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
 jisaac@news-journal.com
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.
DONN ALEXANDER

By WYATT OLSON | STARS AND STRIPES
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.
DONN ALEXANDER

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.

olson.wyatt@stripes.com
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.

___

PM Marape: Agriculture is 'mother of all industries'

Prime Minister James Marape lays out his roadmap for agriculture at the South Pacific Institute of Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SPISARD) seminar at the University of Technology in Lae on Thursday, Oct 3, 2019

The Marape-Steven Government is repositioning all Government policies and laws towards ensuring Papua New Guinea becomes economically independent.

University of Technology students welcoming Prime Minister James Marape to the Lae campus on Thursday morning.
PMJM receiving a gift from University of Technology Chancellor Jean Kekedo after addressing the SPISARD seminar on Thursday morning.


For what good is political independence if we aren’t economically strong?

Our citizens must have money and be self-sufficient and self-sustaining , our provinces and Bougainville must be financially strong, our National Government must have the resource envelope to ensure we not borrowers or beggars.

This is what I mean by economically independent.

In a country that is so richly endowed with natural resources, how come poverty is prevalent, how come borrowing from loans and financial plus technical grants continues to be the modus operandi to fill in the revenue gaps to support our country’s development needs?

As I look at the rich endowments of our Papua New Guinea, I see our minerals and hydro carbon industries must be harvested and processed in an optimum manner;

I see our forestry and fisheries sectors must be harvested sustainably and downstream processing must start in these sectors;

I see our tourism sector must grow to ensure our diverse culture and ecology yields dividend to our economy.

I also see agriculture as "mother of all industries" that our country has the greatest strength, and in agriculture lays the safety and security of our nation.

Agriculture will feed a family and the nation and agriculture will generate income for the family and the nation.

The greatest individual , country and global need is not oil, gas, gold, iron, timber, etc but food and oxygen.

 We have both here in abundance PNG.

Oxygen aside and just on food, if eighr million citizens of our country are burning their kinetic energy for sustainable agriculture or spending money equivalent to K1 on food a day, it will add up to about K2.92 billion business and industry opportunity in our country alone.

That’s the most conservative estimate.

Food is a big industry and business both globally and locally.

 For instance, our Government’s policy to be rice and beef sufficient by 2025 will mean that we are retaining almost $1 billion of capital flight every year offshore.

When I look at our trading partners in our APEC and ASEAN neighborhood, I see a mighty big population of 110 million Filipinos, 260 million Indonesians, 1.4 billion Chinese , and a balance of around a billion people in the Asia-Pacific region who all need to eat food every day.

Whether it’s organic food for the health conscious affluent or just food for the masses, in a world of unpredictable wether patterns, climate change and declining arable land, Papua New Guinea will be the food basket of Asia Pacific in the first instance.

Agriculture can be an economic powerhouse for PNG.

We have good quality arable land, we have water available all year round, we have sunshine all year round, and best of all our citizens own 95 percent of all our nation’s 462,840 square kilometres of land.

Our Government will endeavor to unlock our potentials in agriculture business by doing the following:

*Do an agriculture map to know which part of our country has what potentials;

*Build enabling infrastructures systematically so we not only develop agriculture but enable efficient delivery of produces to the markets;

*Structure our families into SMEs and corporatives that can be linked to SME and business support facilities Government will establish with financial institutions;

*Linking Government tertiary student loan schemes to parents and guidance who must be involved in agriculture;

*Put price stabilisation facility to ensure our people earn respectable income for their investments in agriculture;

*Migrate family agribusiness into SMEs, migrate SMEs into bigger business and ensure that agriculture has finished products (secondary industry) of world standard that is exported;

*Link agriculture businesses to special economic zones we designating nationwide to ensure agriculture industries grows; and

*Lastly but not the least amongst other things we will do, increase our support to research and science and study facilities to provide data, statistics and studies for further improvement in Agriculture and economy or our country in general.

Challenges before us as a nation remains so big and against a backdrop of growing population above 3% every year, with dilapidated infrastructure and non-expanded economic base, where revenue remains small against growing expenditure demands;

I am here to lobby for imagination,  innovation and invigoration of talents that are found in the pool intellects in our country.

I visited University of Goroka on 17th of September after the 44th flagraising to ring home a point that country is not grown only from Waigani and Port Moresby and politicians.

Work for us must go on all time.

