Category Archives: Infrastructure

APEC House on Schedule

Press Release

 

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill made a site inspection of the APEC House in Port Moresby yesterday and expressed,

“The APEC house is certainly going to host one of the very most important meetings ever held in this country in November this year. This is an historic event for Papua New Guinea and for the Asia Pacific region. The Issues that are going to be discussed in this particular building will have impact on the global stage. The 21 Nations that are going to be here on that occasion will represent over 50% of global trade and 50% of the global GDP. This 21 Nations play a very important role in the global economy and the economic growth that we continue to have in the region.

The Asia Pacific is seen as the engine room for the global economic growth and the meetings are going to have enamours impact on the confidence of investors that are going to come and invest in our country. Many countries around the world and many investors especially do not have much knowledge about our country, they do not know where our country is and do not know the potential of our country. That’s why such global events like this is another opportunity for PNG to show case itself to the investment community all around the world.

PNG will be highlighted in every Television stations and Newspapers around the world in that particular week in November and that is an important exposer for Papua New Guinea. I am pleased that this particular building is taking shape according to the timetables that are being set and on schedule and PNG is looking forward to welcoming the leaders that are going to come.

I would like to announce that we have already secured the services of the P&O cruisers, three large cruise ships that will be parked here in Port Moresby at our harbour which will cater for 4,000 rooms that will adequately accommodate for all the candidates that will come in to this country, and also in addition to that, Hilton Hotel is now on schedule to be completed well before November. So I want to assure the Nation and our people that we are now ready to host this very important event.

Let me also stress again, unlike many of our critics who said that we are spending billions of Kina in terms of hosting this event we all know we don’t have such money. We have spent less than five hundred million kina by the time we finish in November. The benefits that will come to this Nation is far more than what we have spent we have spent. The billions of kina that will be attracted in terms of investment will be far more than the investment that we are making in hosting this event. So lets us embrace this occasion let us work together in welcoming our most important VIPs including the President of the United States , President of Russia , President of China, Prime Minister of Japan, and many of the other global players that we read and hear about are going to make a first time trip to Papua New Guinea, and on that occasion let us showcase our best.

Let me thank the constructors of this building. Oil Search our partners in developing this building. APEC Minister and his staff and all the construction workers and every person who is involved in this process without your contribution and without your efforts we will not make it a success. Let us stay focus and let us perform beyond our expectations to showcase the best of our ability so that we will be able to have a very successful APEC meeting in PNG.

This is our first meeting that we are hosting as a member country. We have been a member for over 20 years and we have never hosted an APEC meeting. We have been just a attendant and observer in many of this proceedings whereas many other economies have hosted it two or three times already. So it is our turn to stand up and be counted in that particular organisation, that is why we are hosting this meeting for the first time in this country. It maybe another 20 or 30 years before we host another one. So let us make the best of it when we can. As I’ve stated before, after this meeting this building will be a world class museum showcasing our arts and culture that is unique to the world, and I can assure you that this will be the number one tourist destination in the country for many years to come.”

Papua New Guinea Ready for APEC

APEC Minister Justin Tkatchenko met with the Chinese Ambassador to PNG, Xue Bing, on Wednesday at the National Convention Centre. The two leaders re-confirmed both countries commitment to ensure further enhancements to the 43.5 million venue are made within the next three months.

A very confident APEC Minister Tkatchenko expressed, “APEC ready is the word that we will be using a lot because I’m confident with the Prime Minister’s personal approach to this. We have the right people in place to lead APEC 2018, we can’t go wrong.”

He confirmed that up to 200 meetings will be held in the lead up to the main APEC meetings in November this year.

Ambassador Que urged contractor China Jiangxi International Corporation to concentrate on the task at hand.

He also announced that China’s President, XI Jinping, would be making an official visit in April during the 2nd Senior Officials Meeting (SOM 2).

Xi Jinping was one of the first leaders to confirm when he met Prime Minister Peter O’Niell in Beijing.

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.

O’Neill Warns Contractors Over Funds

By : Post Courier

 

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has warned contractors that they will be held accountable for every toea in public funds they are given for construction of public infrastructure.

He was referring to classrooms throughout the nation.

He said with more schools and classrooms being built, contractors will be held accountable for every toea in public funds they are given for construction.

That is the clear message delivered by Mr O’Neill when opening a new classroom building in Kimbe, West New Britain Province.

“Continuing to improve education is our government’s commitment to our future generations.

“Better education provides the greatest hope for our children, particularly in remote and rural areas.

“In 2018 we have allocated K1.29 billion for the education sector, which is nearly 9 per cent of National Budget. This is an increase of 13 per cent from the 2017 Supplementary Budget.

“We have placed more than an additional one million students in school over the past five years, and now we are applying additional focus on improving the quality of education.

