Category Archives: Technology

DPM Briefs World Bank

Press Release : Office of the Prime Minister

 

Deputy Prime Minister Briefs World Bank and IMF on Next Moves to Advance PNG Economy
Submarine Internet Cable and Concessional Funding for Restructuring Debt Discussed

Engagement with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, that will stimulate positive economic development in the face of global challenges, has been advanced at meetings in Washington D.C. by the Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Hon. Charles Abel MP.

Deputy Prime Minister Abel said the new submarine fibre optic communications cable project, that will deliver cheaper and faster Internet, and the provision of concessional financing for the restructuring of existing debt, will deliver positive economy stimulus for the economy.

“Papua New Guinea has a close working relationship with the World Bank and IMF, and the benefits of this engagement will become even more obvious to our people with the delivery of cheaper and faster Internet.

“Working with the World Bank, and also our partners in Australia, the new submarine communications cable will deliver greater Internet access for Papua New Guineans.

“The new communications cable will make the Internet we received on our computers and smart phones much faster, and with the increased supply we will see Internet data prices fall.

“Increased access to the Internet is essential if we are to advance Papua New Guinea’s economy and improve service delivery.

“The submarine cable has been the subject of much discussion in recent years, and now we are moving ahead so that it will be in place ahead of the APEC Summit.

“The time given to our country by the World Bank and IMF executive for meetings in Washington was tremendous.

“I took the opportunity to remind them of the particular circumstances of Papua New Guinea and the Pacific small island states.

“I said PNG has globally significant natural assets to build a new, responsible, sustainable economy that brings inclusive development to its people but also can support climate change mitigation globally.

“We are confronted with our immediate development challenges and are also on the frontline of the effects of climate change.”

The Deputy Prime Minister said discussions with the World Bank on restructuring existing debt with concessional funding will further simplify debt that has been established over recent decades, and reduce servicing costs.

“Papua New Guinea has never defaulted on a debt payment, and this is respected by global institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

“We are in talks with the World Bank and IMF so that we can bring together a number of scattered debts and consolidate these under a single debt facility at a much more favourable interest rate.

“Debt consolidation will save public funds and retire outstanding loans quicker than had previously been possible.”

Deputy Prime Minister Abel was accompanied by Treasury Secretary, Dairi Vele, and the Governor for the Bank of Papua New Guinea, Loi Bakani.

As well as the main Plenary Sessions of the World Bank Meeting, the DPM participated on 3 panels, including a panel with the World Bank CEO, and the Finance Ministers for Indonesia and Serbia, on Asia and the Growing Middle Class and Inclusive Development.

The DPM also had 15 meetings including separate meetings with CEO of the World Bank, Kristalina Gregorieva, Asia Pacific Director, Victoria Kwakwa, and Australian Treasurer, Scott Morrison.

Basil to Cut Costs

By : The National

 

NEW Communication, Information Technology and Energy Minister Sam Basil wants to put in place “responsible, affordable and accessible” communication in radio, television and the internet during his tenure.

Thanking Prime Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday for assigning him the ministry, Basil said he looked forward to serving the people as a member of Cabinet.

“I will issue official statements on the way forward in the ministry of communications, information technology and energy after being briefed by relevant government departments and agencies,” he said in a statement.

The Communication and Information Technology portfolio was formerly held by Francis Maneke, the Talasea MP from West New Britain, who has since been decommissioned.

The Energy portfolio was held by Fabian Pok, the Minister for Petroleum.

O’Neill said the changes would strengthen the Government’s focus on key growth sectors “that will have a direct impact on business development and community advancement”.

“I have great confidence in the minister’s (Basil’s) capacity to meet the challenges and opportunities that our country faces in these areas (communications and energy),” O’Neill said.

“There are clear synergies between the energy and communications sectors brought about by technological advances that are enabling Papua New Guinea to deliver positive change not only in urban areas, but also in rural and remote areas.”

Basil said he wanted to see a sustainable energy policy and regulatory framework to power up industries, urban and rural areas.

“Energy is often the first utility requirement before water and telecommunications so we must get our energy policy right,” Basil said. In communications, Basil plans to review the National Broadcasting Commission and provincial radio stations.