I commended UOG for their dedication to the course of training teachers and I lobbied for them to train quality teachers and offer better recommendations as to how we improve least-costly but top-quality education to our country.

I am again here at Unitech not by coincidence but by choice.

Unitech is an institution that has contributed immensely to our country.

Borrowing from Chancellor Dame Kekedo’s words, you train mostly "blue collar" workforce that contributes directly to the economy,  as employees or a growing number of employers gained their education, training or experiences here.

I thank Chancellor, Pro VCs, Vice Chancellor, council members, faculty members past and present , auxiliary staff past and present, and all friends of Unitech.

I also thank institutions like SPISARD and others who continue to collaborate with Unitech to offer program and solutions to many inherent needs we have in PNG.

I thank SPISARD and Unitech for this partnership,  especially when iam an advocate on the propensity of our country in agriculture.

In world of eight billion people growing into 10 billion into the future, in a country of eight million people growing into 10 million soon, agriculture means food security and food security is economic security.

Just like the then known world running to Egypt 4000 years ago due to famine, just like agriculture revolution nations transformed into industrialisation in the 1900s.

Contemporary global issues like population increase, climate change and unpredictable catastrophic weather in our Asia-Pacific region will mean we are not short of markets for agriculture produces both locally and offshore.

This university is one of the foundational cornerstones of our country.

 As Government, we are here to give you our best endeavors in the context of equitable budget support to all our key economic enabling sectors that we will support 2020 and beyond.

But I lobby your support, you have the intelligence and talent to be innovative.

Look for ways to use resources you have in your schools and the university to be self-sustaining and what Government gives you can be complementary.

We can be the richest black Christian nation on earth where no child is left behind.

I believe agriculture holds the key to the economic and social formula we searching for.

It’s time we take back our country by all of us working together from where ever God has placed us, deploying our time and talent to the best of our abilities and ceasing from corruption and complacency.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

PM Marape stands in support of Treasurer Ian Ling Stuckey


Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP, will support his Treasurer Ian Ling Stuckey, MP, in the delivery of correct economic numbers that has been debated as of lately in preparation for 2019 supplementary budget and 2020 budget.

The Prime Minister made this statement in response to former Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s criticism lately of the numbers that Treasurer is now putting out.

Prime Minister Marape said the numbers are based on works that the Government's due diligence team has been working on openly, in collaboration with IMF and whole of treasury, including the World Bank and others.

“The former Prime Minister cannot deny that many of us including me as the then Finance Minister, protested not only on the budget policies but on expenditure priorities of budgets under his Prime Ministership starting 2015, when his priorities shifted away from greater coalition interest," the Prime Minister said.

"The latest was my protest last November when I had no knowledge of budget frameworks, yet I was forced to support that budget," he said.

The Prime Minister said these were some of the issues that contributed to his resignation as the Finance Minister.

"What the present Treasurer is currently doing is to fully ascertain our present economic conditions for us to offer solutions to take our country out of the present conditions," Prime Minister Marape said.

"When I was Finance Minister previously, I  was part of the government that deliberately entered into debt financing so we could do economic projects, but along the way, the areas of investments influenced by the then Prime Minister differed against some of our opinions, and these investments now add up to our present debts.

"Whether it is at K27 billion or above K30 billion the fact is that it is still very high and possibly trends above requirements of Fiscal Responsibility Act.

"Government under my leadership want to establish where the true economic position of our country is and then put forward policies and programs in both 2019 and 2020 that should take us out of this mess.” Prime Minister Marape said.

He said today is not the time to continue the blame game but to accept the status quo the country is faced with and to mitigate to rescue the country.

“Our Government will initiate immediate cost cutting on projects and expenditures of no significance to the economy, invest in economic stimulant projects, and source lower cost loans in the immediate to refinance our debts as well as provide budget support," Prime Minister Marape revealed of the Government's plan of action.

“In the medium term, we will look to gain better from our resources by unbundling resources through resource law changes and policy and regime shifts, including policing better our tax collection systems."

In the meantime, Prime Minister encourages the country to have positive view on our future, and look into how every citizens and every national businesses can venture into businesses to help contribute to the country’s future.

The Prime Minister said the Government will endeavour to make public sector and its state businesses effective and productive, and encourage the private sector to grow in business to support our economy.

