BY GORETHY KENNETH of Post-Courier
Annually the government is spending K600million to import rice.
The government plans to cut the import of rice despite an increase of 5 percent annually in consumption.
IT will take at least five years for Papua New Guinea to start producing and exporting its own rice and for the eight million people to consume.
Agriculture Minister Benny Allen in his response to Menyamya MP Thomas Pelika said there are at least five companies that are in the process of producing rice locally – one of which is Naime Rice.
Minister Allen was taken to task by Mr Pelika during Question Time in Parliament about the Government’s plans to have rice grown locally and help with job creation for provinces like Menyamya.
September 29, 2017
Source: Post – Courier
Port Moresby city yesterday witnessed a K80 million addition to its fast developing road network with the opening of the Koura Way Road.
Works Minister Michael Nali opened the new road which links the suburb of Tokarara and Hanuabada village which is a distance of over 4km.
According to Mr Nali this brings to K2 billion in total the amount invested by the Government in NCD including all sports stadiums, the Jackson International Airport-Waigani fly over and other infrastructure.
This also makes Port Moresby city the fastest growing urban centre in the country coupled with other building infrastructure and business expansions.
“The city is moving in the right direction, you have the opening of this K80 million road project, you know the Government has given up to K2 billion to National Capital District Commission for all these roads, stadiums, all hospitals, and the flyover.
“When we built the Poreporena Freeway, critics said it was a waste of money, yet they drive on the freeway,” he said.
Mr Nali described those critics as spineless and said “we must move forward and develop.”
He urged the people of the city to look after the infrastructures around the city. It is the third road project that has been constructed to ease the traffic congestion in the city.
The Waigani, Tokarara to Hanuabada road is 4.5km, with 250 energy saving lights installed and was constructed with a Bank South Pacific loan.
THE Government will develop a special economic zone on Manus to address job and internal revenue losses following the shutdown of the asylum refugee center.
National Planning and Monitoring Minister Richard Maru, pictured, said internal revenue for Manus would decrease from K25 million to K1.5 million per annum following the closure.
“About 1200 jobs will be lost, 100 small-to-medium enterprises will go out of business,” he said.
“The Government will set a special economic zone for Manus.
“We will put money in the 2018 budget to start the marine park on the west coast of Manus.
“We will also put money to plant 40,000 rubber trees on Manus.
“Most areas have been logged.
“We took stock of this.
“We now need to find investors to go into Manus to put up the fish (tuna) plant.”
The minister was responding to Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin on the Government’s fall-back plan for Manus as some refugees had already began the island province.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says his government is in the process to relook at agreements to see foreign revenues from gas sales that find their way into the country.
Responding to the foreign currency woes currently faced, he said with the continuous sale of LNG, a precursor for foreign currency inflows – the agreement signed by past governments were designed unfairly for the country to keep the funds overseas. Mr O’Neill said this when East Sepik Governor Allan Bird asked why the sale of a shipment of gas at US$50 million, every three days, could not alleviate the forex issue.
“They have allowed exporters and proponent, developers to park all these revenues overseas. While we are making the exports they have been allowing them to park the money overseas and the money is not coming back into the country.”
“That is the reason why we are not receiving enough foreign currency even though we are making the exports,” Mr O’Neill said.
“Agreements have been designed very unfairly for Papua New Guinea. There have been of course smart economists in the past always thought that the fear of the Dutch disease, what they call that there is too much foreign currency in the economy.”
He said this fear has resulted in the parking of funds outside of the country through the agreements signed by the previous regime that took the lead in the LNG negotiations.
“We are trying to unwind that, talking to some of the project developers that they must bring in foreign currency that is rightfully Papua New Guinea’s back into the country.”
Women from the Peoples National Congress (PNC) party have come out to thank the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for his concern in seriously addressing the issue of women representation in the 10th National Parliament.
PNC Party women who had gathered in Port Moresby, said they supported the Prime Minister in his idea of having one male governor and one female governor but elected by everyone in each province and the implication that it will have from the current parliament of 111 members of Parliament to 133.
“We, the party women, are proud of our party leader and prime minister, who is open-minded about women’s role in the development of Papua New Guinea,” said Kathy Tom, a member of the ruling party.
“PNC will create history in the world when it takes a bold step to pass law to ensure with certainty the representation of women from the provinces through the women who would be elected as Governors.”
The group said they understand that there is a lot of work to be done but they are ready and willing to work with the prime minister to make this a reality before the next General Election in 2022.
“I commend the Treasurer as this is his first budget/money plan. There are now some renewed sense of energy in Treasury and of course as a result of that you can see some real drive into outstanding issues like over expenditure by public servants. The Treasurer is definitely getting things back on track.”
Mr O’Neill said that development is taking place across the country in the areas of infrastructure, health and education. “This is only the beginning and we will make sure we deliver before this term expires,” he said.
“You see, when we came into office in 2012, we built major infrastructure that you see now,” he said.
“If we did not build these infrastructure, the recession will be far worse than today.”
Mr O’Neill said the National Alliance-led government was in control for 15 years and they handed out about seven supplementary budgets when they had surplus, but never built any infrastructure.
“To date, they still can’t name an infrastructure they built, and they left no money in the Trust Account,” he said. “Treasury is the engine room, the heart that controls the body, and you should be very careful.
“It is a fact, that we are all responsible to correct the position when they are course blow outs, to correct it so we set new targets and that is 2.5 per cent of GDP,” Mr O’Neill said.