Govt eyes oil, rice production
August 29, 2017
Source: The National
THE Government will embark on a major import replacement drive for crude oil and rice under the Government’s 100-day plan.
Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Charles Abel, pictured, said crude oil and rice were the major consumers of foreign exchange.
Under the plan:
- Oil Search will provide 50 per cent crude oil from PNG oilfields to the Napa Napa oil refinery;
- There will be a transition to locally-produced gas to fuel PNG;
- A rice-import quota scheme will be implemented to encourage local production; and
- Bank of PNG will provide direct intervention of US$100 million (K317m) over three months.
“Our economy and our country continue to have these fundamental structural imbalances that we need to be more serious about in terms of moving to true sustainability,” Abel said.
“The fact that we rely too heavily on extractive industry projects, and then we go from boom to bust when we should be relying on more sustainable industries that we don’t take that seriously.
“The fact that we rely too heavily on imports, that we send out all our natural resources, and end up with all but the finished goods and we are always looking for foreign currency to buy those goods. The biggest consumer of foreign exchange in this country is our fuel import bill.
“The second one is our rice import bill.
“Here we are producing oil and gas, here we are with huge natural water resources, and here we are with the highest cost and drain on our foreign currency being the bill to import fuel. Crazy.
“Here we are relying on rice for our staple diet, nothing wrong with eating rice, but to me there’s something fundamentally wrong about relying on imports of that rice to feed ourselves.”