Prime Minister James Marape's full Independence Day address

His Excellency Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae, Governor-General of Papua New Guinea,

Speaker of Parliament, Hon Job Pomat and all National Parliament staff,

Chief Justice of Papua New Guinea Sir Gibs Salika and all our Judges, Chief Magistrate, Magistrates and staff of the third and important arm of Government, our Judiciary.

Hon Dr John Momis, President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and our people of Bougainville,

Hon Powes Parkop, Governor of NCD and all Governors of the other 20 provinces and our people honouring our country in provinces and districts,

Ministers of State and Members of Parliament,

High Commissioners and Ambassadors of countries who have been friends of PNG since 1975,

Important dignitaries and invited guests to our 44 years of Independence Flag Raising Ceremony,

Our Chief Secretary and all our public servants,

Commander and Commissioners of our three discipline forces,

Leaders of different faiths including our Christian Church leaders and your church members, People of my country,  Ladies and Gentlemen

Today, 16th of September 2019,  marks 44 years since our Sovereign Flag was hoisted for the first time in 1975.

Since then, seven Prime Ministers stood before me, all of them and leaders who served with them that I remember today.

I now stand here before you all people and friends of Papua New Guinea as your chief servant to rally the country under the rise of our unifying flag once again.

One hundred and ten days ago,  my group leaders were conferred high privilege to serve all parts of our country and not for a selected few.

For we are nation of over a thousand tribes, who speak over 830 different languages, from highlands to lowlands, from mountains to seas, from square kilometres of land blends unity in diversity, we are the most diversed nation on the face of earth.

Despite being so diverse yet, we continue to survive the test  of time as a nation thus far.

Yes, I am the first to admit that we still have our short comings as a young nation and to name a few.

Uneven distribution of resources, lack of quality development, under performance of resource  harvest, squandering of resources through corruption and complacency, non functional systems of government, etc , etc.

But Iam not here to dwell on the past but to learn from past mistakes and improve  for a better future.

Hindsight sets the foresight as they say and my Government’s foresight is set and fixed.

In my mind, the first and foremost is to ensure that we  not only celebrate political independence during September 16s  but full economic independence as well.
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Our nation is endowed with all forms of tropical fisheries and marine resources, all forms of tropical agricultural resources, abundance sunshine and water, mineral and petroleum resources.

We also have talented Human Resources.

We are closer to the Asia Pacific market then most and with our membership to APEC, our association with ASEAN.

Our healthy bilateral relationship with nations like Australia, China, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, India, Great Britain, USA and EU nations.

All of the above gives us good opportunities to do well.

Proper harvest of our natural resources and equitable sharing with our investors plus better redistribution to our land owners and provincial governments will ensure we move towards economic independence.

Economic independence is my government’s first and foremost priority born of Pangu Party’s  dogma of complimenting the political independence Pangu Party led PNG into in 1975.

By 2025, when our nation celebrates 50 years of independence, I want to look back to today in 2019 as the year in which my generation of reformist leaders changed legislative gears for truly better harvest of our God given natural resources.

In this, I envisage economic independence to liberate our citizens off poor health services, low quality of education, poverty lifestyle, dilapidated infrastructures and unsafe lawless society to one of;

Top quality education and health services accessible to all citizens and residents, peace and harmonious society, connectivity of all hamlets villages, towns, cities and provinces through roads, bridges, ports, airports, electricity and digital communications.
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In a nutshell, our people must benefit from resources in their own land, ocean and airspace.

Working to give full economic independence is the reason why I am sure  within 10 years, this country of a thousand  tribes can become the richest black Christian nation where no child is left  behind.

To make this happen we must all pledge in unison that where ever we are placed in PNG, we will rise and shine to do our outmost best for our country.

Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Australia, USA and all nations that have progressed were not built by machines and robots but by human beings like us.

Today on the anniversary of 44 years of independence, I as your eighth Prime Minister pledge to you my firm commitment that I will not be bought or sold to corporate and individual greed but stand resolved  for the greater good of my PNG.

I ask you all, Members of Parliament, Ministers of State, every public servants and all citizens of this country, no magic or dreams with no efforts will get  us out of present poverty into rich and fullness of life.

It starts with each and every citizens living as Christians must live, in harmony with one another, do unto others what you want others to do to you and working productively with your brains and hands.

First thing first, my government will amend laws to give back to you  resource owners and provinces including our Bougainville regional government your fair share of resources revenue but I call on you all to give back to PNG a good law and order environment.



