Category Archives: Economy

Cost of rice will not increase: Trukai

Source: Loop PNG

 

PNG’s leading rice supplier, Trukai Industries, says it will not increase the cost of rice in the country.

 

Trukai Industries CEO, Greg Worthington-Eyre, said while Trukai understands and is deeply concerned over the current economic conditions in PNG, and the pending inflationary impact of fuel price increases, currency devaluation and reduced consumer spending power, it has no plans at this point of passing on the impact of these issues to PNG consumers.

 

Worthington-Eyre says Trukai’s focus on food security, which includes affordability and quality, is at the forefront and they will be making every effort to support the people of PNG.

 

Trukai is the oldest and largest rice distribution and manufacturer in PNG, having been established in February 17th, 1970.

 

Apart from rice, they also supply stockfeed.

Author: Charmaine Poriambep

APEC Meet To Boost Local Businesses

Source: Post-Courier

 

BY MATTHEW VARI

The APEC summit this year is expected to boost the country’s economy through direct spending anticipated at K200 million by more than 15,000 international delegates.

 
This is according to APEC PNG 2018 Co-ordination Authority CEO, Christopher Hawkins on the gain for local businesses during the summit this year.

 
“There is a few different areas for business, one is throughout the year with more than fifteen to eighteen thousand delegates coming, and that is not just the people attending the meetings, but those who arrange for their delegations and ministers and leaders, we estimate there will be a cash injection of around K200 million straight through that,” Mr Hawkins said.

 
He said the estimate covers airfares, accommodation, setting-up temporary offices for delegates to support their ministers, presidents and prime ministers.

 
Mr Hawkins said the spending indicated in the 2018 Budget appropriation of K300 million will also be spent in the local economy, with a major portion also focused on security preparations for that budget.

 
“Then there is the direct spending. We break that into consumables for the meetings that includes booking venues for meetings, the papers used to the signage to bottle of water to the transportation around the city.

 
“That comes out of the APEC budget this year, but don’t forget the big part of the APEC budget is security. That is investing in capacity we should have been advancing many years ago and now our government is in preparation for APEC investing in that capacity.”

 
Mr Hawkins said progress into the year will see more and more tender opportunities posted on the APEC tenders website.

 
“Areas like production of shirts hospitality and catering. We engaged a lot last year that went up on the APEC tenders website.”

Deal made for fishing businesses to recieve loans

By MARK HAIHUIE 


THE National Fisheries Authority has paid K1 million to the Peoples Microbank Limited as part of an arrangement to provide a loan facility to fishing businesses.

 
Bank’s head of credit Danny Koka said it was an installment of the K5 million agreed to in 2014.

 
Koka said the agreement with NFA since 2014 was the commitment of K5 million which would be used as a revolving fund for fisheries business loans.

 
“So far they have given usK3 million and from that we have already lent out K4.2 million to customers,” he said.

 
“The maximum we disperse is K25,000 for fisheries-based business such as to those who want to buy dinghies for their businesses or equipment for fishing and across a range of needs.

 
“This next installment will go a long way in supporting the success we have had with the loans from this arrangement.”

 
NFA provincial support and industry development executive manager Welete Wararu said similar arrangements were in place with other organisations.

 
She said it was important to have timely reporting on funds used to enable funding from NFA.

 
“We are not in the banking business but rather come in with funding to create an enabling environment for fisheries businesses to get funding with ease,” she said.

 
“It is important for us at NFA to have reports on the funds so that funds committed through our agreements either for PML or others to be given early so that we can maintain the support for those in the fisheries sector by getting the funding.”

Airline hails increase in transport subsidies

ONE proposed Government action that should clearly benefit PNG Air is the proposal to increase subsidies for the transport of perishable agricultural products in the country, says chairman Murray Woo.

 
He said this was a sensible economic policy, promoting growth in the agricultural sector, and potentially leading to export markets as well as some import substitution.

