**** Funding to pave way for service delivery ****
The national government allocation of Local Level Government Services Improvement Program (LLGSIP) funding will pave way for more government services to reach people in rural areas.
President of Dyamo LLG in Kabwum district Patrick Basa said this when presenting a cheque of K400,000 to purchase a new bulldozer for his LLG. He said this was the first time that the LLG had such privilege to build its own works capacity.
"I must commend the Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill government for such imitative by allocating K500, 000 to the LLGs, where rural people can now see government services delivery to them on their door steps," he said.
Mr Basa also said that it also gives opportunities to councillors at ward levels to make their own decisions of funding priority projects within their respective ward areas. He said for far too long people in rural areas have missed out on government services however today they will witness development taking place.
He said Dyamo was one of the LLG in Kabwum district that needed proper road network to connect the people. We want to see new road network build to connect our people within the district from the hinterland to the coast. "Currently, we highly depend on air transport which very costly for ordinary villagers to travel to Lae," he said. Mr Basa said the road network would also open economic corridor for the people of Dyamo.
**** Dame Meg Taylor Selected as Incoming Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General ****
The Leaders of the Pacific Islands’ Forum have selected Dame Meg Taylor from Papua New Guinea to serve as the Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat.
The Prime Minister thanked the leaders of the other Pacific Island states for their confidence in selecting Dame Meg Taylor to serve the following three-year term that begins in January 2015.
“The election of Dame Meg Taylor, Papua New Guinea's candidate, to the position of Secretary General of the Premier organization in the region is most humbling. “This is an important time for the Forum following the preparation of the Eminent Persons Group Report that is aimed at improving the operation of the Forum.”
The Prime Minister said that Dame Meg Taylor will take exceptional experience to the Forum Secretariat. As a former Papua New Guinea Ambassador to the United States, and Compliance Ombudsman with the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group, Dame Meg has a wealth of experience.
“Beyond her professional capacity, one of the traits that will see Dame Meg succeed at the Forum Secretariat is her compassion. “Dame Meg Taylor, as the incoming Secretary General, will be an inspirational leader for her staff and the range of technical officials she will work with across Forum operations.”
In taking her appointment Dame Meg will be the first female leader of the of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and will be supported by two Deputies Secretary Generals who are also Pacific Islands women. These are Andie Fong Toy, Deputy Secretary General for Economic and Political Governance, and Security and Cristelle Pratt, Deputy Secretary General for Strategic Partnerships and Coordination and Corporate Services. Papua New Guinea will host the 46th Pacific Islands’ Forum Leaders’ Meeting in 2015.
**** PNG Committed To Supporting Pacific Island Countries ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, met with fellow Pacific Islands’ Forum Leaders in Palau on 30-31 July, during which time they held a number of bilateral meetings that covered business linkages and PNG’s development support to island states.
These meetings included discussions with leaders and ministers from Niue, the Cook Islands, Nauru, Palau, Samoa and New Zealand. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill highlighted Papua New Guinea’s ongoing regional development assistance that is being delivered to island states and has seen up to K300 million already spent or committed over several years. “In our bilateral meetings we considered means for enhancing trade and investment between our countries,” the Prime Minister said.
“We also considered the ways in which Papua New Guinea is supporting development in our broader region as our economy grows. “It is important that we continue to ensure that we take other Pacific Island countries with us when we prosper in our own country.
“Papua New Guinea has an obligation to be taking the lead role in ensuring that these things happen.
“Through our discussions with many of the leaders of the region we are also seeking to ensure that PNG businesses continues to have access to other markets so as to invest and employ more people. This investment then generates income for nations and their people. “That way it will continue to change living standards in their respective communities.”