He wants the re-introduction of shortwave and medium wave frequencies to improve radio access in remote rural areas as was in the early 1980s.

Basil also hopes to review NBC funding, revenue generation and financial management to see that cash flow and its implications on wages are addressed urgently.

He is the parliamentary leader of the 15 Pangu Pati MPs who recently crossed from the Opposition following the formation of the Government after the general election.

Pangu Pati Leader Appointed Minister

By GORETHY KENNETH ( Post Courier )

PANGU Pati leader Sam Basil is now the new Minister for Communications, Information Technology and Energy.

He replaces Talasea MP Francis Maneke, whom Prime Minister Peter O’Neill removed while he was on an overseas trip.

His appointment by Mr O’Neill was based on his intention of realigning ministerial portfolios and strengthening the national government’s focus on key growth sectors, that would have a direct impact on business development and community advancement.

An elated Mr Basil in response said he looked forward to serving the people of PNG, citing national broadcaster National Broadcasting Corporation as an entity which deserved close attention in terms of funding and resourcing.

He thanked the Prime Minister for appointing him adding as an overview he would be looking at responsible, affordable and accessible communications in radio, television, internet and cybercrime.

As promised by Mr O’Neill a minor Cabinet reshuffle cannot happen because coalition partners will not accept the changes. Mr O’Neill also appointed another two Pangu vice ministers as part of his appreciation for the party’s move away from the Opposition, making it the second largest coalition partner in government now.

Mr O’Neill thanked Mr Maneke for his short-lived ministerial time and for placing the government’s and national interest above any other considerations.

“Ours is a coalition government in which we must have representation in the Cabinet for all partners in the government.

“There is a set number of Cabinet positions available, and I thank the Member for placing the interests of the government and the nation above all else.

“He is a very capable Member and Minister and has a strong ministerial future in the years ahead.

“In our system of government it is essential that we continue to evolve Cabinet and ministerial allocations in the interest of ensuring consultation and diversity of representation.

“Together, in our government, across districts and provinces, and agencies and departments, we will work together to deliver positive change for the people of Papua New Guinea,” Mr O’Neill said.

He said Mr Basil will be responsible for the energy and communications sectors that are crucial for growing a modern economy.

He said there were clear synergies between the energy and communications brought about by technological advances that are enabling Papua New Guinea to deliver positive change not only in urban areas, but also in rural and remote areas.

“The global energy sector is continually evolving with access to more cost-effective power generation and Papua New Guinea must be at the forefront of harnessing new technologies.

“Modern sources of energy production are more efficient and environmentally friendly, reducing the impact on local ecologies and reducing the causes of climate change.

“Papua New Guinea has already seen one of the most rapid up-takes of new digital communications in the world and we must increase penetration into remote areas.

“Through better communications, people around the country have access to information that changes lives.

“Doctors can access the latest techniques to better treat illnesses and injuries, teachers can deliver improved education for their students, and families can stay in touch regardless of distance.

“Several years ago APEC committed to achieve village access to the Internet as a baseline and we are working to achieve this goal.

“As Minister, Sam Basil will make sure there is increased consultation with our partners and global experts, and work through APEC to improve access to improved technologies that can be implemented at the local level.”

Meantime, Mr Basil has thanked the Prime Minister and looks forward to serving the people in line with the Alotau Accord II. He will issue an official statement soon.

Law Reform Office Receives Support from Agency

By : The National

 

THE Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) received support yesterday for its work, courtesy of a non-governmental organisation, Bloomberg Data for Health Initiative (BD4HI).

CLRC Secretary Dr Eric Kwa said they had a partnership with the Bloomberg in the review of laws relating to civil registration and vital statistics which was mainly looking at data on births and deaths and marriages.

He said the support was timely as CLRC had now begun reviewing the Civil Registration Act focusing on making it a single piece of legislation.

“In PNG we have a little over 4000 laws. This office is quite small and we cannot review all the laws in two to three years,” Kwa said.

“We have targeted the colonial laws first and will review to make them up-to-date and we will also focus on new laws that will improve the lives of our people.

“When Bloomberg approached us to work together to improve laws relating to data collection stage and dissemination, we were already working on the Civil Registration Act, so we decided to focus on that.”