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Let us work together to secure our country’s future by joining hands irrespective of our colors of our provincial flags but under our national flag, let us blend our diversified tribal songs into a united nation anthem,

For our strength and security is in a united future where we are not only politically independent but truly independent economically.

In next year’s budget and onwards we will have some innovative avenues to help tertiary students and PNG business women and men so keep your heads high and assist your nation by being law abiding.

Together we can, divide we fall, united we stand,  as  united tribes of PNG.

As John Kennedy asked of America to not ask what the country can do for them but them doing for their United States of America, JF Kennedy also uttered an impossible dream in 1961 he said in 10 years USA will put men on moon and they did it in 8 years.

We can do it too, whilst we may not put men to moon in years, we can make PNG better in 10 years if we all start now.

May the God of our Ancestors, the same God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel bless you all citizens and friends of PNG now and forever.

Happy 44 years of my Papua New Guinea, looking forward for the next  44 years in which you will truly be the richest black Christian nation on earth.

Let us start this by taking back PNG in our mind and actions.

God bless Papua New Guinea.  Happy Independence.

Love you all





St John's Lutheran Church Goroka celebrates 50 years

By MALUM NALU

St John’s Lutheran Church in West Goroka, one of the pioneer urban churches in Papua New Guinea, celebrated its 50th anniversary in style on Sunday.
The church had three days of celebrations starting from Friday until Sunday, when it had its 50th anniversary service, which was attended by pioneer pastor Rev Brian Schwarz of Australia and his two sons Nick and Ben, as well as another former Australian pastor Murray Thomas and wife Edith.

Pioneer Pastor Brian Schwarz (centre) with sons Nick and Ben.

Former Pastor Murray Thomas and wife Edith catching up with old friends.

The celebrations included a one-day seminar on Friday, cultural show on Saturday and 50th anniversary service on Sunday.

Dancers from the Siassi Islands of Morobe performing on Sunday.

Goroka MP Henry Ame unveiled the 50th anniversary plaque on Sunday in front of a fullhouse crowd including former congregation members from around the country.

Goroka MP Henry Ame unveils the 50th anniversary plaque at St John’s on Sunday.

A fullhouse crowd at St John’s on Sunday.

“It really was a joyful occasion,” said Schwarz, who came to Goroka in 1969 as a 23-year-old fresh out of seminary and left the country in 1985.
“Today was a wonderful service.
“It was the best service I’ve ever been to at St John’s, better than any of the ones I’ve conducted.
“It was a lovely time, everyone welcomed me and I was very honoured, I’m very thankful to God.”
Schwartz said under the leadership of current pastor, Grahamme Baital of Siassi in Morobe, “St John’s might be able to play and important role in furthering ministry in urban centres, take a leading role to help train pastors, and other leaders in working more effectively in urban centres”.
Murray, who was at St John’s from 1993-2003, said it was heartening to see the church still continuing its work in Goroka.
“It was great to come back and catch up with people we knew as friends, and to see that the church is still going,” he said.
“We have many faithful pastors, and many faithful church members, who are following God’s way and growing.

With guests outside St John's after the unveiling of the 50th Anniversary plaque.From left are Finkewe Zurenuoc, Nick Schwarz, Pastor Grahamme Baital, Ricky Mitio, former Governor Peti Lafanama, former Pastor Murray Thomas, Goroka MP Henry Ame, founding Pastor Brian Schwarz, Church elder, Church elder, Chairman Himony Lapiso and me.

“It was good to see all the people here, the energy in getting all the celebrations and preparations.”

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Government presents K22.5 million to Bougainville

PM's Media

The National Government today presented a total of K22.5million to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ABG)  for specific programs to be implemented by the ABG.

The cheques were presented by the ministers for Works Michael Nali, Fisheries and Marine Resources Dr Lino Tom and Bougainville Affairs Dr Sir Puka Temu.

Nali presented a cheque of K9.5million to the  ABG Minister for Works, Dr Tom presented K5million whilst Dr Sir Puka presented two cheques totalling K8 million.

The first cheque Sir Puka presented was a one of K6million to help the work of the Bougainville Referendum Commission of which K1.5m will go towards the referendum awareness and related programmes.

Sir Puka said the K1.5 was a commitment the ABG government made to help the Bougainville Referendum Commission but the National Government decided to help.

