Economy. Papua New Guinea press review
Papua New Guinea (PNG) authorities will fund K600 million to flow to the health, security and economic sectors following the National Executive Council’s (NEC) approval of two major elements of Hon. James Marape government’s K5.7 billion coronavirus economic stimulus package – announces Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey and added that this was K100 million more than initially planned to ensure the PNG government responded in the war against the coronavirus.
Expected that K280 million would go towards health and security measures, and K320 million will be spent on supporting the economic sector – agriculture, households and business.
Distribution of health and security funds:
– K60 million for upgrading hygiene at potential coronavirus hotspots such as markets, schools, churches and aid posts, to be administered by provincial health authorities and district development authorities;
– K37 million to be distributed directly to front-line Provincial Health Authorities as a 22% increase in each of their 2020 Budget funding allocations;
– K30 million for the Department of Health for the purchase of personal protective equipment and other vital health support using international procurement practices as established by the World Bank;
– K60 million to the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, the PNG Defence Force and Correctional Services to strengthen law and order aspects of the war on the pandemic, and to defend all borders against potential disease carriers;
– K73 million to the PNGDF to build 10 border posts as soon as possible, including covering the functions of immigration, customs, quarantine and defence;
– K15 million to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to build capacity at overseas posts and to help repatriate Papua New Guinea citizens trapped abroad; and,
– K5 million of administrative support for churches and city/urban authorities to provide food for those most in need.
Papua New Guinean Airline announced that scheduled flights to the border ports of Daru, Kiunga, Vanimo, Buka and Wewak will still require prior approval from the State of Emergency (SoE) Controller. While Tabubil and Lihir airports still remain closed to commercial passenger flights. Air Niugini also took the opportunity to remind travelling public that they are continuing operations with strict health and safety measures as per the SoE order. For international, outbound flights to flights to Cairns, Brisbane and Singapore do not require prior approval. Controller approval will no longer be required as Air Niugini makes one flight to a domestic port daily. Inbound flights are now open for sale, however, the inbound passengers still require Controller’s approval and evidence of 14-day hotel accommodation at an approved quarantine hotel, before being able to check-in.
Porgera gold mine operator Barrick Niugini Ltd (BNL) and the Papua New Guinean authorities haven’t come up with any resolutions regarding resolving issues arising from the transition period following the Government’s refusal to extend the miner’s Special Mining Lease (SML). Barrick and the PNG were given directives by the court to cooperate to collectively address the situation under the clause 19.1 (d) and (e) of the Mining Development Contract which was signed in 12 May 1989. Section 19 allows the Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) to remain in mine for a one-year period following expiry date to remove and recover assets and equipment including explosives, and to ensure that the mine area is safe and in a stable condition, having regards to natural conditions as well. Deputy Chief Justice Ambeng Kandakasi on Friday told both parties that environmental conditions of the mine was a priority.
However, Pomio District in East New Britain Province through its local MP Elias Kapavore, has made a first part payment of K1m last week to AG Energy Limited for the construction of a 400 kilowatts mini-hydro at Unung River. The payment follows a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed between Pomio District Development Authority (PDDA), AG Energy Limited and the ENB provincial government two months ago. Mr. Kapavore said that hydro project should be able to solve the electricity woes in the district.
PNG DataCo CEO Paul Komboi said that fiber optic is the future in communication especially in knowledge, information management and dissemination. Mr. Komboi announced about it during a small ceremony to mark the landing of the Kumul Submarine Fiber Optic arrival in East New Britain. According to Mr Komboi, the fiber optic is a significant and ambitious investment by the government which is at US$170 million.
The project would link the 14 coastal provinces of Papua New Guinea.