 
“It fits particularly well with PNG Air’s decision to convert one of its Dash 8 aircraft to a freighter configuration,” Woo said. “Increased vegetable carriage would provide a steady revenue stream from this aircraft, importantly on flights into Port Moresby.

 
“The aircraft is also able to carry relatively large one-off loads by charter, and to make other regular cargo runs.

 
“The board has not been content to rely on re-fleeting and an upturn in the PNG economy alone to improve the company’s performance.”

 
He said Nasfund, as one of the airline’s major shareholders, had commissioned a report on the company’s business and strategy from the major aviation consultants Aviado.
“The board looks forward to seeing what they may recommend,” he said.

 
“The company has also been the subject of a report from board and governance consultants appointed by the Bank of PNG to look at the board functioning and corporate governance of all companies in which superannuation companies such as Nasfund have substantial holdings, and some recommendations from those consultants to further improve the company’s governance are being implemented.

 
“While there are these positives, certain challenges remained in 2017 due in particular to the weak economic conditions and deteriorating exchange rates.

 
“The falling world commodity prices of the past four years have seen exploration activity remain low and as a result the charter business was flat.”

 

Source: The National

Mori invites NZ to invest in agro sector

COMMERCE and Industry Minister Wera Mori has invited New Zealand to invest in Papua New Guinea’s agriculture sector.

 
Mori went to New Zealand to seek investments in the renewable sector, seek support and networking between co-operatives in PNG and New Zealand in agro industries.

 
He held talks with Cooperatives Business New Zealand, Fonterra Dairies and the New Zealand Business Council.

 
PNG provides the largest market for Fonterra’s dairy products.

 
Mori said Fonterra was looking at increasing its global market share, and was an opportunity for PNG to create the incentives which would attract such a large global player in agribusiness and co-operatives in PNG.

 
Fonterra produces dairy products in New Zealand with 10,500 co-operative farmers.
It is willing to extend its social responsibility to PNG through its one-milk one-child per day programme next year.

 
“Fonterra Dairy produces 22 billion litres of milk annually to supply two billion of its customers around the world,” Mori said.

 
“Such opportunities should be considered in the Sepik plain, Markham Valley, Central and parts of the Highlands.”

 
Co-operative Business New Zealand chief executive officer Craig Presland invited Mori and other government institutions to participate at the week-long summit on Feb 27 next year in Auckland.

Source: The National

Photo Credit: Loop PNG.

GAME CHANGER

 

 

DEVELOPMENT in one of Port Moresby’s iconic area, Paga Hill, will be a “game changer” for the Capital city.

That’s from NCD Governor Powes Parkop when witnessing a historic agreement to begin stage one of the development on Paga Hill.

Governor Parkop, and Lands and APEC Minister Justin Tkatchenko, witnessed the signing by Paga Hill Development Company, and its Advisory Board, who will provide AU$20 million in offshore funding to commence construction of Stage one.

Paga Hill Development Company, led by its chief executive officer Gudmundur Fridriksson, signed the agreement before the two NCD MPs that will see the development of 1.7 hectares waterfront site, which will include restaurants, cafes, retail, commercial and residential apartments.

Advisory board director Peter Barge, the world renowned Australian property executive who was involved in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, Macau, Dubai and other major developments as Jones Lang La Salle Asia Pacific chairman and CEO, flew into PNG from Sydney this week to complete the agreement.

Mr Barge, who was joined in Port Moresby by fellow board members David Galvin and Simon Dulhunty, said the vision for Paga Hill “will help transform a city and country into an emerging tourism destination, while creating many local jobs and boosting the national economy”.

Governor Parkop said his vision is for “Port Moresby to be a model city in the South Pacific, leading the way in tourism and business”, with Paga Hill a key part of this strategy.

He is impressed to see the project now moving from design to construction.

Minister Tkatchenko expressed his appreciation at the amount of open space and discussed the opportunity of establishing a joint working group to ensure the best possible outcome for city and residents, as well as the developers.