The remaining K4.5million is for other non electoral related work by the ABG and the BRC for security related processes.

Dr Sir Puka also presented a cheque for K2million towards the Arawa School of Nursing.

The K9.5million cheque presented by Works Minister Nali is to pay two contractors Covec and Dekenai to complete two road programs they are working on in Bougainville.

The K5million cheque by Fisheries Minister Dr Lino Tom was for related commitments as per previous JSB meetings that such funding be made to the ABG.
The presentations were made in the presence of Prime Minister Marape and President Dr John Momis.

PM Marape happy with Bougainville meeting

PM's Media

Prime Minister Hon James Marape says the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) meeting on Buka Island in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB) has reached mutual resolutions from both sides.

He said this following the conclusion of the meeting at the ABG President Dr John Momis' official residence.

 Prime Minister Marape and President Dr John Momis signing the resolutions of the JSB meeting today in Buka.

“Today let me thank the leadership of Bougainville under President Dr John Momis, that the JSB meeting reached mutual and fruitful resolutions from both sides of the house," Marape said.

“One of the best resolutions, and of greater importance in my view,  is to devolve some of the functions and powers of running the affairs of the region and that is to generate their own revenue.

“The National Government mechanism has to support the ABG to ensure that they are self-sufficient in revenue generation.

“We have had political independence but what use it is when our people don’t have money in their pockets.

“People must have money in their pockets and be economically and financially independent.’’

Marape said the just concluded JSB meeting consolidated some of those understanding.

“We have also resolved and had reached a resolution on the issue like the RDG,  or the Bougainville Restoration and Development Grants,  that the n
National government had to pay Bougainville as per  the Bougainville Peace Agreement," he said.

“It is not about the figure of money but is it about trust and understanding in working together.

“We have now reached an understanding on how we have to calculate how much we,  the National Government,  have to pay and the understanding is that we have had a shortfall of some K81 million.

“An independent assessment was made and we have reached a resolution that, both sides affirm the independent assessment that we have to pay K81million since 2001 when the peace agreement was signed.

“That is why when the National Executive Council-NEC met yesterday in Buka,  it resolved that we will have to give a ceiling of K100million funding annually over a 10 year period.

“That is to catch up on lost grounds but more importantly,  to make up for the losses we have incurred and to bridge the divide where after the crisis services came to a stand-still.’’

Marape also assured President Dr Momis that the National Government would help the ABG.

“We are here to help your ABG and this JSB meeting in Buka confirms that we are referendum ready," he said.

“The referendum writs will be issued on Sept 27 and our Cabinet meeting has confirmed that date.

“Voting will take place on Nov 23 and the counting will take place and the results will be made known.

"There will be a period of 40 days for if any there are any disputes to be made.

“But what has really transpired in this JSB is that a greater Melanesian way of consensus was reached.

“That is after the referendum,  both sides will sit again and talk and see the result and this is the way we should go.

“I believe in the Melanesian way of leaders to sit down and talk and reach amicable results.

“The National Government leaders  came to Bougainville not like bosses visiting subordinates, but as equals to talk to equal people here on Bougainville and find an amicable solution.

“This afternoon we have signed a resolution that is amicable to both sides.

“This is one of the quickest JSB meetings.

"Both sides admitted there wasn’t much issue and we arrived at what we see was amicable on both sides."

PM Marape addresses Bougainville meeting

PM's Media

Prime Minister James Marape has addressed the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) meeting between leaders and technical officials from the National Government and Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) on Buka Island this morning.

President Momis and Prime Minister Marape at the meeting


 Marape said the National Government was committed to supporting Bogainville achieve a peaceful outcome from the referendum to be held in November.
He also proposed for a National Reconciliation Ceremony to be led by the Christian churches  from both sides.

Prime Minister James Marape addresses Bougainville House of Representatives

Buka Island
Autonomous Region of Bougainville
Wednesday Sept 11, 2019

Mr Speaker, President Dr John Momis, Ministers, Members of the House of Representatives, people of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea.

