Friday, June 05, 2020

PM Marape thanks MPs for overwhelming support to ICAC

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has thanked all Members of Parliament for their overwhelming support towards the Organic Law on the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC).
He said this after Parliament voted 98-0 in favour of ICAC on Wednesday, with one more vote in the August session of Parliament before it becomes law.

Parliament voting for ICAC on Wednesday 

Prime Minister Marape said he had promised the Nation on May 30, 2019, after taking office, that his Government would change laws for the betterment of the country going forward.
He said ICAC had been talked about since 1997 with little to no progress in making it become law.
“Things do not happen overnight without political will,” Prime Minister Marape said.
“The last Peter O’Neill-led Government progressed it to some level, but had no courage to put the finishing touches and carry it into Parliament.
“I thank all leaders and Attorney-Generals of the past, and public servants, of trying to progress ICAC but to no avail until today.
“Today, I thank all MPs including Hon. Dr Allan Marat and Hon. Joseph Lelang on the Opposition, the 15 People’s National Congress MPs, and 81 of us on the Government side who voted in support of the ICAC Bill.
“We have just two more months to go before this Bill is passed as Law.”
Prime Minister Marape stressed that corruption ate away scarce resources meant for development of the country.
“Corruption exists in a sinful world because none of us are perfect,” he said.
“This ICAC institution we are building will be a one-stop shop dealing with all matters pertaining to corruption.
“When operated with our recently-passed Whistle Blowers’ Act, Proceeds of Crime Act, Criminal Code Act and others we have, ICAC will become a beacon of hope in a nation so swamped with real and perceived corruption.
“Once set up, we will fill ICAC with qualified commissioners mostly recruited from overseas, so that we avoid local bias at the leadership level of this institution.”
Prime Minister Marape said the overwhelming support of ICAC should prove to his critics that “I don’t just talk, I can deliver too”.
“The life of our Government is not just about building infrastructure, but also putting in place policies and laws for the good of our country,” he said.
“Keep watching – my Government will be passing game-changing laws for our country such as this.
“ICAC  law will save huge resources squandered and wasted through corruption.” 

###

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

PM Marape announces second COVID-19 case in PNG

PRIME Minister Hon. James Marape yesterday announced that the country has recorded its second COVID-19 case.



The Prime Minister said the second case was a 40-year-old female from the East New Britain Province, who developed a cough on March 23 and was admitted to the Nonga Hospital isolation ward three days later and treated for severe respiratory illness.

The patient has been isolated and quarantined.

An additional two persons under investigation from Nonga have tested negative.

The Prime Minister said the COVID-19 Rapid Response Team was now working on contact tracing.

Everyone who has come into contact with the confirmed case will be immediately isolated and tested as well.

A team of medical experts id being deployed to ENB to deal with contact tracing, isolation and treatment.

The Prime Minister also announced that the Controller of the State of Emergency and Police Commissioner, David Manning, had made a decision to lock down the entire East New Britain Province for the next 21 days.

Commercial flights in and out of East New Britain are restricted.

Strict measures are being taken to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the East New Britain Province and the country as well.

The Prime Minister called upon people of PNG to remain calm and further asked for their support and understanding.

He said, “These measures may be seen as an inconvenience to you but they have been put in place to protect you and your family."

The Prime Minister said the Government was diligently working towards ensuring that its citizens were protected.

He also received reports that a Papua New Guinean had contracted the coronavirus in Laos.

He said contact tracing wa also being undertaken for this person as well.

Prime Minister Marape encouraged Papua New Guineans to continue to faithfully observe and practice health messages that had been given out.

“Wash your hands; do not touch your face; cough into your elbow; maintain physical distancing at all times and lastly please stay home,” Prime Minister Marape said.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

PM Marape updates on 14-day COVID-19 Lockdown

1. 14 Day State of Emergency

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

Please click below to watch video


2. The first case

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

3. First case's impact assessment

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

4. State of Emergency   conduct

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Economic Interventions

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

Conclusion

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

I ask our citizens not to panic.

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

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

Our people are asked to live healthy and clean. 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

PM Marape announces 14-day lockdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

" 3. New Guinea Islands Zone.

"4. Sepik Zone.

" 5. Western Border Zone.

"6. Eastern Papua Zone.

" 7. Bougainville Zone.

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

" We will get through this phase.

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

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

"God bless PNG." 

Saturday, March 07, 2020

PM Marape welcomes new Fijian High Commissioner

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


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

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

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

PM Marape acknowledges Japanese infrastructure aid

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

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



Monday, March 02, 2020

PM Marape commended by Solomon Islands and PNG business leaders

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, March 01, 2020

PM Marape meets PNG community in Solomon Islands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PM Marape with PNG High Commission staff. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

PM Marape and PM Sogavare sign bilateral agreements in Honiara

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


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

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



These two documents are:

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

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


  1. Framework Agreement on Development and Economic Cooperation 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 28, 2020

PM Marape: PNG looks to strengthen ties with Solomon Islands

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

" It was a privilege to meet with you. 

