Monthly Archives: September 2017

PM: More to join Govt

By GYNNIE KERO and LUKE KAMA ( The National )

 

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has welcomed three more MPs who have crossed the floor to join the Government — and says he is expecting more.

He confirmed with The National last night that the Government side now had 85 MPs and he was expecting more to cross the floor from the Opposition benches.

The three MPs who have joined the government coalition are from the Triumph Heritage Empowerment (THE) Party, which founded by former Opposition Leader Don Polye.

They are Chimbu Governor Michael Dua, Salt-Nomane Karamui MP Geoffrey Kama, and Okapa MP Saki Soloma.

Kama, the party parliamentary leader, said the decision to join the Government was not easy but it was done after consulting the people in the electorates.

“Taking into consideration all that is happening in our nation, we have decided to move as a team,” Kama said.

“We decided to join the Government because we do not want to be involved in playing petty politics or the so-called blame-game. Rather, we want to deliver services to our people without negligence.

“We do not want to be spectators and criticise. We want to be players in development and in building a strong nation.”

Kama said they had consulted party executives, including Polye, who “respects our decision and we thank him for that”.

Dua said their alliance with the O’Neill-led Government was for a genuine agenda — to bring services to the people.

“As leaders, we have to provide solutions and we are pledging our support behind the O’Neill-Abel government for the 100-day economic recovery plan and this term of Parliament.”

Koura Opens to Ease City Congestion

By PHOEBE GWANGILO ( The National )

 

PORT Moresby residents now have a new K80.3 million road to use which connects Waigani to Hanuabada.

National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop called it another milestone for the capital city — to benefit the residents of Tokarara, June Valley, Hanuabada and Badihagwa.

“Thank you all for turning up for this importation occasion, the opening of the Koura Way — the extension of the old road and the new road,” he said. “ It is another milestone and another step towards achieving the goal that we have set to transform our city and country.”

City manager Lesley Alu said the Koura (valley in Motu) Way was funded from a Bank of South Pacific loan and built by the China Harbour Engineering Company.

“It was initially planned to be a four-lane road linking Waigani Drive to the Badihagwa Roundabout, but was changed to link the Hanuabada bypass to avoid disruptions to the Badihagwa Secondary School and link more properties,” Alu said.

“There will be about 250 energy-saving lights installed for the full length of the road. We will also provide power from June Valley to Hanuabada.

“We are also creating a small lookout point with adequate parking space at the crest for people with families to enjoy the view.

“This facility will be given to landowners to generate income for their community.”

Marape Confident in Govt’s Financial Management

By ISAAC NICHOLAS ( Post Courier )

Finance Minister James Marape has told Parliament of how the government’s public financial management reforms is gaining efficiency, transparency and accountability in the public sector accounting and budgeting.

In a statement to the House yesterday, Mr Marape said the reforms to the Public Financial Management (PFM) reforms which started three years ago is gaining momentum.

Minister Marape said so there the Finance Department is seeing unprecedented progress in achieving targets under the PEFA Road Map, particularly progress with roll-out of the Integrated Financial Management System (including strengthened budget management practices), issuing of Public Accounts Reports, and the successful legislative amendment of the Public Finances (Management) Act (PFMA) to modernise and harness best business practice.

“I will not pretend for a moment that there are not many challenges that continue to lie ahead and that much remains to be done. I acknowledge those challenges but have every reason to feel confident that the experience of the last three years sees us very well placed to continue to maintain the pace of PFM reform in this country.”

Marape said the strengthening of the PFM has seen improvements in delivering on grass roots development objectives to the people through a more streamlined and effective delivery of programs and services nationally, to the provinces, to the districts and to local level government.

“PFM reform momentum is high, achievements to date are real and significant, cooperation and collaboration between Government departments on the one hand, and between national and provincial interests on the other in the common cause of advancing the quality of PFM in this country is at an unprecedented level. There is much to be positive about.” Marape said

However, the Finance Minister admitted that the reforms has not been a positive story given the poor state of public financial management in PNG over many years and only in 2014, the Government decided to take a whole-of-government approach to address the parlous state of public financial management in PNG.