During the bilateral meetings the Prime Minister took on board requests for assistance and considered perspectives relating to regional economic development. The President of Niue President, Toke Talagi, in his meeting with PM O’Neill, expressed interest in PNG providing assistance for the reconstruction of Niue’s National Parliament building. The Prime Minister indicated his support for Niue in advancing the project and suggested that Niue develop a proposal for discussion with Papua New Guinea to secure the funding. Requests for support from other economies included technical advice on seabed mining, and enhancing development in key sectors that include healthcare and agriculture.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has invited all leaders to attend the 46th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting that will take place in Port Moresby in July 2015 and will coincide with Papua New Guinea’s hosting of the 2015 Pacific Games.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill hosted the PM O'Neill foundation dinner in Port Moresby last night ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill last night (02/08/14) hosted the PM O'Neill Foundation Corporate Dinner, which raked in a sum of K5.2 million.
The Dinner was held at the Dynasty Restaurant in Port Moresby, and was attended by many prominent business entities, corporate companies, investors as well as MP's and State Ministers.
"With the money that we have raised tonight from your donations and sponsors and commitment, we can continue to provide more funding to other Charity Organizations in PNG, so they can provide for those in need.
Last year, The PM O'Neill Foundation raised up to K3.5 million and distributed K2 million to various Charity Organizations in Port Moresby.
"This Foundation will also implement a project dubbed as 'waswas' where proper bathrooms with clean water will be build in each community thoughout the city to promote clealiness in our communities, eventually preventing sicknesses from unclean living,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill said.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill sees Fiji keeping to its word ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill says he's satisfied that the Fiji government is keeping to its word about elections in September.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill's comment comes at the 45th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders summit in Palau. Fiji has been suspended from the Forum since 2009 when its military-led government rejected a Forum deadline for a return to democracy.
Holding free and fair elections is the key criteria for Fiji's re-inclusion in the Forum. Prime Minister O'Neill says Fiji remains a key member of the Pacific community and the Forum members don't want it to be on the outer any longer than is neccessary.
"So far they have kept to their word. They have committed to that process and I believe that the election outcomes will be acceptable to the international community and once that has been achieved they will of course be welcomed back into the Forum, and we look forward to their coming back.” Fiji has said it will only re-join the Forum if Australia and New Zealand quit the organisation.
**** PM’s foundation raises K5.2m ****
The Prime Minister O’Neill Foundation charity gala has raised K5.2 million on Saturday night in Port Moresby.
This charity gala was made successful because of favourable response from major corporate entities all over Papua New Guinea, including several political parties and statutory and government institutions.
The Prime Minister O’Neill Foundation was launched on August 3, 2013, at Dynasty Restaurant in front of 550 people with Australian singing sensation Tina Arena lending her voice to one of the biggest social events of the year, with master of ceremony none other than Channel Nine’s entertainment guru from the Today Show, Richard Wilkins.
Last Saturday about 700 people turned up with entertainment from the famous Sheppard’s Band and PNG’s singing sensation Jokema. The foundation was established to give back to the people of PNG.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill launched the organisation during the celebration of his one-year in office as Prime Minister. The foundation raised K3.868 million and so far in one year has helped a lot of projects under education, critical medical cases, Buk Bilong Pikinini, health, Good Shepherd, Papua New Guinea Stoma Association, and many more. The funds raised by the foundation have touched many people’s lives throughout the country.
He said the funds raised by the O’Neill Foundation will be managed independently and he assured all funds would be acquitted.
**** WHO regional boss to meet Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill today ****
THE World Health Organisation regional director for the Western Pacific region is expected to meet Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill and have final wrap up discussions with health department officials prior to his departure today.
Dr Shin’s visit to the country is to discuss the current health situation in Papua New Guinea and WHO’s contribution to advancing the health status of PNG citizens.
Among other health topics, Dr Shin would also discuss with the government the Tuberculosis situation and the road map to address non-communicable diseases, as well as tobacco control efforts in Papua New Guinea.
Dr Shin had discussions with the Minister for Health, Secretary of National Department of Health and other senior health officials at Parliament House.
The regional director also visited and had discussions with development partners including visiting the University of Papua New Guinea medical school and the Pacific Adventist University.
On Saturday, he had the opportunity to visit a community health post in Central Province.
Yesterday, Dr Shin travelled to Daru, Western Province, for first hand observation of the national response to multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. On that visit he was accompanied by senior officials from the national Department of Health.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill commends leaders ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has thanked Pacific Island leaders for supporting Papua New Guinea candidate Dame Meg Taylor to get the top post of general secretary of the Pacific Island Forum secretariat. Dame Taylor won the post at the recently concluded 45th Pacific Island Forum meeting in Palau.