Prime Minister Marape and President Momis in Buka.-Picture courtesy of PM's Media Unit

Thank you for this opportunity to address this Honourable Bougainville House of Representatives.
But firstly let me acknowledge my colleague Members of National Parliament from Bougainville region who all continue to play a very balanced role in ensuring Bougainvillean issues are amplified in the context of national interest.
Our esteemed Minister for Bougainville Affairs, Sir Dr Puka Temu, we acknowledge your work and passion for Bougainville.
I acknowledge few dignitaries with us today,  the United Nations Resident Coordinator Mr Gianluca Rampolla,  and Ambassador of Republic of the Philippines Ambassador B Tehano and others.
I also acknowledge my colleague Cabinet Ministers of our Marape-Steven Government who are present here after our symbolic NEC meeting here in Buka.
My national ministers, with our Deputy Prime Minister Hon Davis Steven,  have shown commitment to Bougainville issues in many Cabinet meetings and our NEC meeting was no exception because we approved a 10-year infrastructure plan for Bougainville.
This infrastructure plan goes very much in line with our new vision to make our country and our region of Bougainville economically independent.
Almost 44 years ago, we claimed to have gain independence from colonial rulers over our land and resources.
 Yet, some legacies and shackles we are trying to get out of today as we speak,  point to us that both PNG and Bougainville are not truly independent from the perspective of economic strength.
Bougainville and the Crisis we had is,  in my simple view, an example of bad and sad legacies that our people in both side of Bismarck Sea had to live with.
This was due to political and economic structures that were not respectful of Melanesian values we inherited before 1975.
Mr Speaker, In my humble view, if our country is still dependent on foreign aid and grants, depends on borrowed money because our economy is not strong, then our claim as politically independent is of no use and utility.
For what use is political independence if our people and our different layers of government cannot translate money from their land in mineral resources, in petroleum and gas, in agriculture, in forestry and marine resources into actual cash to improve our people’s livelihood?
Mr Speaker, Just like in Bougainville where you have many languages, rest of PNG too have over 800 different languages and different cultures.
 The indigenous tribal people’s own land and resources,  yet, adequate transfer
of wealth to our people has not taken place as we do desire yet.
As an example, I speak of my entire Hela tribe spreading from Mul-Baiyer in Western Highlands to Enga, Southern Highlands to fringes of West and East Sepik,  and Western and Gulf provinces.
In these tribal regions of around a million people, who speak two common languages, oil and gas in Kutubu, Gobe, Hides, Moran and gold in Porgera have supported PNG with Ok Tedi since 1990 after Panguna closed.
Our people in those areas have same question to those of Bougainvilleans in the 1980s when resource were pumped out,  yet,  little is on their mother land in terms of goods and services and money.
Mr Speaker, today I come to your House of Representatives to firstly say sorry to you if National Government in Waigani has not fully recognised your ownership of your inherent rights over your resources:  principle in my view can never be compromised if we are to truly remain a country of a thousand tribes but still remaining united in diversity.
Bougainville continues to teach Waigani  how we must respect indigenous rights.
 I come here to hear you fully and moreamd also lend you not one hand of shaking hands but both hands to work.
And more work we must do.
We owe it to fallen past citizens and citizens of now and future of Bougainvill.
We must ensure improved infrastructure to sustain the economy of Bougainville and PNG.
Mr Speaker, We all know that there is much ground to cover in terms of trust and honouring outstanding work.
I am here to rebuild that trust capital by giving you resource support to ensure work is done, within the context of national affordability and Bougainville agreements.
Over the many years of many agreements, due to many factors, much remains unfulfilled.
My Government’s commitment is to fully ascertain that and work towards retiring not past commitments , but developing fully all enabling infrastructures to sustain all facets of modern diversified economy including my personal focus on agriculture and fisheries.
To this end Mr Speaker, I have the pleasure of announcing  our Buka NEC's approval of a K1 billion facility for the next 10 years to be apportioned K100 million every financial year for key economic enablers of the region.
 Economic independence must precede every other conversation, lest we forget rest of PNG and
Pacific neighbours around us who gained political independence but are still struggling economically.
Our National Government will make landmark legislative reforms that will unbundle resources locked in all corners of 462,840 square kilometres our country.
My new generations of national leaders, those who helped me change government, want to transfer resources to our people in provinces and you here in the special region of Bougainville.
In the case of Bougainville, our National Government will transfer full revenue raising powers to the Regional Government.
We will assist monitor your collections in fisheries, forestry, agriculture and other industries that you Bougainvilleans may choose to undertake.
Mr Speaker, today is but a function mark in a long story of Bougainville.
We look forward to continuing interphase more in the future.
Our JSP in Buin should address all relevant issues outstanding as we prepare for the final
leg of our 2001 peace agreement.
In the course of our referendum activities and vote, I encourage for us to rally the Melanesian consensus spirit of conversations that give us  peace and prosperity forever here in Bougainville and PNG.

