Monthly Archives: November 2016

Increased Tax for High Income Housing

The Secretary for Treasury, Dairi Vele, has called on media outlets to refer to fact over sensation in commentary on amendments to the taxable component of the housing benefits.
Secretary Vele said the facts are clear in the budget documents, that the only people affected by changes are those with more than K3,000 per week in accommodation cost.
“The amendment will not affect low-to-medium income accommodation rates,” Secretary Vele said.




HUNDREDS of working-class Papua New Guineans living in company-provided housing could lose more than half of their fortnightly salary if the Government’s new housing-benefits tax comes into effect next year.

This is because the rent value of the employer-supplied accommodation will be included with the actual salary component of the worker.

So, if a worker earns K600 a fortnight and lives in accommodation valued at K700 a week in larger cities like Port Moresby, Lae or Goroka, for example, the worker will be taxed on the sum K2000 (total benefits of K600+K1400) – even though he or she does not actually receive the extra K700 in cash every week.

Based on the prescribed calculations used by the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) a worker earning K600 a fortnight before tax with three dependents and living in a high cost house or unit in Port Moresby will be required to pay K453.46 as personal income tax. This means their take-home pay being drastically reduced to about K147.

This is from the analysis by PNG NRI’s economic policy program leader and senior research fellow, Dr Francis Odhuno in his presentation “Some Tax Issues in the 2017 PNG Government” to the 2016 Leadership PNG Dialogue Series held at Lamana Hotel last week.

Dr Odhuno argued that the consequences of the proposed increase in taxable component of employer-provided housing benefit would greatly reduce people’s capacity to save and invest.

“With no or meagre savings, very few working class people will be able to start small and medium enterprises or buy their own homes. It will also push workers into low-cost housing or into settlements,” he added.

According to the Budget documents the proposed adjustments will come in effect in January 2017 with painful adjustment expected for a number of working class people especially in the major cities|



APEC leaders expressed concern about ongoing environmental issues faced by APEC member countries during the recent APEC heads of government meeting in Lima, Peru.

Concerns were raised on the impact of environmental damage in some of APEC and its member economies.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said that the spill over of environmental impacts into neighbouring countries’ borders had an adverse effect on people and the environment.

He described the issue was of great concern amongst APEC leaders who agreed to work together in managing some of the environmental challenges that we will continue to face.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said global leaders had to be focused on addressing and also implementing the outcomes of the Paris agreement on climate change.


By: Des Yaninen
Do you have a million kina idea? Tired of having your loan declined by banks because you don’t have equity or security? Well most Banks can accept customary land as long as it is titled and valued and give you funding up to 50%of its value. If you don’t want a loan you can lease it out via a commercial lease and still make plenty.

Almost everyone in PNG can be a millionaire property owner and successful SME owner through Voluntary Customary Land Registration.


If your family owns a beautiful beach for example, why not turn it into a tourist attraction and build a resort there? If you own grassland, how about raising cattle? There’s no limit to what we can do with our land.

Flora Kwapena, the former Valuer General of PNG explains how we can have our land titled and valued in her article on page 25 of today’s The National. Email her for more information on

Invest heavily in Agriculture – Minister Tomscoll says

By: The National

A CABINET Minister has warned that the country must invest heavily in agriculture if it is to enjoy a healthy and strong economy.

Agriculture and Livestock Minister Tommy Tomscoll, pictured, said the Government should every year invest between K1.5 billion and K2 billion – or 10 per cent of the national budget – to develop and expand the agriculture sector.

Tomscoll was speaking during the commissioning of a new rice milling machine in Angoram, East Sepik last Wednesday.

He was accompanied by Angoram MP Salio Waipo and Agriculture and Livestock deputy secretary technical services Stephen Mombi.
The Sepik Organic Rice milling plant is headed by champion model farmer Kristofer Wesley Piso.

Tomscoll said food was the biggest business and tradeable commodity in the world.

