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.”

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

PM Marape: Government has right over Papua LNG Project agreement

Prime Minister  James Marape says the Government has every right to scrutinise the Papua LNG Agreement on behalf of the people.

He said this today during debate on 10 Papua LNG Project Amendment Bills, a requirement of the agreement, which were passed by Parliament.

The agreement was signed in April by the previous Peter O’Neill government.

Prime Minister James Marape (right) receiving K100 million dividend payment from Kumul Petroleum Holdings Ltd Chairman Andrew Baing (left) and Managing-Director Wapu Sonk last Thursday.

The 10 Bills are the:

  • Income Tax (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019;
  • Income tax, Dividend (WithHolding) Tax and Interest (Withholding) Tax Rates (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019;
  • Stamp Duties (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019;
  • Goods and Services Tax (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019;
  • Excise Tariff (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019;
  • Customs Tariff (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019;
  • Resources Contract Fiscal Stabilisation (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019;
  • Insurance (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019;
  • Prices Regulation (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019; and
  • Konebada Petroleum Park Authority (Papua LNG Project) (Amendment) Bill 2019.

Prime Minister Marape commended Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua for a “momentous and massive occasion” for Parliament.

“He (Kua) came into this job with a lot of expectations,” he said.

“He was purposely placed in there to dissect exactly what was signed as Papua LNG, to ensure that the nation is given that comfort that we need, that what was signed is consistent with the overriding ambits of our National Constitution and all the other subsidiary laws that govern our country.

“Let me say that himself (Kua), and ourselves as Government, have every right on behalf of our citizens to put to scrutiny what was signed.

“Laws like this that are brought in for passage are not something that we must take lightly.

“As part of our Government plan, we embarked on an ambitious plan, to relook at whether there were some winners and lack of compliance to existing provisions of law that we can address.”

Prime Minister Marape said although this may have taken some time, “the industry need not be fearful”.

“Today is testament that any Government of the day can honor agreements, so long as those agreements are constructed in law, and working in consistency and in congruence to law.

“Minister Kua and his team were able to go through what was signed by the previous Government, and we also tried to push a little bit extra, in the context of what was signed.

“We’ve secured one of two additional gains from what was originally agreed upon.
“For instance, landowners from Gulf, provincial government and Government of our country can participate in the shipping business.

“We can look at a better definition of the pipeline…as well as define better what is ‘local content’.”

Prime Minister Marape said going forward, and learning from the past, no more concessions would be made in future projects.

“I place on record my desire, individually and as head of this Government, to quantify what is that 51 per cent in actual number terms, against what losses we are making in the concessions we are giving,” he said.

“(This is) so that future projects are built on solid data.

“We may never win on all fronts, but we must win in some areas.

“This afternoon’s passage of this bill is a signal of our commitment to honouring the gas agreement that the O’Neill-led Government signed earlier this year.

“To investors, we are giving you our commitment to allow this project to go ahead.”

PM Marape: PNG economy to grow to K200 billion by 2029

Prime Minister James Marape says the Papua New Guinea economy, now worth K80 billion,  will be worth K200 billion by 2029.
He said this yesterday at the ground-breaking ceremony for Steamships’ K250 million Harbourside South project in Downtown Port Moresby.
Prime Minister James Marape (third from left) officiating at the groundbreaking ceremony for Steamships'  K250 million Harbourside South project in Downtown Port Moresby yesterday. This is a massive project, to be completed by May 2022, which will transform the city. It will be a 21-storey mix-use development connecting the heart of the city to the harbour.It will introduce over 16,000 square-metres of car park space, over 800 sq. m of commercial, retail and leisure space, and 88 prime residential units in Port Moresby’s thriving Downtown.A key design feature is the airconditioned walkway over Stanley Esplanade that will connect Harbourside South to Harbourside East and Harbourside West.