"We would like to thank all the Pacific Island countries and their leaders for the confidence and support they extended to PNG on its nomination of Dame Meg Taylor to the position of Pacific Island secretary general," the Prime Minister said.
"This is the first time a woman leader of our country will head an international organisation and that is the confidence and trust they have extended to Papua New Guinea. "I know that Pacific Island Forum Secretariat will be now for the first time headed by three women and I think this will be a historic moment for the region, so we thank the Pacific Island nations in giving us overwhelming support. That also shows the confidence they have in PNG as a country."
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill agrees to aid Pacific island nations ****
Business linkages and Papua New Guinea’s development support are among the aspects covered by Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill during bilateral talks with fellow leaders in Palau. These meetings included discussions with leaders and ministers from Niue, the Cook Islands, Nauru, Palau, Samoa and New Zealand.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill highlighted PNG’s ongoing regional development assistance that is being delivered to island states and has seen up to K300 million already spent or committed over several years. “In our bilateral meetings we considered means for enhancing trade and investment between our countries,” the Prime Minister said. “We also considered the ways in which Papua New Guinea is supporting development in our broader region as our economy grows. “It is important that we continue to ensure that we take other Pacific Island countries with us when we prosper in our own country.
“Papua New Guinea has an obligation to be taking the lead role in ensuring that these things happen. “Through our discussions with many of the leaders of the region we are also seeking to ensure that PNG businesses continue to have access to other markets so as to invest and employ more people. This investment then generates income for nations and their people,” he said. “That way it will continue to change living standards in their respective communities.” During the bilateral meetings the Prime Minister took on board requests for assistance and considered perspectives relating to regional economic development. Niue President Toke Talagi expressed interest in PNG providing assistance for the reconstruction of Niue’s National Parliament building. The Prime Minister indicated his support for Niue in advancing the project and suggested that Niue develop a proposal for discussion with Papua New Guinea to secure the funding. Requests for support from other economies included technical advice on seabed mining and enhancing development in key sectors that include healthcare and agriculture. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neilll has invited all leaders to attend the 46th Pacific Islands forum leaders’ meeting that will take place in Port Moresby on July 2015. It will coincide with Papua New Guinea’s hosting of the 2015 Pacific Games.
**** Government to deal with measles and TB ****
Tuberculosis (TB) is on the rise in the National Capital District, Western and Gulf provinces and the government will take measures to control it, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said yesterday.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said the outbreak of measles in the country is also of concern to the government and he appealed to parents to do their bit in assisting by getting their children to hospitals and health centres for vaccinations.
He said this at a media conference with Health Minister Michael Malabag, secretary Pascoe Kase, National Planning Minister Charles Abel and Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato after a meeting with World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director for Western Pacific Dr Shin Young-soo in Parliament yesterday.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said there were discussions on a range of issues concerning the health sector in the country. "The government has invested a sufficient amount of money in the National Health Plan. Still the challenges are substantial. This is where the WHO regional director asks for co-operation in working together."
"We face challenges in specific areas like TB as expressed to us by the regional director and our secretary has clearly articulated this on many occasions, that TB is again on the rise in many communities throughout the country and those that are constantly not on medication that are supplied to them are developing resistance."
The Prime Minister urged all those affected by TB to stay on the drugs that the doctors recommend. "The cases in Gulf, Western province and NCDC are of concern, as seen in the slight increase. Though not at an alarming rate, we are still taking precautionary measures in making sure that when family members are infected they are referred to hospitals and are confined in an environment that we can control and can administer the treatment that they need."
"The drug resistant in TB patients is increasing because people are continuously missing out on drugs. As a result the cost of delivering drugs and care to these patients is also on the increase. On average it costs around USD20-25 000 to care for drug resistant patients.” He said the government will carry out a major awareness exercise over the next few months.
**** Malabag: Government committed to address health issues ****
THE PNG Government remains committed to working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in addressing health challenges facing the country.
