Ms Deborah Stokes, said Australia is committed to working with PNG to advance the priorities agreed in the Joint Understanding.

“The masterplanning process will equip both governments with the information we need to redevelop the hospital facilities.  This redevelopment will be done in a manner which is adapted to the PNG population’s health needs, can be staffed, is affordable and is able to be maintained,” Ms Stokes said.

Mr Ambrose Kwaramb, Manager Health Facilities Standards, National Department of Health, said: “The health service and health facilities design standards will guide the redevelopment of the hospital from master planning, to design and to the construction stage.”

The masterplanning process will include consultations with all hospital stakeholders, an assessment of existing clinical and non-clinical services and facilities, and an analysis of needs and gaps in services and facilities.
It will recommend a comprehensive site plan for the redevelopment and a phased demolition and construction program. Construction will be staged in order to maintain full operation of current hospital services.

The Master Plan will recommend preliminary design concepts, including energy efficiency measures, to assist the architects at the design stage.
The Master Plan, followed by detailed design work, will take approximately two years.  Major construction work will commence in 2016-17.

Australia’s recent support for health infrastructure in PNG includes building a TB isolation ward in Daru, Western Province, refurbishing and rebuilding selected rural health facilities and rehabilitating three of PNG’s midwifery schools and the construction of two new midwifery schools. 

Australia has also indicated to the PNG Government its willingness to support the establishment of an Independent Health Procurement Authority to help PNG improve the effectiveness of PNG’s health services.

Expressions of interest in preparing the Health Services and Facilities Master Plan will close on Friday 7 February 2014, with selected consultancy firms asked to lodge full proposals by Tuesday 11 March 2014.  A contract with the successful consortium will be in place by mid-April 2014.

The Joint Understanding commitments by Australia and PNG include the deployment of 50 Australian Federal Police advisors, scoping and design of the Madang-Ramu Highway and reconstruction of the lower courts in Port Moresby, and support for the rehabilitation of essential infrastructure at the University of PNG.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Counting for Kairuku-Hiri by-election begins on Feb 8

The Electoral Commission is now preparing to the start the counting process for the Kairuku-Hiri Open electorate by-election which is scheduled to commence on Saturday, Feb 8.
 Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen says so far three local-level government areas including Hiri, Kairuku and Mekeo have completed polling except Koiari LLG due to bad weather.
The first ballot boxes from Kairuku and Mekeo for the Kairuku-Hiri by-election are checked by polling officers after being brought in yesterday evening  to the Institute of Public Administration at Waigani where thy were locked up in a container guarded 24/7. Once the other boxes from Hiri and remote Koiari are brought in, counting is expected to start by Feb 8.

 “However, we have only three teams to complete polling in the Koiari LLG,” he said yesterday.
 “One team should finish polling today (yesterday) while the remaining two teams will complete polling on Friday, Jan 31.”
 Trawen said the ballot boxes containing ballots for Hiri and Koiari LLGs were stored at 15-mile police cell but were later moved to the container in front of the 15-mile police station.
 Central provincial police commander Insp Laimo Asi, returning officer Kila Egaba, two assistant returning officers for Hiri and Koiari, and Southern Region elections operations manager Kila Burro were present together with the candidates, scrutineers and police personnel to witness the transfer of ballot boxes.
 A storage container at PNGEC’s warehouse was moved yesterday morning to the counting venue at the PNGIPA hall to store all the ballot boxes for the four LLGs.
Trawen said all the ballot boxes for Kairuku and Mekeo LLGs were transported to Port Moresby yesterday morning from Bereina police station with full police escort and were now safely locked away inside the storage container outside the PNGIPA hall counting venue.
 “Our ICT branch is progressing well with all its preparations for electronic counting, which has been re-scheduled to commence on Saturday, Feb 08,” he said.
 Trawen commended the people of Kairuku-Hiri for their co-operation in ensuring a good and peaceful outcome of the by-election as well as Asi and his police personnel for providing security during polling.