Prime Minister Marape said the economy had grown substantially since 2010, with a lot more room for growth.
“Let me assure investors like Steamships, that your continued presence in our country will not be in vain,” he said.
“If one LNG project could have expotentially grown our economy from a K30 billion economy in 2009 to an K80 billion economy in 2019, we are now turning in the right direction.
“Our new leadership is in the business of mobilising resources, harnessing resources, mobilising partners who are in the business of growing our economy.
“We continue to escalate the positive trajectory of our economy.
“I give you my greatest assurance that our economy, by 2029, will go past K200 billion.
“This is a commitment I’m giving to the nation, and to participants in our economy.
“You ask me where it’s coming from: We are focused to deliver a minimum three more trains of LNG in the next 10 years.
“On the back of three trains of LNG, on the back of Wafi-Golpu, on the back of a possible relook at Porgera gold mine, and on the way of other projects, including our own Government’s signature special economic zones we will deliver right across our country for investors like Steamships.
“We are absolutely sure within the next 10 years, we will grow our economy from below K100 billion to an economy that will push past K200 billion within the next 10 years
Prime Minister Marape commended Steamships Managing-Director Michael Scantlebury and his team for their continued presence in the country.
“You (Steamships) have been here since 1908, if I am not wrong,” he said.
“Since 1908, many have come and gone, but Steamships maintains its presence in our country and not only a presence, but a robust, vibrant and active presence in our economy.
“For that, let me thank you, the Steamships Group of Companies, on behalf of the people of Papua New Guinea.”
Harbourside South is a massive project, to be completed by May 2022, which will transform the city.
It will be a 21-storey mix-use development connecting the heart of the city to the harbour.
It will introduce over 16,000 square-metres of car park space, over 800 sq. m of commercial, retail and leisure space, and 88 prime residential units in Port Moresby’s thriving Downtown.
A key design feature is the airconditioned walkway over Stanley Esplanade that will connect Harbourside South to Harbourside East and Harbourside West.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

On East Texas stop, pilot tells of passion for helping people of Papua New Guinea

By Jimmy Daniell Isaac
Oct 2, 2019

Before Samaritan Aviation brought its mission to Papua New Guinea, it took several days for thousands of residents to reach the island’s only hospital.

Mark Palm talks Wednesday, Oct 2, 2019, about how Samaritan Aviation's  float plan will be serving in the remote villages of Papua New Guinea. (Les Hassell/News-Journal Photo)

Tail section of Samaritan Aviation's float plane that will be serving people in the remote villages of Papua New Guinea.

Tail section of Samaritan Aviation's float plane that will be serving people in the remote villages of Papua New Guinea.

Over the past decade, the ministry has saved and impacted the lives of people who live along the 700-mile East Sepik River and have depended on canoeing or two riverside trails to get to critical medical services, according to Mark Palm, a pilot for Samaritan Aviation, which is based in Arizona.

Palm flew his transport plane into the East Texas Regional Airport on Wednesday.

He returned to the U.S. in June for a year in which he’s touring with his plane to raise funds for the charity and spreading the ministry’s message.

“There’s 8 million people over there, and they need help,” Palm said. “People need help. We all should be doing something to change our world where we’re at.”

He came to Gladewater for a public fundraising event Wednesday night at the home of Jeff Peterson, a businessman for Transworld Business Advisors of East Texas and a Samaritan Aviation board member.

“It’s amazing the need over there,” Peterson said, “and my favorite thing is how much the people of Papua New Guinea respect (Palm) and his team and what they do. They’re truly grateful.”

Palm’s mission began about 20 years ago when he said he felt called to put his skills to use saving lives.

 After raising money for 10 years to buy his first used float plane that he transformed into a flying ambulance, he transported it to Papua New Guinea, the world’s second-largest island with a land mass similar to California, he said.

An estimated 220,000 people live along the East Sepik River.

Along the river, there are few nurses and no doctors. Expectant mothers in labor have their babies in the bushes, and there is no hospital except on the coast.

Samaritan Aviation began as one man’s cause, but Palm is no longer the only pilot.