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

***

PM Marape arrives to a red carpet welcome in Solomon Islands

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

This was followed by a State Dinner  in Honiara. 

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

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

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

Monday, February 24, 2020

PM Marape addresses New Zealand Institute of International Affairs

Parliament House, Wellington
Monday 24th February, 2020
                           
Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests.



Thank you for the opportunity to talk to you about the important changes, I am initiating in Papua New Guinea.

As you know, I was elected as my country’s 8th Prime Minister on the 30th May 2019. It is, without doubt, the greatest honour of my life, and I give thanks to God for giving me this opportunity.

Before I proceed, I would also like to take this opportunity to again thank Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the New Zealand Government for the warm hospitality my delegation and I have received this week.

As I said on Friday at our joint press conference in Auckland. our bilateral relations is in good shape and will continue to grow and flourish through various development cooperation arrangements.

The fact that I accepted an invitation by Prime Minister Ardern as Guest of the New Zealand Government for my first official visit to this beautiful country speaks volumes about the closeness of our relationship.

Australia and New Zealand are my first official engagements overseas. This underpins the significance of our strategic interests as close neighbours in the region.

The imperative to interface on issues of mutual interests, including sharing of information on our common security concerns among others, is becoming perceptible more than ever.

New Zealand has always been a close bilateral partner and friend indeed. In many instances when PNG has needed assistance, New Zealand has always been the first country to offer its support.

The uplift of 17 PNG students from Wuhan, China,  to New Zealand is a case in point.

I have been invited to speak to you today on “A New Direction for Papua New Guinea”. This topic resonates and underline determination of my Government to bring about change, progress and sustainable growth.

My Government includes a core group of young, educated, like-minded leaders who are with me to forge a new partnership and direction for Papua New Guinea.

Ladies and gentlemen, Papua New Guinea is at the crossroads.

We have come a long way in 44 years as a young nation and we anticipate to herald a new beginning in the 21st Century.

Notwithstanding the many pronounced challenges including systematic weaknesses of service delivery, PNG, a nation of over 830 tribal and language groups, has maintained unity in a democratic system of government, with a functional and independent judiciary, has managed to survive as one united country.

We have developed a vibrant economy, we have refined our political systems, we have enhanced democratic processes and the rule of law and made great headway in addressing the development challenges of the most geographically and culturally-diverse nation on planet earth.

But it is clear to me - and must be clear to all who care to listen - that the new generation of leaders I lead on behalf of my constituents demand change for the better through equitable and proportionate benefits are gained from the extraction of our natural resource.

In a country where population growth trends above economic growth or GDP, our annual budget provisions continues to be far less than actual need for development, it is now time to do things differently.

Generational change demands change in our modus operandi.

Now is the time to embrace economic opportunity so that we can provide for all of our people, both today and for future generations.

We have a responsibility to ensure that we invest in our future, so that our children, our children’s children and all those that come beyond, have a strong foundation.

We must take advantage of ICT and the digital economy platform and invite foreign investors in potentially high-yielding investments, downstream processing, agriculture, fisheries and other sectors of the economy.

The simple fact is that for far too long we have allowed external forces to dictate the direction that we take. I can assure you that this will now change under my watch.

We will shift from an introduced culture of dependency and complacency, where we rely on overseas aid and inward investment alone, to one where we become a vibrant economic powerhouse and are totally economically independent by expansion and diversification of our economic base.

This means that we must advance for the interests of our people. Create opportunities for growth. We must work with responsive economic partners and ensure a fair and equitable distribution of our resources.

We must embrace reform including policies and tweaking resource laws and institutions in all sectors that ensures our national net take home, whether in tax or equity or royalties for every resources, adds up to above 50 percent. But gaining more for our national coffers without stopping wastage through corruption and complacency will be injustice and efforts in vain.

Therefore, we must and will stamp out corruption. And we must and will build the institutional and governance frameworks that support sustained development, both now and in the years and decades to come.

Through all of this, it is my dream that Papua New Guinea becomes the richest black Christian nation on earth.

This is because God has blessed PNG with abundant natural resources, and by investing in correct strategies today, we have the capacity to harness those resources for the benefit of all.

We must and will examine ways to harness and unlock our natural resources. We must and will make use of local talent from our human resource pools, some of whom are so competent that they are working internationally including New Zealand. In short, we must take back our country, our economy and seize our own destiny.