World Cup qualifying: Scotland beat PNG in Super Sixes


Scotland have beaten Papua New Guinea by 52 runs in their latest World Cup qualifier in New Zealand yesterday.
The Scots, who won the toss, elected to bat and Preston Mommsen top scored with 94.
Mommsen took advantage of a dropped catch on 65 as the Scots nudged their score towards 300.
PNG, frustrated by Scotland's bowling, were restricted to 236 all out in pursuit of 289 for victory.

Victory for Scotland against Kenya on Thursday would see them book their place at the 2015 World Cup.
Interim Scotland coach Craig Wright said their Super Sixes campaign was going well.
"We're confident of winning and progressing to the World Cup," he told BBC Scotland.
"We're taking each game as it comes and there have been some strong individual performers. Our batting and bowling units have functioned well together.
"We're sharing the runs and wickets around which has been the foundation of our success."
World Cup qualification is vital for the profile of cricket in Scotland, Wright added.
"Hopefully, that's something we'll achieve after another win on Thursday," he said.
"We lost the first game of this tournament against Hong Kong and every game we've played has been huge.
"We've been encouraging the players to embrace the challenge of these must-win situations and the Kenya game is no different."

PNGSDP registers international arbitration case against PNG govenment

The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has registered PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd's request for international arbitration over the expropriation without compensation of the company's 63.4% shareholding in Ok Tedi Mining Ltd.
This means that ICSID has accepted the case and that it will proceed.
The arbitration hearing is separate to all other litigation relating to the expropriation of the mine, including the latest National Court action.
The chairman of PNGSDP, Sir Mekere Morauta, said PNGSDP is seeking restitution of the 63.4% of OTML illegally expropriated by the State, or failing that, compensation for the shares.
"The State's expropriation of the shares through the 10th Supplemental Agreement Act last year, without compensation, is in breach of international law," he said.
"It also breaches the normal standards of behaviour of a State towards a foreign company.
"PNGSDP is well within its rights to seek restitution," he said.
 "PNGSDP believes it has a strong case and looks forward to having its property returned to it."
Sir Mekere said the next step was for an arbitration tribunal of three eminent international jurists to be set up.
“The members will be appointed by agreement between PNGSDP, the State and ICSID,” he said.
“It is likely that this will happen towards the middle of the year, with hearings possible soon afterwards.
“When the mine is returned to PNGSDP, the company will begin talks with the Western province community so that agreement can be reached on the most appropriate arrangements for the future of the province
“PNGSDP is very keen to resume its social and economic development programme in Western province.”
ICSID is an international institution set up under the International Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes Between States and Nationals of Other States.
It facilitates arbitration proceedings allowing independent tribunals to decide cases under its rules, and all contracting member states agree to enforce and uphold arbitral awards in accordance with the Convention.
PNG became a signatory to the Convention with the passing of the Investment Disputes Convention Act in 1978. One hundred and fifty other countries are signatories.
International arbitration by ICSID is available to PNGSDP under Section 39 of the Investment Promotion Act.
From its creation in 1965 to 30 June 2012, ICSID has registered 390 investment dispute cases, of which 250 have been concluded.
Of the outcomes for arbitration proceedings, as of June 30.  2012, 62% of disputes have been resolved and 38 percent have been settled or discontinued.
Further information about ICSID and the registration of the PNGSDP case can be found at‎.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

World Cup qualifier: Scotland to play PNG today


Scotland beat Namibia by 21 runs to move into second place in the Super Sixes at the ICC World Cup qualifying tournament in New Zealand.
The Scots reached 279-9 and had their opponents on 59-2 when rain prevented any further play on Sunday.
And when play resumed, Safyaan Sharif claimed four for 55 as the Africans were restricted to 258-9.
With Scotland to play Papua New Guinea and Kenya, the top two sides in the group progress to the 2015 World Cup.
Matt Machan top-scored for the Scots with 78, while Richie Berrington made 51 and Preston Mommsen 46.
Scotland won the toss and decided to bat but were dealt a blow when Calum MacLeod, who scored 175 against Canada in the final group game, departed for just 10.
Fellow opener Matty Cross then fell for 27 but Machan and skipper Mommsen put on 82 for the third wicket to guide Scotland to 154-2.
When Machan and Mommsen fell the Scots got good contributions from their middle order and Freddie Coleman scored 32 before being dismissed by Bernard Scholtz, the pick of the Namibia bowlers with 3-55.

