Economy. Papua New Guinea press review
The Papua New Guinea (PNG) authorities will announce a new policy to manage maritime resources soon, says Papua New Guinea Deputy Prime Minister, Davis Steven. This comes after the collapse of Solwara-1 in the Bismarck Sea, a project intended as a world first in deep-sea mining.
PNG Business News quotes the minister saying the Solwara-1 project continues to remind the nation to be careful in how it deals with maritime resources. Solwara is the world’s first deep-sea mining project. It has an extraction depth of over 1,500 metres. It is the world’s first deep-sea mining project.
OK Tedi Mining Limited has commenced progressive rotation of its expatriate and national employees including contractors to relieve crews who have been on site for the past eight weeks to keep the operations running. OMTL told that the movement of personnel staff to and from site requires the approval of the State of Emergency controller David Manning: «All inbound and outbound passengers travelling on our charter flights are required to do a health assessment before being allowed to travel or resume work. Inbound expatriate employees are placed in self isolation for 14 days on site as per the SoE orders».
The company said it continues to maintain stringent measures on its operational sites including Tabubil town (Western Province) to prevent COVID-19 entering the workforce and nearby communities. OTML also supporting the National Department of Health Surveillance team to do COVID-19 testing in the surrounding communities and our workforce and pleasingly to date there have been no further confirmed cases in Western Province since the three reported earlier by the SoE Сontroller.
The National Superannuation Fund (Nasfund) is now looking into its non-performing investments in the areas of aviation, tourism and agriculture. These investments represent 24% of its overall portfolio. Chief executive officer Ian Tarutia told this newspaper that the fund is also keeping a close eye on its K400 million offshore investments which have impacted since the end of January due to COVID-19. The fund’s total net asset value sits at K5.2 billion.
Puma Energy General Manager and Director Hulala Tokome says the price of fuel is the lowest it has been in Papua New Guinea for over a decade. In addition, according to Mr. Tokome, this when responding to queries from The National that the relaxing of restrictions due to the State of emergency (SoE) had seen a slight increase in demand even though prices were low due to world oil prices. «We continue to produce quality fuel at the refinery in continuing to energise PNG».
As stated Mr. Tokome, they didn’t have any issues in terms of fuel supply or stock out issues in the country: «We realized a significant drop in demand during the COVID-19, especially with Jet A1 fuel as we manufacture and supply 100% of the fuel from our refinery on PNG for aircraft to fly», he said.
The operator of the Porgera Gold Mine, Barrick Niugini Ltd (BNL), and the PNG authorities have come up with certain agreements regarding addressing issues arising out of the transition period, this was revealed in court by both parties. However, according to both parties, discussions are still underway to come up with a complete resolution. BNL’s lawyer Derek Wood said the miner could not continue to maintain certain community projects because of a lack of revenue due to closure of the mine. National Court Judge Ambeng Kandakasi in a previous hearing directed both parties to resolve issues arising from the transition period to ensure that the mine area was safe and in a stable condition. Since the court has considered the interest of both parties in the matter, Justice Kandakasi told both parties that environmental conditions and safety of the mine site was a priority.
Meanwhile, PNG Air Limited is pleased to announce that scheduled flights into restricted airports of Daru, Kiunga, Wewak and Vanimo will recommence on Monday 18th of May 2020.
Minister for Agriculture and Livestock and Maprik John Simon is working on a ‘rescue plan’ for businesses in the Agriculture and Livestock sector who have been hit hard by COVID-19.
This rescue plan will be tabled before the Government and eventually identify solutions as to how to address this issue. This decision comes after a recent visit to Lae and Morobe that major businesses in the Agriculture and Livestock sector are been seriously affected by this COVID-19
The Cabinet has approved K2.3 million to assist in the fight against the African Swine Fever incursion. The National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority (NAQIA), while waiting for the funding, has already spent over K2 million to manage the disease in Southern Highlands Province. The situation on ground is dire, hence NAQIA is appealing to the Treasury Department to release the K1.3 million while the Agriculture and Livestock Department’s Livestock Development Corporation funds will make available K1 million.