As with any maturing democracy, this means that we need to change our focus. This is why I am so pleased that during our discussions this week, Prime Minister Ardern and I were able to agree to a comprehensive strategic and economic partnership, where as equals we will work together to tackle the mutual challenges that face both our great nations, in the pristine Pacific region.

This is where New Zealand’s commitment to infrastructure support is sincerely appreciated, in partnership with us, to enhance electrification and telecommunication capacity. These are the key economic enablers – enablers that will allow our economy to grow.

And of course, New Zealand’s continued partnership in a vast range of other areas to support health, education, policing, defence cooperation and so on continues to be warmly welcomed and received. All of this is evidence of the warmth of our relationship and our enduring historical ties.

But I don’t envisage this type of aid donor recipient relationship to last. In fact, within the next 10 years, I want my country to grow into economic self-reliance and independence that we ourselves become a partner in the region. This is the new chapter of the new book I want to write for my country for the next 44 years if Jesus Christ has not come back yet by then.

Now is the time to take the next step where we achieve true economic independence and determine what our future should be.

We must and will invest in technology and embrace innovation.

We must and will develop downstream processing and manufacturing capabilities and develop the human capital with appropriate skills to drive and fully industrialise our economy.

This is vital for our economic survival and an integral part of our plan for achieving long-term sustainable development.

We have a population of more than 8 million people.

We have a pool of committed and capable workers. Now is the time to harness that opportunity, create revenue, generate growth and enable wealth creation for all.

But to achieve full economic independence we need to change the mindset of our people, as well as those that seek to control or influence us.

Developers must become more attuned to our unique needs. We must and will empower our provinces to raise their own revenue and stimulate economic growth. We must overcome the rural divide and the entrapment of our people by ensuring that we create equal opportunity for all, where any person, man or woman, can achieve his or her full potential.

This means that we must and will harness the collective contributions and capacity of all our citizens. We must provide an environment where quality education and health care is available to all levels, and where all Papua New Guineans can fulfil their true potential, regardless of where they have come from or where they now live.

Embarking upon a process of substantial social, economic and structural reform cannot be achieved over night, and it cannot be achieved by one man alone. It requires a team effort, and as I have said many times, I do not have every answer to every problem that may arise.

That is why as Prime Minister I am consulting widely. I am reaching out across both sides of the political aisle to draw on and make use of the greatest talent available to us. The Ministers appointed to my cabinet have been selected on the basis of merit, and as Prime Minister, I expect them to deliver on the challenges and the tasks ahead.

All ministers must have a sense of collective belief and an intention to do what is good and right for Papua New Guinea, and Papua New Guinea alone.

 Self- interest plays no role in the Government that I lead, and those that seek to profit from public office have no place in my Government and will be made to face the full brunt of the law.

Our people have had enough, and now is the time to tackle the cancer of corruption that has taken hold, using the power of prosecution and all other means that we have at our disposal.

As a first step, the Government is currently undertaking a comprehensive diagnostic on our law-and-order capacity, and other critical areas of social service.

As Prime Minister, I want to ensure that we have the right services available in the right places to meet the needs of all our people. This requires that we review our current law-and-order and service delivery footprint so that we can determine where new investment may be required, and where needs may have changed. I want to reform, reconstruct and rehabilitate a system of government that is so cumbersome with systematic and systemic service delivery impediments including corruption.

As Prime Minister, it is my intention to reform the public service to be leaner, efficient, effective and ethical. The waste must stop. Services must be guided by economic drivers and social need, not by misguided or uninformed policy. Previously, as Finance Minister, I initiated a number of reforms to bring greater accountability to our public service and this process of reform will continue under the leadership of the Minister for the Public Service.

We must create a leaner public service that provides more joined-up Government services and reduces unnecessary duplication, and where necessary outsource or establish partnerships with the private sector and the Churches. Our public servants must be properly equipped with the skills that they need to do their jobs more efficiently, effectively and ethically, and we must place services and people where they are most needed.

By investing in our public servants, by ensuring that they have the skills and tools they need, we can truly make Papua New Guinea the country it is meant to be. A country where children are educated, the sick are treated, infrastructure is developed and where the rule of law prevails.

I am pleased to announce here that I intend to model the Papua New Guinea public service against the New Zealand model. The Chairman of the Parliamentary Public Service Committee and Oro Governor Hon. Gary Juffa, MP will lead a government delegation to New Zealand in the near future to study the New Zealand public service system.

A key priority for our new Government is to finalise the Organic Law on the Independent Commission Against Corruption. I have asked that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice treat this as a priority. I want the Commission established without delay and will ensure it has all power and authority to investigate and refer allegations of corruption. As a maturing democracy this is the right and proper path to take, and I intend to make sure it happens before the end of the Parliamentary year.