Super Sixes

Pld Pts Net RR

Hong Kong

Taylor and Michael Leask fell cheaply but Berrington held the innings together as he brought up his half-century off 46 balls.
Louis van der Westhuizen was the first to fall in reply as he went for just nine, caught by Machan off Taylor.
Sarel Burger was then clean bowled by Taylor to leave Namibia 39 for two before Stephan Baard (28 not out) and Craig Williams (eight not out) held the fort until the rain came.
When play resumed on Monday, Baard was first to fall for 36 as he was run out but Williams and Nicolaas Scholtz put on 80 for the fourth wicket before the latter was bowled by Sharif for 38.
Williams had brought up his half century off 76 balls but he was next to go for 57 as Sharif claimed another victim to leave Namibia 166 for five with 13 overs remaining.
Christi Viljoen followed for just two and after that Namibia were never able to get near the required rate.
Elsewhere, the United Arab Emirates recorded a 150-run victory over Papua New Guinea and Lameck Onyango led Kenya to victory over Hong Kong with four wickets.

Prime Minister: Landowners must be aware of the consequences of court action

Landowners in major resource project areas need to be fully aware of the possible consequences of court action they take with regard to the future operation, and viability, of major projects, Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, said yesterday.
O'Neill said the national government was appealing a court decision relating to the Ok Tedi Mine, and the discharge of waste into the Fly River and tributaries in the Western province. 
The National Court last Friday ordered Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) to refrain from dumping mine waste and tailings on the Ok Tedi Fly River systems pending the hearing of the substantive matter.
Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika ordered the Government to provide details and records of how it spent the dividends it received from OTML from 2001 to 2013.
The matter returns to court on Feb 12.
"We respect the courts, but we will fully exercise our appeal rights in relation to this decision, a decision which could well have massive, and unintended, consequences," O'Neill said.
He said landowners needed to understand that the actions they have taken, urged on by well paid lawyers, could have horrendous financial, economic and social consequences for the mine, the landowners themselves, and the nation as a whole.
"I hope the courts generally understand the consequences of claims they are hearing.,” O’Neill said.
“We don't just rely on the courts to uphold the law; we rely on the courts to appreciate the consequences of their decisions and rulings."

O'Neill said it was clear the action by so called "landowners" in the mine area, and along the Fly River, was prompted by lawyers who would end up being the main beneficiary because of the high fees they charge.
O'Neill said he was the first prime minister to address "front and centre" environment, landowner and community issues relating to the Ok Tedi mine and he appealed to genuine landowners to have confidence that the National Government was not just addressing their concerns, it was in the process of actually resolving them.
"For a start, my government has insisted that a tailings dam be built at the mine as an absolute requirement if the mine is to operate long term,” he said.
“Design work on the tailings dam has begun - and it will be built as quickly as possible."
"I froze all landowner and provincial government trust accounts until all the issues relating to the ownership, management, and operations of the mine are resolved.
“I did this when it was clear to me that the overwhelming wish of landowners, and communities, was for the funds to be frozen.”
O'Neill said all benefit sharing arrangements were being reviewed by the high level committee chaired by the Chief Secretary, and the review process was making sure the structure of landowner groups, and the election of leaders, was transparent and genuine.
"I appeal to landowners to trust me - and trust my government,” he said.
“ We are the first government to honestly address the environmental catastrophe along the Fly River, and its tributaries.
“We are the first government to take steps to ensure that the benefit sharing and other agreements benefit genuine landowners.
"The possible consequences of the court decision are absolutely massive."
"It is absolutely critical landowners understand that before they contemplate legal action from which lawyers are most likely to be the only winners.”