Former Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Opposition Leader Belden Namah have condemned the decision by Prime Minister James Marape to travel to Goroka and Lae amid the Covid-19 outbreak. “The rules that Marape laid out under the new State of Emergency are for everyone including himself” O’Neill said. He said police should charge Marape for violating the State of Emergency laws. Health Minister Jelta Wong said it was vital that everyone followed the 14-day restrictions. Marape and members of the delegation were seen mixing around with people without wearing masks and not practising social distancing in public.
No money has been remitted to all the 111 districts, including the nation’s capital for Covid-19 pandemic operations. This is despite the Government allocating K600 million specifically earmarked for the Covid-19 operations.
The PNG Nurses Association also held a meeting, announcing that they would stage a nationwide stop-work, saying that the personnel protection equipment (PPE) donations and funding allocated Covid-19 had not benefitted the health workers at Port Moresby General Hospital and other provincial health facilities. No comments followed from Prime Minister James Marape.
Opposition leader and Vanimo-Green MP Belden Namah highlighted concerns relating to funds for provincial use to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic when attending the first provincial executive council meeting for West Sepik Province. Attending the provincial executive council meeting, Mr Namah spoke about the K2 million allocated to each provincial health authority to respond to Covid19. Mr Namah asked if it had even been received from the government.
The 38 deaths reported across the border in Jayapura, Indonesia has prompted the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Patrick Pruaitch to appeal to the national government to focus more resources on border provinces. It was reliably informed that the promised K2 million to assist the border Covid-19 awareness had not reached the province since the first lockdown.
The Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) has welcomed the National Executive Council decision to adopt the proposed Organic Law on Decentralisation in place of the current Organic Law. The proposed Organic Law on Decentralisation is the direct result of a major constitutional directive from the Government to CLRC for the review of the current Organic Law on Provincial and Local Level Government in 2014. CLRC secretary Dr Mange Matui said it was a major stepping-stone for the country in the next 50 years.
Prime Minister James Marape has officially launched the K692 million Nadzab airport redevelopment project. The redevelopment of the airport will be funded through a partnership between the PNG government (K114 million) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (K578 million). The upgrade would enable Nadzab Airport to handle the growing demand for cargo and passenger movements in the Momase and Highlands region triggered by the increase in economic activities.
Samarai-Murua district in Milne Bay province is embarking on formulating a submission to be presented before the national Parliament and the National Executive Council (NEC) to introduce a coast guard system in PNG waters. There is a surge in transnational crimes including smuggling of drugs, guns and illegal items into PNG by sea. Illegal fishing, poaching and illegal activities are ongoing including the surge in sea piracy.