Category Archives: Health

The Govt’s 100 Day Plan Expires Tomorrow

BY GORETHY KENNETH  : Post Courier

 

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

  1. 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;

  1. 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.

  1. 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:

  1. 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; 1) 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.

  1. 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.

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Pom Gen to Receive K100 million

Source: PC Online

THE Port Moresby General Hospital will receive K100 million of the K1.5 billion health sector allocation in the 2018 national budget, Health and HIV/AIDS Minister Sir Puka Temu says.

Sir Puka said they had been allocated 100 per cent funding but the challenge was how to implement the budget.

“I’ve been in this hospital most of my life and I’ve seen transformation under the new board. The highest institution in healthcare is the hospital,” he said.

“This is to bring the private sector skill, experience and acumen into the public sector. The things they lack are because of the Budget issues.

“I was health secretary before and I would beg the government to fund our health plan below 60 per cent. It’s now 100 per cent funding.”

Sir Puka said the key word was partnership and he urged the communities to help the management of the hospitals by doing their part.

“Don’t throw rubbish everywhere. Listen to security guards,” he said.

“Visit patients on time with one guardian. Doctor-patient relationship must be improved. Prescription practices must be good and patients must complete their doses to avoid drug resistance.”

Miss Png On Path To Promote Tourism

Source: PC Online

BY JERRY SEFE

The 2017 Miss Pacific Islands pageant continues to grow and has proven so much over the years that the annual event is not just about beauty contest but a testament for Pacific women.

The event creates a platform for the contestants to play crucial roles within their respective communities in bringing about changes to create a positive environment for all.

In doing so, it’s also recognised as a launching pad that helps women and young girls excel in life changing careers to be role models for the ever growing female population in the Pacific nation.

In a recent Miss Pacific Island contest in Nadi, Fiji, nine contestants were given the privilege to represent their countries to speak on issues affecting their respective communities and societies in bringing about positive outcomes on how to address these issues.

During the event an in-depth presentation were delivered by the ladies on their selected interview topics on the issues of gender equality, education, tourism, politics, culture, climate change, technology, environment and health.

Miss PNG, Niawali Twain, (pictured) who was the Papua New Guinea MPIP ambassador, presented discussions on what type of tourism the Pacific region should focus on.

Miss Twain spoke about niche markets such as natural, wellness, beauty, health, culture and sports that are now putting Pacific Island nations on the global.

She said ecotourism in fact promotes preservation of the natural environment and it is important to the Pacific because of its long term sustainable development, low carbon footprints, and has positive impact on local economies.

“Cultural tourism preserves our traditions, as well as wellness tourism where all in the region have natural wellness ingredients readily available to everyone” said Twain.

Meanwhile the fundamental aspect of the topics presented by the pageants was to ensure everyone have equal access to resources and opportunities including economic participation and decision making to empower their nations.

Twain said through carrying out proper awareness and educating people which is the key to drive the people of the Pacific forward in future.

Experts Unite To Improve Health In The Region

Source: UQ News

New research partnerships tackling health challenges in the Pacific are expected to result from a unique gathering at The University of Queensland in 2018.

Hosted by UQ’s School of Public Health, the Pacific Health Governance Workshop will be the first in a series of events to address the most challenging aspects of health policy.

UQ School of Public Health researcher Dr Owen Williams said the workshop was expected to be a catalyst for joint projects in research and innovation across health, governance and development issues.

“The workshop will cover issues such as gender-based violence, pandemics, sanitation, food security and non-communicable diseases,” Dr Williams said.

“It will address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by bringing together stakeholders to develop research agendas that are Pacific-driven, respond to needs, and create strategies for joint research and action.”

Key Pacific scholars and practitioners were awarded international scholarships to attend the inaugural event, which will feature a keynote speech by Pacific Community Director General Dr Colin Tukuitonga.

Dr Tukuitonga, who has held appointments with the New Zealand government and the World Health Organisation, will discuss the Pacific Community’s role as the principal scientific and technical organisation in the region.

“This conference brings together experts from across the Pacific region’s 26 country and territory members to address issues around where the capacity and research needs are and how we can best provide research to help Pacific Health,” Dr Tukuitonga said.