He also has a trauma nurse to answer the phone and make decisions on whether some calls are life-and-death issues that need an emergency response.

Midwives are available on many plane rides, as is anti-venom for snake bites.

This year alone, Samaritan Aviation has flown almost 70 missions to bring in vaccines and transport nurses to vaccinate children against polio in remote communities while also fighting malaria, tuberculosis and outbreaks of measles, whooping cough and polio, he said.

The organization also is working with the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The U.S. ambassador to Papua New Guinea visited the island earlier this year, and Palm took her out to the river to visit a particular community, he said.

While there, a crowd of people formed.

The first person brought from the crowd was a woman named Antonia, who was the first patient flown out by Samaritan Aviation 10 years ago. She was joined by her son, who was the baby saved through that flight, Palm said.

“And for the next 40 minutes, they just kept bringing out people from the community,” Palm remembered, “and ‘you remember this lady? You saved her twin babies.’ Then they bring a guy out who was a kid with cerebral malaria, then another kid comes out. It just went on and on.”

It was but one community served by Samaritan Aviation, which flies to 65 locations and impacts more than 120 community, he said.

“And so to have that impact over one community in that moment was so powerful for me because a lot of times you know you work hard at things, and we all are passionate about things, but when you see the result of your labor, for me it’s just a feeling of gratefulness that I have a chance to go be — we call it — the hands or feet of Jesus or to share God’s love in action to people who have no access if we’re not there and didn’t before we got there,” Palm said.

Peterson has served on the ministry’s board for about three years. The ministry was renting office space in a building Peterson owned, and as he got to know one of Samaritan Aviation’s “higher-ups in the organization,” he soon found himself becoming part of the work.

“I mean, this saves lives and changes lives,” Peterson said. “It’s awesome.”

Before Palm leaves East Texas, he is set to speak today to aviation students at LeTourneau University.

“We don’t charge for our flights, and so we’re 100% funded by donations,” he added. “Sixty percent comes from the USA, and then 40% comes from the Papua New Guinea government, so the great thing is that it’s a partnership. It’s not the USA doing everything over there. It’s us working together as partners and saving the lives of folks in these remote communities.”

US WWII bomber co-pilot to be buried at Arlington 76 years after PNG crash

Donn Young sits in a cockpit in this undated photo from World War II.

Published: October 7, 2019

A World War II aviator who in 1943 crashed into a Papua New Guinea mountain where his remains lay for a half-century will be buried with full military honors Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery.

Maj. Donn C. Young was co-piloting a crippled U.S. Army Air Corps B-25 bomber on Jan. 18, 1943, when it rammed into a mountainside during a thunderstorm. 

Young’s remains were recovered in 1998, but only recently did DNA testing positively confirm them as his.

His burial will include an Air Force flyover.
Young’s remains might have never been found if not for the efforts of Alfred Hagen, a 61-year-old construction business owner in Philadelphia.

Hagen’s great-uncle, Maj. Bill Benn, was the pilot that day on the ill-fated B-25, dubbed the Algernon IV. 

In the 1990s, Hagen set out to find the crash site, filming the excursions to make a documentary.

Hagen made his first trip to Papua New Guinea – a vast island just north of Australia – in 1995, the beginning of a series of expeditions.

Benn is credited with developing a technique called “skip bombing,” by which an aircraft released a bomb over water in a way that caused it to skip across the surface and hit the side of targeted ships.

“It was highly unusual to have two majors flying in the cockpit,” Hagen said of Benn and Young.

Benn was on the crest of being promoted to lieutenant colonel and taking command of the 43rd Bomb Group, Hagen said. 

Meanwhile, Young, the co-pilot, was a newly promoted major who would step into Benn’s position.

It is not entirely clear why the pair flew together that day, but their mission was to scout the north side of the Owen Stanley Mountain Range, whose jagged peaks jut out from tropical rain forest as high as 13,000 feet in some spots, Hagen said.