“Food is the number one business in the world,” Tomscoll said.
“Food alone is the biggest tradeable commodity in the world today.
“Since Independence, our economy was driven by agriculture – not gold, not copper.

“There was no oil, no gas. Life was better, standard of living was better.”


He said agriculture does not require a degree.
“Agriculture has proven that you don’t have to go to a university to become a rice farmer,” Tomscoll said.

“You don’t need to go to a college to become a cocoa farmer.
“You are gifted even before you are born to be a farmer.

“Farming is our inheritance. Our land is our strength.
“Our land is our identity. It has given us a better life.”

He said the first millionaires of Papua New Guinea were not university graduates. Coffee farmers in Goroka were millionaires,” Tomscoll said.

“This the 1960s stories. First copra farmer was a Bougainvillean.”
He said the problem since the mid-80s was people thought oil would bring change to the country.

He said agriculture was the country’s backbone.

“We think we will be like the Arabs that gas will change this country. But it will never change this country.

Sir Nagora to address university on tax reform in PNG

By: National

TAXATION Review Committee chairman Sir Nagora Bogan will address the Australian National University (ANU) on economic diversification and tax reform in Papua New Guinea next month.

The committee recently completed a comprehensive review of the country’s tax system involving extensive and transparent stakeholder consultation over the course of two years.

This culminated in two volumes of reports – inclusive of significant economic and tax reform recommendations – which were formally presented to the PNG Government in November last year.

“The final report highlighted the high risks of PNG’s overdependence on the extractive sector and its vulnerability to the cyclical vagaries of global commodities pricing, and recommended a ‘paradigm shift’ in the governance, management and stimulation of sustainable economic development,” ANU said.

“PNG’s vulnerability has become pronounced in recent months with the drop in the oil price resulting in fiscal distress, lack of foreign exchange, and economic slowdown.

“PNG is at a precarious crossroads and tax reform provides an opportunity for a strategic transformation.


“The report provides some realistic and practical policy, legal, institutional, and structural reforms to mitigate economic risk and vulnerability by diversifying the economic base to more sustainable sectors like agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism.” Sir Nagora is also Chancellor of the PNG University of Technology and chairman of the PNG tax panel of experts.

He began his career with the PNG Taxation Office and during the 1980s and 1990s took a leading role in modernising tax administration in PNG.

From 1991-1995, he was non-salaried chairman of the London-based Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators, and from 1996 to 2002 PNG’s Ambassador to the United States of America with concurrent accreditation as Ambassador to Mexico and High Commissioner to Canada.

He served as chairman of the Nambawan Super Fund Ltd for more than a decade.

The seminar is presented as part of the Development Policy Centre’s PNG Project, which receives funding from the Australian Aid Programme through the Pacific Governance and Leadership Precinct.

Buying of customary land is now illegal

The buying of customary land is now illegal, according to the Constitutional Law Reform Commission (CLRC).

CLRC Chairman, Dr Eric Kwa, says amendments to the Land Act and the Land Registration Act forbid the purchase of customary land.

In Port Moresby, the expensive real estate market and the potential business opportunities in the capital has brought a dramatic increase in customary land being sold, often cheaply, by landowners.

Dr Kwa says this practice is illegal and is calling on landowners, particularly the Motu and Koitabuans, to register their land and open it up in an appropriate manner for business.


“Some of you that are going into these customary places and buying land by yourselves, we are coming to tell you that’s illegal.

“We want to have landowners within the city and towns to register their customary land and lease it. No sale!” says Dr Kwa.

The announcement by the CLRC will not go down well for many who have invested in building homes and conducting business on land purchased from landowners.

The Taurama Valley is an example of the number of people and businesses who have invested heavily in the land and infrastructure.

Dr Kwa made his comments during the Certified Practicing Accounts Annual Conference in Port Moresby.

Fidel Castro’s death brings joy, grief

Source: CNN

The streets of Havana were as somber Saturday as the streets of Little Havana in Miami were festive.

The death of Fidel Castro, the polarizing strongman who dominated Cuba for decades and agitated his neighbors in the United States, triggered both mourning and celebration.