The workshop is on February 15-16 at UQ’s St Lucia campus.

Budget Hope

The National

 

THE Government is viewing the future with optimism and confidence as it tables the 2018 national budget in Parliament today on the back of an “improving global economy”, with commodity prices returning to “healthier” levels.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, however, warned that while pressure on the economy from global factors is easing, the government would continue to ensure fiscal discipline is maintained.  “There is no doubt that we are seeing improvements in the global economy, and this is reflected in positive indicators in our own economy,” he said.

“Commodity prices are returning to healthier levels but there is still a long way to go before we can relax.

“When global conditions were at their lowest, our government managed the challenges we faced and this has placed us in a stronger position today.

“We continued to maintain positive economic growth through a programme of reducing spending, managing expenses and rescheduling some infrastructure construction.”

Treasurer Charles Abel will table the national financial plan this afternoon.

Debate on it will be suspended until Tuesday next week to allow the Opposition time to respond to it. O’Neill said the government was looking forward to a sensible debate on the budget “that is based on fact and not misinformation”.

He said there would be no cuts to education and healthcare, “our core national priorities”.

He also promised “a productive and safe Apec summit in 2018 through modest expenditure that builds capacity and leaves legacy in our government agencies”.

“Our Government will also continue to build more efficient public services that are increasingly capable while being less expensive to operate,” he said.

Shadow Treasury and Finance Minister Ian Ling-Stuckey said the Opposition was ready to debate the 12-month financial plan from the government.

“Last year, the Government did not allow a proper debate on the 2017 budget. We stand ready to judge the success of the 2018 budget and urge government to give the Opposition an opportunity to measure its merits,” he said.

He said they would judge the budget on its credibility, how the government planned to spend public money, how it addressed foreign exchange and jobs, how it dealt with deficits and debt financing, and whether it followed proper processes.

600 Nurses Gearing up for Symposium

By Elizabeth Vuvu ( The National )

 

ABOUT 600 nurses from around the country are meeting in Kokopo, East New Britain this week for the 14th National Nurses Research Symposium.

Speaking during the opening of the symposium at the Vunapope Diocesan Hall, acting national president of the PNG Nurses’ Association, Sten Nawik, said the association had come a long way, with ENB taking on the challenge from Morobe last year to host the symposium on behalf of NGI region this year.

He said the symposium provided an avenue for the nursing society to share knowledge and experience.

ENB deputy governor Cosmas Bauk, who officially opened the symposium, appeared to be the favourite speaker at the opening as he was applauded when he reminded everybody that a nurse was the human face of health service.

“The nurse is the first person the sick have as a companion and the last person one will see apart from a family member before one dies,” Bauk said.

“The love and compassion a nurse shows accelerates the healing process of a sick patient.”

ENB deputy administrator Nicholas Larme thanked all nurses for their services.

He said the administration gave K50,000 to the hosting committee as a token of appreciation of nurses and the work they have done in the last 40 years.

Medical Officers Graduate From New Programme

BY : The National

 

HE St John Ambulance has graduated its first batch of officers from its new paramedic programme.

Chief officer Dr Matthew Cannon said three groups graduated – three from paramedic, 14 level-one ambulance officers and seven emergency medical technicians.

He said the paramedic and technicians would address six core areas:

Improve overall patient outcomes through quality pre-hospital care;
reduce maternal and infant mortality through advanced pre-hospital obstetric training;
improving healthcare for persons in police situations;
provide effective care to trauma patients, especially road-related trauma;
reduce death and disability from treatable conditions; and,
Deploy paramedics to health centres to help clinic staff manage patients with serious medical emergencies.

“The majority of healthcare in PNG is delivered in rural health centres by dedicated nurses and community health workers. This environment is still arguably considered pre-hospital,” Cannon said.

“The paramedic programme is specifically tailored to filling the gaps in the health system between the place the patient becomes sick and a major hospital.

“The result of this gap is often unnecessary death and disability, especially for the one in 20 women who die from pregnancy, often because they are
unable to reach a major obstetric hospital.”

National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop congratulated St John Ambulance for initiating the programme which would help meet the needs of the population.

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