Government. Papua New Guinea press review
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Hon. James Marape said that a supplementary Budget could be introduced in June this year as the Government monitors the impact the COVID-19 global pandemic has had on the country’s revenues in response to the massive drop in oil prices. The drop-in oil will affect revenue sales from oil and LNG, major export commodities for PNG. According to Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, June will be in a better place to see by how much PNG’s revenue has gone off track. In the meantime, the Government will implement its current budget plan, established in November 2019. James Marape also promised that the Public Investment Program (PIP) projects will not be affected.
Adding to the potential loss of revenue is the temporary suspension of the Porgera Gold Mine in Enga province, about which was announced following the non-renewal of the Special Mining Lease (SML)
Prime Minister James Marape announced that the National Executive Council’s decision to refuse the request from Barrick Niugini Limited was based on recommendations from the Mining Advisory Committee (MAC).
The PNG government has carefully considered the issue and decided it was «in the best interests of the State, especially in lieu of the environmental damages claims and resettlement issues», that the lease not be renewed. The NEC agreed to enter into a transitional agreement with the multi-national Barrick, to develop an exit plan, during which local landowners and the Enga Provincial Government would be consulted widely.
Barrick Niugini Limited challenged the decision, saying it was «tantamount to nationalisation without due process» and decided to seek judicial review of the decision of NEC and the Head of State to refuse its request to extend the validity of the Special Mining Licence (SML).
Prime Minister Hon. James Marape said, despite the threat of COVID-19, work in these sectors of the economy must «proceed full steam ahead».
However, three members of Parliament who are among 600 Papua New Guineans stranded abroad due to COVID-19 lockdown are expected to arrive in the country by the end of next week. The three MP’s among the group are Kagua Erave District MP Wesley Raminai (Southern Highlands), Moresby Northwest District MP Sir Mekere Moruata (National Capital District, NCD) and Ialibu-Pangia District (Southern Highlands) MP Peter O’Neill. The stranded Papua New Guinean citizens will be airlifted out from Australia and will be quarantined for 21 days quarantine noting the incubation period of the virus and contact upon arrival.