05 Feb 2021

Prime Minister James Marape says Resource Industry Announcements will be made in coming weeks, in address to Business Council of PNGs “9th Prime Minister’s Back to Business Breakfast”

Rescue, rebuild and Recover” the theme of The 9th Prime Ministers BACK TO BUSINESS BREAKFAST”

Held at the Stanley Hotel on Thursday 4th of February, it was hosted by the Business Council of Papua New Guinea, in Partnership with Kina Bank.

President of the Business council of PNG, Nuni Kulu, said, the theme of Rescue, Recover and Rebuild entails the following:

· Advocate for the rescue of businesses that have been heavily impacted by COVID19
· We will still support the governments overall economic development agenda by advocating to the national government to consider quality infrastructure priorities to empower the private sector in the areas of reliable power supply and affordable internet.
· Lead the dialogue on business participation in the implementation of the UN Sustainable development goals in PNG
· Collaborate with other business organizations which advocate to the government on the law reform priorities to empower the private sector
· Collaborate with other business associations to the national government for ways to promote broadening the industry-based priorities to diversify the economy and work closely with the national government to develop a robust productivity and employment strategy.

President Kulu says “To ensure our conversations are productive, Prime Minister (James Marape) and I have agreed to regularly foster healthy dialogue with business executives, state ministers as well as government officials and this will be through the PRAIVET GAVAMANI KONEKT, PGK whereby four meetings will be held annually with the sole purpose to try and have the rescue, recover and rebuild agenda”

The first PGK concluded on Wednesday 3rd of February with discussions focused on the following matters, Business continuity plans, the Niupla Pasin internet pricing energy tariffs, fiscal policy, ease of doing business reform, innovation, agriculture, copyright and cultural property protection, skills and needs partnership, and business for sustainable development goals.

“The business Council PNG values the PGK process and will therefore compliment each other through greater collaboration and partnership and drive Papua New Guinea’s economic development agenda towards attaining the goal of the PNG Development Strategic Plan that is of becoming a lower middle income economy by 2030” said Ms Kulu.

Guest Speaker, Executive General Manager Banking – Kina Bank, Lesieli Taviri says the Prime Ministers Back to Business Breakfast as a Crucial event for national building, Bringing the figures of government and business together to discuss a shared vision for the sustainable growth and success of our country.

She gave a Brief economic outlook, stating that 2020 was a challenging year for PNG as the COVID19 Pandemic took a significant toll on our country’s economy

“The prime minister stated in September that our country’s economy had declined by K10.7bn to nominal terms by the third quarter, this was significant, relative (sic) to an estimated gross domestic product of under K82bn.” She said.

She says, part of that, was a result of the cancellation of the Papua LNG around the COVID 19 outbreak which put a dampener on investments in the resource sectors and tilted risks in the broader economy toward the downward.

“The pandemic aggravated these risks and caused a number of private and commercial investments to be either delayed or cancelled outright.”

“As a consequence, discretionary spending was impacted negatively and furthermore the closure of Porgera mining amidst the pandemic added to these turns with significant impact on GDP, expected taxation rating and foreign currency inflows.”

PNG response to the pandemic was also unprecedented in its measures – with financial institutes also providing significant assistant to the general populace.

She added “The resource projects will continue to be the main drivers in the immediate terms”

Guest of Honor, Prime Minister James Marape in his 2021 Formal Address, informed the business community that some announcements will be made soon on major resource projects in the coming weeks, saying projects like the Wafi-Golpu project, Pasca gas fields and Porgera mine restart are progressing well.

Saying the necessary permits needed to Wafi-Golpu to get off the ground, have been given.

“We have also ensured that the Papua LNG project has the last few instruments to be signed off soon at an occasion at the Government House next week, in which Total SA managing-director of the region will come in…We are also hoping to tick off Pasca at the very earliest.”

Prime Minister Marape also saying “The Porgera mine will remain and our new vision to take back more from our natural resources, will be relayed to the contractors at the very earliest.”

“We have been entering into discussions with the contractor and the immediate past investor, Barrick Niugini Ltd.”

Adding “It is being discussed that even if Kumul Minerals goes out on a 100 per cent redevelopment of the mine, as per the Special Mine Lease (SML) that we own, we will still be looking for an investor and investment partner.

“The former investor or the recent past investor, Barrick, became our investor of choice, as long as they subscribe to the principles that our Government believes in: getting a fair share on the returns of our resources.”

“I believe we have enough resource base in our country, so we have to find a fair balance in getting what this country deserves, but at the same time respect our investors to make their profit margin.”

Prime Minister Marape said all other resources projects under discussion would be held within PNG’s legislative regimes and the goal posts would not change.

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