Civil works on stage one are well underway with actual construction to commence in March 2018, with Mr Fridriksson saying Stage one will set the scene for what’s to come at Paga Hill Estate, “with waterfront retail, dining and entertainment, it will be an ideal place to live, work and play.”

Source: Post-Courier

Govt signs deal to grow cotton

THE Government’s fact-finding mission to India has resulted in an agreement on mutual agricultural investment prospects.

 
Agriculture and Livestock Minister Benny Allen said a draft agreement was with the government of India and would be sent to Papua New Guinea for further input and signing.
Allen said a new agriculture prospect for PNG highlighted in the draft was the commercialised farming of cotton in Papua New Guinea.

 
He said apart from cotton, commodities such as wheat/grain, rice and livestock were prospect areas for PNG.

 
Allen said it would seek to capture two focus areas where the Indian government could assist agriculture development in PNG.

 
They include the development of a central seeds bank for PNG and research and technology assistance for the PNG National Agriculture Research Institute.

 
Allen said he proposed to the director of the Indian Agriculture Institute to have Papua New Guineans undergo training at the institute.

 
Also, an agriculture machinery manufacturer has shown interest in training mechanics in repairing equipment and also set up shop in Papua New Guinea for businesses to buy equipment.

 
Moreover, Allen said Papua New Guinea has much to learn from India as it has developed largely due to agriculture.

Source: The National

SMEs Progress Well In Chimbu

Source: Post-Courier

BY LYNETTE KIL

Small business operators in Chuave, Chimbu Province, are experiencing success in their business thanks to small and medium enterprises.

Managing director of Roosts Security Service James Kai thanked MP for Chuave and Minister for Commerce and Trade Wera Mori for his initiative in promoting SMEs.

With this help Mr Kai also saw his security firm extending his business branch from Lae to Port Moresby.

“With this SME I have confidence that I will further set up my branches in other provinces as well,” he said.

Other PMV operators and trade store operators are now expanding their business as well.

He encouraged other people to help themselves and make use of the opportunity and service that are provided by their leaders to sustain themselves and contribute to the country development.

 

The Govt’s 100 Day Plan Expires Tomorrow(19th December 2017)

 


BY GORETHY KENNETH

The Government’s 100 days 25 Point Plan expires tomorrow (Tuesday) with most of the proposed projects proactively undertaken, Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel have said.

 

And in light of prevailing circumstances the 100 days 25 Point Plan was and is intended to demonstrate proactively and inspire confidence and kick-start the Alotau Accord II by undertaking specific activities around.

 

“Not so long ago I stood here and delivered the 2017 Supplementary Budget that was Point 1 in the 25 Point 100 Day Plan to kick-start the Alotau Accord ll of this coalition government.

 

“The 2018 Budget our first substantive annual budget, is Point 2 of the 100 Day Plan, and will be another illustration of our intention to deliver on our promise to maintain fiscal discipline, grow our revenues, strengthen our economic base, improve governance and act strategically,” Mr Abel said.

 

“Our Government has taken stock following the national elections through a consultative process of engagement with stakeholders from Government, the private sector, development partners and community-based organisations.

 

“This has been important in helping guide our interventions, and in the spirit of partnership we will continue this open engagement.”

 

“These activities obviously roll into Points 1 and 2 of the 25 Point Plan which are the 2017 Supplementary and 2018 Budgets.

 

“The intention in Points 1 and 2 was to maintain fiscal discipline in the light of the prevailing difficult circumstances in terms of our budget parameters of a 2.5% fiscal deficit and debt to GDP of 30% so as not to put more stress on government financing and the economy.

 

“A number of measures were undertaken to maintain this discipline but primarily as per Point 4, and thanks to the understanding of Honourable Members of this Parliament, the Service Improvement Program was reduced in 2017,” he said.

 

Here’s how the 25-Point Plan was carried out and is being implemented now:

 

Point 3 was related to payroll strengthening and the OSPEAC (Organisation Staffing and Personnel Emoluments Committee) has been reactivated and is progressing a payroll audit and cleansing exercise and the MD registration requirement as explained by the Minister for Public Service in Parliament. This is in response to the primary cost escalation factor of Government which is the unsustainable growth in personnel emoluments.