Army Air Corps aviator Donn Young poses with local men in this undated photo taken during World War II in Papua New Guinea, where he flew a B-25 bomber.

The only Allied forces airfield on the island was in Port Moresby, south of the mountain range, while the battles against Japanese forces were taking place on the south side.

“So, if a plane got shot up and couldn’t get over the mountains then they were in trouble,” Hagen said.

The day of the crash, Benn, Young and the crew of five were scouting for clearings in the jungle that could be marked on charts so that pilots could more easily find a place to ditch badly damaged planes, Hagen said.

No one knows for certain the exact cause and circumstances of the plane crash that day.

“Maybe they got battle damage,” Hagen said. “They lost their left engine. There were violent thunderstorms that afternoon. The mountains were uncharted at that time, and they were trying to find a pass where they could sneak through.”

The plane never made it back to Port Moresby.

The crash site was discovered by a local man in 1956, and the following year a Royal Australian Air Force team hiked in, found the crash site and brought out human remains.

Those remains were subsequently interred in a mass grave in Kentucky, Hagen said.

By the time Hagen began his search in the 1990s, the exact location of his uncle’s crash site had been lost with time. He only knew that it was near Mount Strong.

Hagen made numerous trips to Papua New Guinea.

“While we were searching for his plane, we started finding other planes,” he said. “Each time I went back for four or five weeks, I’d find an airplane. I wouldn’t find what I was looking for, but I kept finding airplanes.”

He found eight World War II warplanes, which held the remains of 18 American and British airmen, he said.

After almost four years, he found his uncle’s crash site in 1998.

He found remains, and Donn Young’s dog tags, and brought them to the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby.

Another two decades passed before the remains were positively identified as Young’s.

Donn Alexander, Young’s grandson, recalled being contacted by the Defense Department around 2005 saying that the remains from the B-25 crash were being examined. He submitted a sample.

“I didn’t hear anything for years,” he said.

Then, last year, he was notified that new advances in DNA technology had been used to retest the remains, and Donn Young had been positively identified.

Alexander said the news shocked him, but he was “very happy that there would be some closure on that.”

He expects about 20 family members will be at Tuesday’s funeral.

Hagen expressed awe at the scope of WWII, a cataclysm that delivered a scale of human suffering now almost “beyond your powers of comprehension.”

“When you find one man, however, the sacrifices of his generation are made quite clear in microcosm,” he said. “You find that a family was left behind with a lifetime of unanswered questions. There is a special pain when you don’t know or don’t understand the fate of a loved one. It was a pain that my own family knew all too well.”

He will attend Young’s funeral, he said, mindful of all who have borne such loss.
Twitter: @WyattWOlson

Monday, October 07, 2019

PM Marape: Agriculture can unlock wealth of PNG

Prime Minister James Marape has stressed the importance of agriculture to Papua New Guinea.

 He said this when addressing students, staff and the community at University of Technology in Lae last Thursday (Oct 3, 2019).

Please click below to watch video:

PM Marape on PNG becoming the "richest, black, Christian country"

Prime Minister James Marape explains to University of Technology students his vision of  PNG becoming the "richest black Christian country" on Thursday, Oct  3, 2019:

Please click video below to watch:

PM Marape: Law-and-order remains a challenge

Prime Minister James Marape says law-and-order remains a challenge to Government.
 He said this when addressing students, staff and the community at University of Technology in Lae last Thursday (Oct 3, 2019).

Please click below to watch video:

Sunday, October 06, 2019

PM Marape announces major tertiary loan scheme

Prime Minister James Marape has announced a major loan scheme for tertiary students.

He made the announcement in front of hundreds of students, staff and the community of University of Technology in Lae on Thursday (Oct 3, 2019).

Prime Minister James Marape addressing students at University of Technology.

Prime Minister Marape meeting hundreds of students at University of Technology after an inspiring speech.

There is, however, one catch: Parents of students must be involved in agriculture.

Marape said the loan scheme was a “signature policy” of the 2020 Budget to be handed down next month.