Our Nation is a nation of many hundreds of tribe, in fact over a thousand tribes,  who each speak different languages.
Unity in diversity is the reason we are still together 44 years on.
In rest of PNG too, sometimes our tribal differences take precedent over our nation’s interests.
 I fear that too for you here in Bougainville.
Mr Speaker,  in such momentous occasions, let’s show the world that Melanesian consensus can provide answers to internal problems and I look forward to working with you all.
May I end with the passage of Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:9 in which He says,  "Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called Children of God.
 Let’s make peace.
I am willing to give what belongs to you back to you in the context of national unity.

Thank you Mr Speaker,  for allowing me to address this Honourable house.
 Thank you all who work for peace and prosperity in Bougainville.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Bougainville growing agriculture for economic development

Australian High Commission

Around 87 per cent of Bougainvilleans are engaged in agriculture, either as smallholder commercial farmers or privately-run household plots.
Located in the foothills of the mountain range surrounding Arawa town, Sivuna village is dotted with small farming plots growing cocoa, fruit trees and vegetables.
Forty-seven-year-old Susan Paai has lived in the small village in the North Nasioi constituency of Central Bougainville her whole life.
The mother of three children has managed to support her family through earnings from a cocoa plantation and vegetable garden near her home following her divorce to her husband 10 years ago.

Farmer Susan Paai with cabbages grown on her land following fresh produce training supported by Australia and New Zealand in partnership with the Autonomous Bougainville Government.


In early 2018, she took part in fresh produce training with 10 other women from the local area to learn new and more efficient farming techniques.

“I learned about cultivating the soil and composting and how to take control of pests,” Susan said.
“Seeds for cabbage, carrot, bok choi, tomato and lettuce were then shared amongst the group. We then worked as individuals on our land to grow the vegetables.”
Susan said everything she has grown has been successful, with enough produce for family meals and surplus to sell at the market to pay school fees and meet medical expenses.
Susan’s plot is one of 14 model farms established across Bougainville as part of a fresh produce initiative supported by the governments of Australia and New Zealand, in collaboration with the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s Department of Primary Industries (DPI).
The first phase of the project developed the skills of DPI staff to establish model farms and use them as sites to train local people on the latest farming methods to improve production.
DPI’s cash crop officer Elmah Maxwell, is responsible for setting up farmer’s groups and model farms around Kieta District.

Farmer Susan Paai (left) and DPI’s Elmah Maxwell with seedlings in a greenhouse ready to be planted.

Following DPI training delivered by a New Zealand agriculture volunteer in late 2017, Elmah has since held a number of trainings and distributed seed packets to local villages, with four model farms established.
“The training taught us how to be trainers in fresh produce, using basic horticulture. We mainly learned about nurseries and organic composting – composting was a new thing for us. Composting fertilises the soil and is good for plants, and also helps to stop pests attacking the plants,” explained Elmah.
“The training has mainly targeted interested women. I saw them marketing their produce at the local market and asked them if they wanted to learn more about growing fresh produce. That’s how I contacted people.”
The next phase of the project will work with suppliers to address seed storages in Bougainville and provide specialised training in pest and disease management, with the dissemination of fresh produce information using radio to reach a wider audience.
Elmah also wants to provide more training in post-harvest handling and marketing to increase household incomes.
“We need to learn more about marketing, so farmers can package their produce and sell it in Port Moresby. There is big potential to earn good incomes from the growth of agriculture in Bougainville.”
Growing Bougainville’s agricultural sector is seen as a key avenue to drive economic growth in the region.
The Autonomous Bougainville Government, with the support of Australia and New Zealand, is making agriculture a priority to improve the quality and volume of local production for both domestic and international markets, while also making crops more resilient to insects, disease and extreme weather events.
With the production and sale of fresh produce dominated by women in Bougainville, there are also opportunities to strengthen household incomes, while contributing to economic growth.
As a successful farmer, Susan is keen to expand her crops and educate other women reliant on farming to support their families.
“In this village, many of us are widows or divorced, so women are doing farming on their own,” she explained.
“Most of the women around here are coming to my village and getting ideas to pass on skills to their own farmer groups.”