 

Point 5 was for:

 

i) The drawdown of the balance of the Credit Suisse loan of which two technical requirements will have been met following this budget session enabling the final balance to be drawn.

 

ii) To access World Bank and ADB budget support funding for the 2018 budget. This has been achieved following my trip to Washington where the World Bank provides US$100m for debt restructuring in 2018 and another $100m in both 2019 and 2020. The A08 is also providing budget support commencing in 2018 for the health sector of up to US$300m commencing in 2018. These measures provide financial resources on good terms and bring in foreign exchange.

 

Point 6 was for:

 

i) Oil Search to provide a minimum of 50% of the crude oil needs to the Napanapa Refinery and in Kina terms. This has been achieved through an agreement and is happening.

 

ii) Transition to gas-powered electricity the Pom Gas 58MW electricity project has been approved by Cabinet and has commenced construction to provide the cheapest in country power source using our own gas and all sales denominated in Kina. The new power plant will be owned by Oil Search and Kumul Petroleum with shares to be taken up by MRDC. The availability of domestic gas can catalyse other gas-powered initiatives.

 

iii) Rice production the rice quota scheme has been delayed and 3 large scale rice projects are being developed with 3 separate private sector partners with potential support in the 2018 budget through the Agriculture Commercialization Fund.

 

iv) The Bank of Papua New Guinea intervention into the forex market with US$100m is done. The BPNG is also conducting a review of all foreign currency accounts and the obligations of those account holders, particularly resource companies to remit excess funds back to PNG.

 

Point 7 for non-tax revenue collecting agencies to remit 90% of their revenues to CRF has commenced with some immediate action with specific agencies and will be reinforced by the Public Money Management Regularization Bill 2017 approved by Cabinet and to be tabled in conjunction with this Budget.

 

Points 8 and 10 relate to tax regime reform and this is being managed through the new Medium Term Revenue Strategy, developed in conjunction with the IMF and a new Tax Administration Bill which I will bring shortly. Measures will commence in this budget to tidy up the tax code and the BPNG, lRC, IPA and commercial banks are cooperating to enforce compulsory Tax Identification Number requirement for opening bank accounts. The commercial banks have agreed to provide information to the lRC regarding bank accounts being operated in a business manner for further scrutiny.

 

Significant funding support is provided in the 2018 budget for both the IRC and Customs to boost capacity against quantified additional revenue collection.

 

Point 9 was the establishment of the task forces for the IRC, Lands and the Customs and Illicit Trade. Funding has been provided in the Supplementary Budget and the Attorney General, Labour and immigration Ministers are leading the Customs and illicit Trade, Lands Minister the Lands task force and Treasurer the IRC task force.

 

Point 11 is for the progress of some significant resource development projects and; Wapi Golpu, PNG LNG expansion, Papua LNG is all on track for early works, pre FEED or FEED in 2018. Western LNG has announced pre FEED works last month.

 

Point 12 is for the launch of the new Australian DFAT grant-funded projects; the PNG Australia Economic and Social infrastructure Program and ANGAU Hospital re-development design are still pending, and the TB Project co-funded with the World Bank has had the financing documents executed already.

 

Point 13 is the power projects;

 

i) the 58 MW Pom Gas project construction has begun.

 

ii) the 30MW PNG Biomass Project in Markham with Oil Search is in progress.

 

iii) the Ramu 2 180MW Project has had commercial close via a Cabinet decision but is pending financial close due to certain conditions precedent.

 

iv) Naoro Brown River Hydro Project is progressing with funding from the World Bank.

 

v) Hela Gas power solution is being negotiated with Exxon Mobil and Oil Search.  In the meantime, funding is provided in this budget to pull the power “”9 from Mendi to Hides to provide the missing power and NBN telecommunications link to access power to the communities from the Ramu Grid and surplus from the Tari existing generator.