“I know many of you, just like me, come from family backgrounds where parents are struggling to ensure you have school fees to support you through your tertiary education,” he said.

Marape said 99 per cent of parents in the country were struggling to pay tertiary school fees for their children.

“We want to embark on a loan scheme that is that is interest-free and will take your lifetime to be paid,” he said.

“You don’t need to burden your parents.

“From existing resource envelope, we will rearrange.

“Help me to lobby parents nationwide.

“The burden that is most felt is not really school fee of elementary school kids, it’s not really school fee of primary school, I’m sure parents can afford K100.

“When I was going through school, my parents put me through the Seventh Day Adventist system, they paid a lot to send me to school as simple villager, it came out of mother selling her buns and working her gardens.

“Mother selling in the market put me through grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 12.

“Fortunately, at university, I received a K13 allowance from Government.

“It’s not so burdensome at elementary school, primary school and high school.”

Marape said the Government would shift some of the resources allocated to free education to tertiary level.

“Those of you formally engaged in universities and colleges, those who are doing external programmes to earn meaningful engagement in life, those who want to go for further education overseas, will have a loan programme to ensure that students can come to Government, go to school,” he said.

“In the course of your life, if you are living for 100 years you pay off over 100 years, if you live for 20 years you pay off over 20 years, if you live for 30-40 years you can repay the money the Government lent you through the endowment fund programme we will set up to assist Papua New Guinea kids carry on in education.”

There is, however, an agriculture catch.

“The catch is this: In the context of growing the economy, Government will work with the commodity boards and the districts and provinces, to ensure seedlings are accessible to parents right across our country,” Marape said.

“Coffee seedlings, cocoa seedlings, copra seedlings, cabbage seedlings.

“Last time I went to the Sogeri mountains, they grow a lot of good produce, and I’m telling all Koiaris up there in the Sogeri mountains: For goodness’ sake, don’t only sell buai to Port Moresby City.

“Port Moresby City is a city of a million people, a million people eat every day, grow the cabbages and everything else and supply to Port Moresby City.

“Next year, we will engage in a partnership: You want to come to the loan centre and pick up a loan for your school fee, your parents or guardians must go to a district somewhere and pick up seedlings of coffee, cocoa, copra and go and work their land in the agriculture space.

“That is the partnership we want: Everyone must contribute to the economy.

“That parent who is picking up a coffee seedling somewhere is not to repay the money you’re getting for your school fee: It’s their money, we’re just telling them to contribute to the economy.”

Marape said as the policy unfolded leading up to the 2020 Budget, students would know more about it, “and I look forward to a better 2020 that will start or cement the direction in which our country will travel in the 2020s”.

He urged students to register themselves with the National Identification programme to benefit from the loan scheme.

FIFA bans PNG Soccer official for cash conflicts at youth World Cup

The Washington Post 

5th October 2019

ZURICH — FIFA banned an ally of disgraced former vice president David Chung for financial wrongdoing linked to Papua New Guinea hosting the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in 2016.

John Wesley Gonjuan was banned for two years, eight months on Friday and fined 50,000 Swiss francs ($50,250).

John Wesley Gonjuan

Gonjuan was investigated after an audit “revealed a conflict of interest with a company owned by Mr. Gonjuan and the receipt of an unjustified amount” linked to the 2016 FIFA tournament. The amount of money was not specified.

The FIFA executive committee, including Chung and chaired by Sepp Blatter, awarded the women’s tournament to Papua New Guinea in March 2015.

FIFA said Gonjuan was charged with conflict of interest and accepting gifts _ the same charges which last year removed Chung from his FIFA role and as Oceania Football Confederation president.

Chung, who lead Oceania from 2010-18, was banned by FIFA for 6½ years for financial wrongdoing linked to a $20 million project to build its new headquarters in New Zealand.

After Chung left his soccer positions in 2018, Gonjuan stepped up as interim president of Papua New Guinea’s soccer federation.