BD4HI is a global group based in Melbourne with headquarters in New York, United States.

It had been supporting data collection and reporting of health statistics in a number of middle-income countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Bloomberg country coordinator Dr Ninkama Moiya said they were working in partnership with Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and had sponsored the revitalisation and the functions of data and statistics in this country.

“One of the things that we are working on is looking at all the laws that have an impact on CRVS functions and systems,” Moiya said.

“It it is a four-year project and it ends in 2019.

“We are happy to be here to present the computers to Constitutional and Law Reform Commission to help them in their work on reviewing the laws.”

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.

Submarine Cable Project Ready for NEC

Source: Post Courier Online

BY GORETHY KENNETH

Instruments for one of Papua New Guinea’s high impact projects, the US$100 million (K300 million) international gateway submarine cable from Sydney to Port Moresby is ready to go before Cabinet when it convenes this month.

Shortlisted vendors have already been selected but will officially be released once finalised.

The project is expected to be completed before the Government hosts the biggest meet in history in the 2018 APEC Summit.

On completion it is expected to decrease drastically the cost of internet in PNG as currently there is only a one lane highway the country is operating on.

The project will have about a super 100 lane highway, which will not only allow fast internet access, but cheap and reliable access to internet cost in PNG.

Treasurer Charles Abel in his recent presentation releasing the Government’s 100 days 25-Point Plan, said the project was part of the government’s primary goals of demonstrating pro-activity.

He said this was to ensure sound macroeconomic and fiscal management, restoring confidence, and generating investment and moving towards greater economic self reliance.

He said the World Bank and Australian Government financing of US$100 million was in place and the project would come under Treasury and DataCo.

This will push competition across the retail telecommunications sector by upgrading, building, owning and operating the National Transmission Network (TNN) and making it available to ICT operators at the wholesale level only.

This will eventually provide an effective wholesale infrastructure that is reliable and cost-effective for the people of PNG.

Telecommunication prices are set to reduce substantially once all these changes are in place.
“I want very much to progress the construction of the international gateway communications cable from Sydney to Port Moresby,” he said.

“This will get the cost of internet down in PNG once completed and the World Bank is helping with US$100 million and there are also other projects and programs that will help the government ease the prices of internet drastically.”

“We will look at all the costs and progress the construction of the international gateway communication cable from Sydney to Port Moresby.

“So with that connection with the old, worn out cable that’s coming in from Sydney and the other one that’s going to Guam off Madang, we are going to build this international access cable from Sydney.

IGIS Lacks Capacity To Support IFMS

Source: Post Courier Online

BY MICHAEL ARNOLD

With the call from the Chief Secretary to government, for all government departments to migrate their networks to the newly established Integrated Government Information System (IGIS), issues have surfaced regarding IGIS’s capacity to support government systems.

Special concerns have been raised by finance secretary Dr Ken Ngangan that IGIS’s does not meet the specifications required to support the finance departments new Integrated Finance Management System (IFMS).

“We’ve got issues with bandwidth, but we are negotiating for an increase in bandwidth so that we can operate our IFMS. We are also asking IGIS and DataCo to increase their coverage both here and around the country, so that we can move on to a national platform,” said Mr Ngangan.

Dr Ngangan said that he supported the idea of hosting government Information and Communications Technology (ICT) systems on a government platform, but stressed that capacity was not a challenge, but one that also posed a great risk.

“The intention is that government systems must run on government platforms. That’s the idea, but those platforms need to be strong enough to support them. The danger that we face is that if those platforms are not strong enough and they fall, the system falls and the blame comes back to us,” said Dr Ngangan.

However, Dr Ngangan said that the Department of Finance has had ongoing talks with the Department of Communication and Information and DataCo, the government owned internet service provider (ISP) to enhance IGIS capabilities.

“We are continuously talking to them to provide that platform to run IFMS. We’re talking to DataCo and IGIS to make sure that the platform that they are working on is strong enough and wide enough to run IFMS.

IFMS is already operational and is currently being carried on the Digicel network. There are also government systems which are being carried on alternative commercial ISP’s, most of which would stand to lose business if all government departments migrate to IGIS.

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