In Cuba, a period of nine days of national mourning began.

All activities and public performances will stop, and the flag will be flown at half-staff in public and military establishments. Radio and television will broadcast patriotic and historical programming, state news outlet Granma reported.

A concert by famed tenor Placido Domingo was canceled and clubs that were usually alive with music were silent.


The mood was decidedly different just across the Straits of Florida in Miami. In the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, home to Cuban exiles, revelers partied all day, waving Cuban or US flags while some sang to festive music.

Castro died Friday at 90. His brother, Raul Castro, announced his death in a televised statement. Fidel Castro’s body was cremated and his ashes will be publicly displayed in the capital’s Revolution Square the first few days next week. Then they will be taken by vehicle to Santiago de Cuba, the nation’s second most populous city, where they will be interred.

“I say to the people of Cuba, with profound pain I come here to inform our people, our friends of America and the world, that today, 25 November, 2016, at 10:29 pm, died the chief commander of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz,” Raul Castro said.

Havana quiet as news slowly spreads

The streets of Havana were quiet overnight into Saturday, with some Cubans unaware of Castro’s death until CNN asked them for their reaction.

Their mood seemed downcast, with some shedding tears and many others appearing preoccupied by what might come next.

One young Cuban woman told CNN, “The Cuban people are feeling sad because of the loss of our commander in chief Fidel Castro Ruz, and we wish him, wherever he is, that he is blessed, and us Cubans love him.”

At the University of Havana, where Castro attended law school 70 years ago, people placed flowers and photos by a statue on the main steps of the college.

Cuban government-run website Cubadebate tweeted photos from the site: “Because your people love you, they cry for you. Goodbye Comandante! #alwaystowardvictory #cuba #fidelcastro #untilforevercommandante

Facebook photos from Cubadebate showed scores of young people at a gathering at the statue. Many held posters and some cried.

In Bíran, a town near Cuba’s eastern tip where Castro was born, people were calling and knocking on the door of his half-brother, Martin Castro.

They wanted to know whether the hometown revolutionary was dead.

“They have been knocking and calling and asking if it is true,” said Angel Daniel Castro, a nephew of Fidel Castro’s. “Many people are crying. Some complain of high blood pressure. Fidel was a good man.

“For us, he was like a father. And Cuba sees him as a father. One woman just called crying and saying she had lost her father. Everyone feels it.”

Jubilation in Miami

But to the north in Florida, revelers spilled into the streets of Miami. They popped champagne, clanged pots, cheered and waved the Cuban flag in jubilation. They stood outside the popular Versailles restaurant in Little Havana with signs reading, “Satan, Fidel is now yours.”

“This is a celebration, but not a celebration of death, but a beginning of liberty that we’ve been waiting for many years. The hope is … that it opens up Cuba a little bit more,” a Cuban-American man said.

“It means a lot for us Cubans,” another reveler told CNN affiliate WSVN. “It’s a moment that we’ve been waiting for 55 years. We’re free at last. The man that caused so much suffering, so much people to be sad in my country … has passed away.”

Castro reigned in Havana for nearly five decades with an iron hand, defying a US economic embargo intended to dislodge him.

But he lived long enough to see a historic thaw between Cuba and the United States. The two nations reestablished diplomatic relations in July, and President Barack Obama visited the island this year.

Obama extended “a hand of friendship to the Cuban people” as he offered his condolences to Castro’s family in a statement.

“We know that this moment fills Cubans — in Cuba and in the United States — with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation,” he said.

“History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”

Fidel Castro dies: What now for US-Cuba relations?

Historic figure of the 20th century

To some, Castro became a romantic figure and a legendary survivor despite what Cuban officials say were more than 600 attempts to kill him. During a rare public appearance in April, Castro marveled that he had lived to his ninth decade.

“Soon I will turn 90 years old, never would such a thing have occurred to me, and it’s not the outcome of any effort; it was fate’s whim,” Castro said, discussing his health, usually a taboo subject on the island. “Soon I will be like everyone else. To all of us comes our turn.”