As I have already said, as Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, I want to provide opportunity for all. It is a known fact that over 80 per cent of our people live subsistence lives. We are blessed by fertile soil, and for so many, the land provides for their needs. But we need to be smarter. Papua New Guinea is endowed by enormous natural resources and it is time for us to harness those renewable resources to achieve maximum economic gain.
We must grow our primary producer sector and support our people to rise above poverty. We must create economic corridors that enable our people to get their goods to market which means we must continue to invest in roads and infrastructure. We must provide market opportunities, empower our people and open up PNG to the world. Most importantly, we must ensure income generation and job opportunities.

At the same time, we must work with our multinational commercial partners. I have said to our partners that they have nothing to fear by my election as Prime Minister. I recognise the importance of economic partnership and working together to grow our economy to ensure our people receive the benefits they so rightly deserve.

I have been clear that we will honor existing project agreements that are in full compliance with the laws of PNG. But I have also said that we will be reviewing our existing policies and laws, to ensure that future projects provide greater benefits to our people.

I already have a fresh team of PNG advisors in place who are looking at our policies and resource laws so that they can be tailored to provide the maximum domestic benefit and opportunity to our people.

This is the proper, right and fair thing to do. It does not mean that our partners cannot achieve economic benefits. Rather, the Government wants to ensure that there is a fair and equitable share of benefits of all our natural resources. This is the key for ensuring long-term project security, empowering our people and improving living standards.

The fact is, that under current benefit sharing arrangements we have witnessed minimal economic and social improvements. You simply just have to look at all the key economic and social indexes. Papua New Guinea is one of the worst in the world despite all our natural resources and world class operations by multinational companies.

What I am proposing is a new and holistic economic and social partnership. One that garners opportunity for all, not just a few. For as it stands, we have little to show for years of resource harvests and give away and little to celebrate today.

This has to change.

Foreign investors that respect our laws will be protected and we will work in partnership. But let me be clear, foreign owned companies that break our laws, exploit our people, or harm our natural resources will be held to account.

We will work with investors willing to develop meaningful downstream processing facilities so that we can truly harness the benefits that economic sectors, such as gold, copper, iron, oil, gas, forestry and fisheries can provide. But, we will no longer allow foreign companies to profit unfairly from our natural resources, and those that fail to adhere to regulatory requirements will suffer the full force of law.

PNG will turn 50 years as an independent nation six years from now in 2025. Many of the resource policies and laws we have now were developed earlier to attract investors and many of our present industry players have enjoyed the benefit of those generous policies and laws and various incentives we have conceded along the way.

Our Government intends to develop and refine our policies and rewrite our laws for a new chapter in our new PNG Book to be effective in 2025 and beyond.

Those promulgations will embrace world best practices where most global investors already know including my new focus on downstream processing, better definition of local content, domestic market and industry fed from our resources.

These policies embraces all sectors including renewable resources like sustainable harvest of agriculture, forestry and marine resources.

Agriculture and food industry will receive my special attention because PNG is closer to over 3 billion people in Asia, Indo-Pacific region who will need to eat food and especially organic food that we are capable of producing.

The need for energy and other resources in Asia is also good for PNG too, and my Government will tailor correct policy framework including tax incentives to ensure low cost of doing business in PNG like having cheaper and reliable power and communication. This will sustain our quest to grow our economy.

So for those investors who hold exploration licenses or permits and want to enjoy present terms, you are encouraged to progress your license conditions because regime shifts are coming to be implemented in 2025.

To conclude, I simply say this, PNG is shifting to a new gear for change.

Majority of Papua New Guinean’s demand this change that not honouring them borders on treason against a national cause. We will take back PNG, empower our people and write a great new book with many successful chapters going into the future.

We will make Papua New Guinea one of the most successful countries and economies of the world. This will ensure the present global assets we house in PNG, like the 6 to 7 percent of world's biodiversity and also our huge tropical rainforest that continues to contribute to global oxygen supply is not lost through unsustainable deforestation.

It is my desire to diversify PNG’s economic base and make it rich, from this perspective and utilise our global assets like rainforest and biodiversity.

Esteemed members of Lowy Institute and participants and media, you can help me sell the story of PNG better, for it is a global story too.

You need oxygen as much as I need it, we need biodiversity for world’s healing, we need our Pacific Ocean to be healthy and pollution-free. Such can only happen when a leading country in the Pacific in Papua New Guinea in which God placed such global assets to have a diverse and improved economy that is harvested sustainably.

For the world is littered with stories of irreversible environmental degradation where economically hungry people or nation plunder resources unsustainably. The chapters and book I choose to write for PNG has benefits not only for PNG but the world too.

Thank you.