“Now we are building more schools and classrooms.”

The Prime Minister issued a stern warning to all companies involved in the construction of school projects, that public money will be fully accounted for and documented.

“Many times the Government has given contracts to certain contractors who fail to complete their jobs and run off with payments.

“This must stop and we are looking back at previous contracts to identify any irregularities for further investigation.

“It is vital for our children to have proper buildings to learn, and any time there is fraud this deprives our children of their right to education.

“We also have seen a number of builders that have delivered high-quality school buildings and their commitment and accountability is helping us to advance the Nation.”

Australia ‘GIFT’ a New International Fiber Cable to PNG

1st December

The much talked about New International Fiber Cable from Port Moresby to Sydney will be a ‘GIFT’ from the Government of Australia to the people of Papua New Guinea.

Highlighted in the 2018 National Budget, the 1,800km of Fiber Cable would costs about $USD95m to build and would be in operation in 24 months.

This new Fiber Cable when in operation has the potential to lower internet costs and brings faster speed to Papua New Guinea.

The New Fiber being called as APNG3 and will carry ‘Terabytes of Capacity” can bring up to USD$500 millions annual revenue if managed properly.

Wereh Stresses On Transport

Source: PC Online

BY GORETHY KENNETH

WORKS Secretary David Wereh has warned all landowners and people vandalising state assets on the roads throughout the country that the Protection of Transport Infrastructure Act 2010 is in operation and very effective.

This is the act that saved K120 million of claims against the state on roads issues. Wereh warned that vandalism, blocking of roads and others along the Highlands Highway and other national highways will have severe penalties under this Act – some of which is up to a five-year jail term or K100,000 to K1 million fine.

Wereh said the first Kainantu case undertaken in court under this had saved K120 million in claims and that there were more cases pending.

The act deals with demands for compensation or other payment, extended responsibility for family and other persons, attempts and like offences and threat to commit an offence.

“Being an Act to provide for the protection of transport infrastructure and the land, water and air on or in which transport infrastructure is located and for related purposes, it has got severe penalties – block off public transport infrastructure assets etc,” Mr Wereh said.

“The law is already in operation. It’s the enforcement rate and the Kainantu case is the first case. We successfully obtained a restraining order using this law.”

Wereh said the government’s position is very clear on unreasonable compensation demands by opportunists living along the national highway corridors, that it would not entertain any compensation claims by people and business houses alongside major roads.

He said that his department was already acquiring and paying genuine customary land and property owners affected on all road projects sites around the country through the establish process. We will not entertain any self-valued and assessed claims.

“This is an illegal practice and will be dealt with by law,” he said. No individuals or tribe living along the highway should take their grievance to the national Highways. There is an established process to follow in pursuing grievance and claims affecting the greater public. “

He said the Transport Infrastructure assets around the country are now protected by the Transport Infrastructure protection Act 2010. All citizens living along these important infrastructure corridors are required by law not to conduct any of their self-serving activities.

Wereh said that the Kainantu court order was issued after landowners set up a roadblock at Bane which was illegal and police personnel had to clear the highway, which belonged to the public and not to any particular tribe or clan.

“We must be very considerate of many others who depend on the highways as a lifeline for service delivery and business for their daily living.

“The laws are very tough and will severely deal with anyone who want to stage illegal road blocks and vandalize road assets.”

“The message to the people is simple: Do not block public roads because they do not belong to you even if they run through your land. You are just creating problems for yourself.”

Let The Games Begin

BY NICOLE JOANNES ( Post Courier )

Skydivers jumping from 6000 feet with the huge PNG flag followed by a colourful display of fireworks are part of the grand opening of the 7th BSP PNG Games in the West New Britain capital Kimbe tomorrow.

The day will begin with a traditional canoe that will leave Kulungi beach carrying chiefs from Talasea to the San Remo beach, not far from the main stadium.

The chiefs will be received by Governor Sasindran Muthuvel, mayor Jackson Endo and a Bakovi chief Gabriel Bakani, a cultural significance that the chiefs are releasing the sporting facilities for the PNG Games to be held.

All provincial teams will then assemble at Independence Park where they will experience “Pasin West” during which they will be given foodstuff and a pig each.

All teams will then move to the main Muthuvel Stadium for the provincial teams marchpast and speeches to be followed by skydiving and fireworks.

Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae will officially open the 7th BSP PNG Unity Games.

A total of 16 teams have confirmed their attendance, with four teams – National Capital District, Central, East New Britain and Morobe – already in Kimbe. Teams New Ireland, Western, Enga and Hela, Western Highlands and Jiwaka have not confirmed their participation.

The Games will begin on Monday, November 20, and a total of 24 codes will be played. The Games end on December 2 with the Queen’s baton relay.

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