New Application to Improve Data Collection

BY: NELLIE SETEPANO (Post Courier)

About 2.2 million children in more than 13,000 schools and 55,000 teachers will soon have real time data regarding their schools, after a K500,000 a web application was launched.

This is the first time the Education Department will collect accurate and real time data for its planning, budgeting and policy formulation.

The application “MyPNGSchool” web application can be downloaded and used by all school headmasters and principals, with data to be sent through a thorough verification process and then sent to the head office.

The web application to be trialed in Port Moresby, Central and Milne Bay schools will later rolled out through the country after a budget is set in.

The technology can give on time data and track the location of those submitting the information.

Schools in remote areas where communication network is not available will be given exception in the location in which they submit their reports.

Education Secretary Dr Uke Kombra said the schools administrators will be asked to register a phone number for schools in order for the those data to be submitted through. Schools will also need data to submit the information.

Dr Kombra said by comparing the past data, the application can now address the issue of reliable school data that has been lacking for so long.

It is a must for all schools to submit the report where an SMS reminder is sent before and at the end of each term for submission of reports.

The Prime Minister Peter O’Neill launched the application at the Parliament state function room yesterday.

PM APPLAUDS ABEL FOR BUDGET

BY : Post Courier

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has commended his deputy and Treasurer Charles Abel for successfully handing down the 2017 Supplementary Budget in Parliament yesterday.

“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.

Forex in Focus

The National

By GYNNIE KERO

THE Government has promised that the foreign exchange shortage problem will soon be addressed following negotiations with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

The Bank of Papua New Guinea is also to lift its foreign exchange market intervention to K300 million ($US100m), according to Treasurer Charles Abel, who tabled the 2017 Supplementary Budget in Parliament yesterday.

O’Neill said the daily demands for foreign exchange in the country were being met through interventions by the Central Bank.

“It is the extraordinary payments like dividends in large amounts which is causing stress in the availability of forex,” he said.

“Some big firms with foreign operations are using profitability from PNG to fund their businesses overseas. That is also affecting our forex.

“We are getting support from ADB and the World Bank to meet the forex shortage. Negotiations have been finalised and facilities would be made available soon.”

O’Neill said the Government had brought onshore revenue from the country’s exports to meet the demand for foreign exchange.

East Sepik Governor Allan Bird raised the foreign exchange shortage problem in Parliament because of the adverse impact on businesses.

O’Neill, however, said some firms park their revenue offshore despite the number of exports. “Foreign exchange shortage is a monetary matter managed by the Central Bank — not Treasury or Government.”

PM Defends Shares Sale

The National

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has maintained that the decision to sell the State’s shares in Oil Search last week was made in the best interest of the country.

O’Neill was responding to questions from Moresby North-West MP Sir Mekere Morauta on why the shares were sold at a lower price than what they were bought for.

“Our shareholding in Oil Search is a long story. Today, that shareholding has been held by Kumul Petroleum Holdings,” he said.

He said the whole process started when the Morauta government was in office.

“In 2000, when Santos made an offer to the Morauta government to buy all the Oil Search shares, there was a cabinet meeting in Lae where all the cabinet members opposed that sale. And yet the prime minister (Sir Mekere) bulldozed it through and sold it to Oregon Minerals,” O’Neill said.

“Oregon Minerals that time was the holding company for all the mineral assets for PNG on behalf of our people.
“In 2001, the same Morauta government sold those shares to Oil Search – the entire Oregon shares.

“At that time, Oil Search was a very small company, only an exploration company.

“As a result, we held some shares in Oil Search because of that sale.

“And in order for us to participate in the LNG project that we have now, the (Sir Michael) Somare government saw fit to go and sell all our assets. Mortgage all our assets. In fact, all the shares in Oil Search.

“We were led to believe that the shares will be bought back by the government for the people.

“In 2014, when the arrangement was due for government to take back the shares, they refused to give us the shares. This was the property of the people of PNG. What else can I do? As the head of the government it was my duty to secure the interest of our people.”

He said it was why he saw UBS “to give us the money to finance the purchase to secure our interest in the biggest employer and biggest taxpayer in our country and protect our national interest”.

“I am simply cleaning up (Sir) Mekere Morauta’s mess, Patrick Pruaitch’s mess, and (Sir Michael) Somare’s mess. Let the facts speak for themselves.”

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