This was the message conveyed by Health and HIV/AIDS Minister Michael Malabag during his meeting with WHO regional director for Western Pacific Dr Shin Young-soo in Port Moresby last week Friday.
Mr Malabag said Dr Young-soo has been a strong supporter of PNG and an advocate on PNG’s behalf at the World Health Assembly. This is his third visit to PNG since taking office. He was in PNG at the launching of the current national health plan 2011-2020.
"We greatly appreciate the support that WHO has provided to the PNG Government for many years. Many challenges remain which we can address if we work together," Mr Malabag said.
"We encourage WHO to support the direction of the Government of PNG and be responsive to the National Department of Health."
Mr Malabag, during his briefing to the WHO regional chief, said the prevalence rate for TB in PNG is unacceptably high and includes the increasing presences of MDR-TB and 8 confirmed cases of XDR-TB in Western Province.
He said the Department of Health has established a task-force team that is reporting directly to the deputy secretary. He will response to this emergency and will continue to look at WHO to support the fight against TB. Mr Malabag said improving maternal and child health outcome is a key priority for government that requires WHO support. "Non communicable diseases are emerging quickly and will require quick government response if they are to be adequately addressed," Mr Malabag said. "We have made commitments to prepare a NCD roadmap for PNG and currently establishing a high level committee to oversee its development.
"We require technical assistance to support its development and in particular, support tobacco control measures to be finalised. "Disease outbreaks are of immediate concern and we look to WHO to support us in managing this crisis when they arise. We are presently facing measles outbreak which requires support, including on going assistance in the integrated management of child illness."
"A key concern of the PNG Government is the current HR arrangements with WHO and the management of technical assistance. "We want WHO to be responsive to our requests and direction. As an example, a former WHO advisor undertaking important work in maternal and child health was not continued by WHO despite our request for him to continue. Our local efforts to fund this position directly is a challenge and not financially sustainable for our government."
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter laments loss of judge, journo ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill and Governor General Sir Michael Ogio have expressed their condolences to two distinguished Papua New Guineans, Justice Sao Gabi and senior journalist Jerry Ginua, who passed away over the weekend.
The Prime Minister at a media conference at Parliament House yesterday passed, on behalf of the government, sympathies to the family of Justice Gabi and Mr Ginua. "Justice Gabi is a distinguished member of the legal profession and resident judge in Lae for quite some time and we express sympathies to his immediate family and extended family in Central Province," the Prime Minister said.
"Also we express our condolence to Jerry Ginua, one of the members of the media who has worked with many of us for many years. "He is a distinguished journalist in his own right and made a lot of contribution to his profession for many years and we extend our condolence to his immediate family and his own people from his village and region."
Sir Michael, in a separate statement, expressed great sadness at the passing of the Justice Gabi and Mr Ginua. He said the late judge, who started his career as a lawyer, had made his way up to becoming a National and Supreme Court judge. "Our country has lost a great judge and a dedicated servant of the people. On behalf of my wife Lady Esmie, I extend to the immediate family, friends and relatives of the late judge Juhstice Sao Gabi my condolences and heartfelt sympathies at this difficult time," he said.
Sir Michael also expressed his heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the children, family and colleagues of the Mr Ginua. He described Mr Ginua as one of the few journalists in the media industry who are dedicated to their profession with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of news and information concerning development and social issues in the country. Mr Ginua started his career as a television reporter with EM TV in the mid 1990s and recently moved to the National Broadcasting Commission’s Kundu 2 Television in 2009. "Like many Papua New Guineans, I used to look forward to watching the 6pm news on EM TV every evening a couple of years ago," Sir Michael said. "Watching television journalists like Jerry Ginua report on issues, whatever it be, meant you were informed of the latest news and events happening in the country. "One gets the sense of trust that only the likes of veteran and respected journalist like Jerry Ginua can convey. "The media fraternity has lost an outstanding journalist and mentor. "We share with you all our thoughts and prayers of comfort during this difficult time. May his soul rest in peace."
**** Street kids catch PM’s attention ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has raised serious concerns about parents using children as a source of income on streets of the country and not attending school.
