Tag Archives: Government

PROTESTERS WARNED !

Source: Post Courier

BY GORETHY KENNETH

The PNGDF will have no choice but to forcefully evict the protesting refugees if the situation gets uncontrolled, Lombrum Naval Base Commanding Officer Begsy Karaki said.

But CO Karaki assured no arbitrary actions on their part will be instigated as the 600 odd refugees and non refugees were still under the “care” of the PNG Immigration Office with Australia.

“They will not be forcefully removed. They are here at the military camp and most of their base in military camp are out of bound to any civilian and they will not be seen wondering around in the camp…but if anything happens, with instructions from Head Quarters, we can act,” he said.

The Lombrum Naval Base in Manus is a sensitive military base operated by the Maritime Operations Element of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.

Australia and the PNG Governments agreed in 2013 to have the Manus Regional Processing Centre set up in the premises of the military camp, with full knowledge of the military rules.

CO Karaki also explained that there was no call out and that there was no real threat right now but the military base operations was on standby for anything.

“There is no panic and those that have pre-conceived ideas developed by the asylum seekers. I reiterrate that there is no threat,” he said.

“This is Australia’s problem now being brought in here, and we are getting blamed for issues we did not create. We cannot get involved, we have no say in this, but because they are placed here at our military camp, we hope there are some solutions quickly, so we carry on with our duties and tasks.

“This program has placed more responsibility on us, but we have to carry out the tasks.

“If anything happens in the vicinity of the camp, if any threat – I will only act on HQ instructions,” he said.

When asked about the facilities now at MRPC which is inside the Lombrum Naval Base, whether it was now the property of the military base, CO Karaki said he had no idea.”I have nothing on my table saying that, at the moment we don’t own anything because there is no gifting or there is no arrangement or even myself I am not aware of this one or any of that arrangement. We don’t own anything, although it is in the military establishment but we don’t own anything. It is still in the higher process level where they will sort it out,” he said.

Abel On US$100 Million

Source: Post Courier Online

BY GORETHY KENNETH

The Government is well advanced in implementing the 100 day, 25 point plan, Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Charles Abel said.

Abel, speaking from Washington D.C. where he is attending the Annual Board of Governors meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund has noted the 50 day mark of the 100 Day, 25 Point Plan as of the 13th of October 2017.

The Bank of PNG has made a US$100m intervention into the FOREX market and the Napanapa Refinery is purchasing 50% of its crude oil needs from Oil Search in Kina.

Separately the US$395m budget for the health sector and the US$1bn concessional loan for the Highlands Highway from the ADB is well progressed.”

“The Supplementary Budget has been passed and we are completing the 2018 Budget for the November parliamentary session,” said Abel

Government Starts Audit into Rental-Payment Arrangements

The National

AN audit into government departments to justify arrangements for rental payments  started this week,  Personnel Management Secretary John Kali says.

Kali told The National that he was preparing an information brief to present to Cabinet the details of where each government department was housed.

“We are carrying out physical inspections of the all buildings that house the government departments, including Sir Manasupe House and Morauta House,” he said.
“Once the physical inspection is completed, I will present to the Finance Department the leases indicating the agencies, the rented offices and the cost involved.

Cabinet had directed the audit following locking out of some government departments and agencies by landlords for the non-payment of rent, the latest being the Conservation Environment Protection Authority (yesterday) located at the bmobile Building in Waigani.

Treasurer Charles Abel said there was an under-budget on the rentals of about K178 million in the national budget.

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.”

State Adjusting to Economic Situation, says Fleming

The National

By MARK HAIHUIE

THE government’s sale of its shares in Oil Search shows that it is willing to adjust to the current economic situation, Bank South Pacific chief executive Robin Fleming says.

Fleming told The National that businesses would be anticipating similar undertakings by the government in the 2017 Supplementary Budget.

“The supplementary budget is important for business as it will be the first significant outcome of the government’s 100-day plan and an excellent signal to the business community of the specifics associated with the implementation of the plan,” Fleming said.

“Kumul Petroleum Holdings recently announced the sale of its Oil Search shares with the consequent exit of the UBS and JP Morgan-structured debt facilities.

“It indicates the government’s preparedness to make decisions that recognise current economic conditions.”
Fleming said the government could eliminate or defer commitments not critical to its long-term development plans.
“This is not to say that some of those longer-term developments are not important,” he said.

“But in the short-term, the focus should be on meeting any residual payment obligations from operational or development expenditure, where services have been provided or procurement completed.

“Payment and settlement of any such debt will provide cash flow for many businesses in PNG.”

US Accepts 54

The National

THE Government has welcomed the approval by the United States to resettle some refugees from Manus, and hopes more cases are resolved before the closure of the centre next month.

A United States Department official confirmed yesterday that a “first group” of 54 refugees had been approved and would travel to the US in  the coming weeks, and more should be resettled in the coming months. An agreement was struck last year with the Obama administration.

The Manus regional processing centre will be closed on Oct 31 in compliance with a PNG Supreme Court ruling last year that the detention of asylum seekers on the island was in breach of the PNG constitution.n    From Page 1
A PNG Government spokesman told The National yesterday that the process involving the settlement of refugees in the US had been underway for some time.

“In broader terms, we (Government) look forward to seeing other individual asylum-seeker cases advanced, particularly ahead of the closure of the Manus regional processing centre,” he said.

“Ultimately, the intent of the Manus centre was to do our part to put an end to people smuggling in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Kurdish-Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani currently held at the Manus centre welcomed the US government decision.
Boochani called on the US and Australia to specify a time frame for sending people to America.

“Their (Australia’s) plan is to close Manus detention centre by the end of October and until now, they could not because the refugees have resisted and refused to leave the detention centre and go to East Lorengau,” Boochani said.

There are 730 refugees on Manus and 1053 on Nauru at the end of August, according to the Australian government.

Many of the refugees have been on Manus since 2012 after PNG and the Kevin Rudd-led Labor government signed an agreement to process their cases at the Manus centre.

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