 

Point 14 is certain high impact projects:

 

i) the international submarine cable that the Australian Government has now offered to fund from Sydney to Port Moresby and Port Moresby to Honiara. PNG will own these 100% and 50% respectively and will substantially increase reliability and lower the cost of data into PNG some 25 times.  In the Pacific Marine, Industrial Project has had a new financing agreement sign with the China EXIM Bank, the Sepik Plains agriculture project, together with Baiyer Valley and the Centre.

 

Plains are identified for large-scale rice production as described earlier.

 

Point 15 is the commencement of the US$1 billion upgrade of the Highlands Highway of which the Project Management Unit has been established at Works and contracts have been advertised for supervisory contractors. Work will commence in 2018.

 

Point 16 is the Gerehu 38 Affordable Housing Pilot Project where 1,762 allotments are being made available free to qualifying citizens. The earthworks have been completed and power and water services are now being constructed. Together with the concessional funding at BSP this will make housing accessible to ordinary Papua New Guineans and drive construction and employment. It can provide an example to duplicate in other centres.

 

Point 17 is for the commencement of the new Enga Provincial Hospital construction and Mount Hagen Hospital PPP redevelopment plan in 2018.

 

Point 18 is for the ceasing of closed tender financing which Cabinet has approved and the bringing forward the National Procurement Authority Bill which is ready to come back to Cabinet after changes were requested by Cabinet.

 

Point 19 requires audited accounts for SOEs and Statutory Authorities by mid-2018.

 

As Treasurer I will be tabling all the reports for the Agencies under my responsibility as soon as they are cleared by Cabinet.

 

Point 20 is to have all prescribed Boards appointed. This is underway particularly under the State Enterprises Minister and the Agriculture Minister.

 

Point 21 refers to freeing up resource landowner benefits;

 

i) the PNG LNG landowners vetting issues are ongoing but royalty payments to the plant site landowners have commenced and it is anticipated to shortly resolve the pipeline first payments and progress to the conclusion the clan vetting at the gas fields.

 

ii) the OK Tedi landowner CMCA and Non-CMCA have funds held in Trust that has been cleared by the Courts and I am waiting for advice from the Justice

 

Department to authorise some of the pending contracted works against those funds.

 

Point 22 proposed to suspend proposed amendments to the Lands Act, the lPA Act, the Agriculture Investment Act, the Agriculture Administration Adjustment Act and the Mineral Resources Authority and the Mining Act to allow further consultation. This has been done.

 

Point 23 refers to the National Energy Authority Bill. This should refer to the Petroleum Authority Bill which is being finalised for Parliament.

 

Point 24 refers to progressing the Population Policy and funding has been provided in the 2018 budget under the Sustainable Development Program at Planning for this.

 

Point 25 refers to Medium Term Development Plan3 to be published in 2018. This is the 5-year development plan and indicator targets for the government of the day which will incorporate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Source: Post-Courier

Government embarks on major reforms in 2018

12/12/2017

Source: Loop PNG

The Government will be promoting value for money in 2018 through a number of reforms.

 

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Charles Abel, said the Government is confident in delivering to the people through these reforms.

 

Abel said some of these reform initiatives are aimed at reducing inefficiencies, rebasing the size and function of the public service, and re-aligning public sector functions and responsibilities to avoid duplication of roles and responsibilities.

 

The reforms include:

  • Improving the management of personnel emoluments, through the work of OSPEAC;
  • Reducing leakages by implementing the amalgamations programme, and reforming procurement;
  • Improving the selection of capital projects by creating the committee led by Planning to evaluate financial and economic impacts of each projects;
  • Merging National departments and agencies;
  • Management of manpower and personnel emolument ceilings; and
  • Industrial Pay Fixation Agreements.

 

Meantime, Abel added that the Government will also be embarking on major reforms in the business sector leading up to the APEC Summit in 2018.

 

Author: Freddy Mou

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