Castro had many admirers, who saw him as a stalwart with his ubiquitous military fatigues and fiery oratory. He clung to a socialist economic model and one-party Communist rule, even after the Soviet Union disintegrated and most of the rest of the world concluded that state socialism was an idea whose time had come and gone.

The Cuban Communist Party mourned for “the commander of the Cuban Revolution” with the hashtag #UntilVictoryAlwaysFidel.

Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed Castro as a “great leader” for the Cuban people and said China had lost “an intimate and sincere friend,” according to a statement read out on Chinese state TV.

“He achieved immortal historical achievements for the development of world socialism. He was the great person of our era, and people and history will remember him,” Xi said. “Great Castro will live forever. ”

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto called Castro a friend of Mexico, who had promoted bilateral relationships based on “respect, dialogue and solidarity.”

In an official Kremlin statement sending condolences to the Cuban people, Russian President Vladimir Putin remembered him as a “symbol of an era in recent world history” and “a sincere and reliable friend of Russia.”

Putin saluted Castro for building a “free and independent Cuba” and described him as “an influential member of the international community.”

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said he and Castro had become “very good friends,” in comments reported by Russian state news agency Tass, and that the Cuban “was an outstanding personality, unique.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed his condolences to the Castro family and the Cuban people in a statement released through state news agency KCNA.

Kim said that Castro was the “outstanding leader of the Cuban people and a prominent political activist who made distinguished contributions to accomplishing the cause of independence against imperialism,” the English-language version of KCNA reported.

Pakistani politician Imran Khan hailed Castro as “an iconic revolutionary leader” who stood against the United States.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century. India mourns the loss of a great friend.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described Castro as “a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and health care of his island nation.”

‘End of an era for Cuba’

Other leaders noted Castro’s global impact but did not praise a man whose record on human rights was questionable.

French President François Hollande said Castro “embodied the Cuban revolution, with the hopes it aroused and then in the disillusion it provoked. Actor of the Cold War, he corresponded to an era which ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union.” Hollande also said he welcomed the recent thaw in US-Cuba relations.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he had had a “lively discussion” with Castro during a visit to Cuba in 2014. “Under former President Castro, Cuba made advances in the fields of education, literacy and health. I hope Cuba will continue to advance on a path of reform and greater prosperity,” Ban said.

Pope Francis sent a telegram to Raul Castro expressing his sorrow for Castro’s family and the Cuban people, and offering his prayers.

Dissidents repressed

Many viewed Castro as an enemy of human rights, who suppressed and imprisoned dissidents.

“I am shedding tears tonight, but they’re tears of joy,” said Armando Salguero, a Miami Herald columnist. “Hell has a special place for Fidel Castro and there’s one less vacancy in hell tonight.”

He said many Cubans were cheering, because they had been forced to come to the United States when they couldn’t have the freedom to make a life in their homeland.

Repressive laws allow the government to jail and punish its critics, such as dissidents and journalists with long prison sentences, according to Human Rights Watch. The government also uses beatings and public acts of shaming, the organization reported.

US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who fled Cuba with her family when she was 8 and went on to become the first Cuban-American elected to Congress, cautioned that “the death of one dictator will not usher a new wave of change because the rulers of Cuba, whether it’s Fidel, Raul, whatever names you give them, they just rule over Cuba with an iron fist.”

Speaking to CNN, she lashed out at the Canadian Prime Minister’s statement describing Castro as a “legendary revolutionary.

“I’ve been reading his sickening love letter to dead Fidel Castro and I’m thinking, ‘Sure, you did not lose a loved one to an execution squad. You did not lose a loved one to the gulags in Cuba,’ ” she said, while urging any foreign leaders praising Castro to look at the “real record” of his decades in charge.

“The only thing that Fidel has been successful in, has not been health nor education, or human rights or democracy, it’s been holding onto power — which is easy to do when you don’t have elections,” she said.

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