He said the government is looking at taking some tough measures to discourage parents as well as school aged kids hanging around the streets harassing traffic and people for money.
"This government has introduced free education for all school age children to be in the classroom. They should not be hanging around the streets. They should be in classrooms," the Prime Minister said.
He said the reason why the O’Neill-Dion government introduced the free education policy was to capture kids that are roaming around aimlessly on streets around the country.
"I know that there are incidences of kids without parents and we are working closely with the community organisations like the City Mission who are taking in many of the street kids," he said.
"We are urging them (community organisations) to contact our officials at the Office of Community Development so that we can take stock of them and help them settle into many of the groups that we are working with.
"I also think that we have to discourage some of the parents using those kids to be on the streets working and continue to use as a source of income, we have never done this in this country before, we all as a community must discourage."
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said many of the street kids have parents sitting on the side encouraging them to harass traffic and people walking on the street.
"I think it’s important now that we clear up many of them so they all can go to school, we must get our education officials to start encouraging kids to start coming to school."
Leader of Government Business and Finance Minister James Marape during his reign as Education Minister earlier this year, was pushing for compulsory education with provisions to penalize parents whose kids are roaming the streets and not in a classroom.
Last week, Education Minister Nick Kuman announced that compulsory education will start next year.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill: Budget covers disaster ****
Papua New Guinea has taken the lead in not only telling the world that rising sea levels is a serious issue but has also taken steps to mitigate climate change challenges affecting small island States in the region.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill, who returned from the recently concluded 45th Pacific Islands Forum in Palau, said climate change is a real challenge resulting in rising sea levels and constant national disasters affecting many families and communities.
"We have to improve on preparedness for national disasters, for the first time in the country’s history that this is the only government that has put money aside in the budget so that we meet the cost of disasters that continue to frequent our country," he said.
"On the global level, I think we have to work together with many of our smaller Pacific Island nations in making sure that people are aware of the issues like rising sea levels and that is certainly affecting many of our low lying states in the Pacific and it is displacing family members and families and quite a large number of our population.
"I want to assure you that with the other smaller island States, one thing we can assure you of is that we have the passion to tell the rest of the world our story about how climate change is affecting our countries."
He said the second thing the government is doing in mitigating climate change is mitigating factors relating to forestry with PNG Government already limiting the number of Forest Development Licenses.
"We have limited that to 10-years. There will be no new licenses issued. We want to preserve as much as possible all the forest that we have in the country so we can have balance climatic conditions within the country and that can be achieved by taking such actions,"
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said the other issue is about resettlement of people and communities on low lying islands and how to resettle them on the mainland and other islands with the capacity to accommodate them.
"We have had this similar experience with Manam people where we continuously have problems with the resettlement exercise, we must have a clear guideline and that is what the government intends to develop not only for people displaced by climatic changes but also people displaced by disasters.
"We must have clear strategies so that they are not outcasts in our own country, we must make sure we settle them properly and give them the respect and dignity to live peacefully.
"So I think the government is heading in the right direction in supporting smaller island states in making sure the rest of the world know that the pollution that they are creating is creating problems for us."
He said the other issue is about securing funding that developed countries are putting aide to mitigate climate change.
**** UK High Commissioner Presents Letter of Introduction to PM – Discuss Trade, Scholarships and Commonwealth and Pacific Games ****
The new United Kingdom High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea presented his letter of introduction to the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister, Hon Peter O’Neill CMG MP, received H.E. Simon Tonge and discussed a number of bilateral issues including trade, academic scholarships and the Commonwealth and Pacific Games.
“I was pleased to welcome High Commissioner Tonge to Papua New Guinea and I expressed our desire for ongoing warm bilateral relations,” the Prime Minister said.
“There is potential to increase and diversify trade between Papua New Guinea and the United Kingdom. “Currently the United Kingdom is our 12th largest trading partner and exports from Papua New Guinea continue to expand.
“British companies have announced their intention to increase investment in PNG’s energy sector and we welcome this vote of confidence.”
PM O’Neill said that ongoing cooperation and British support to Papua New Guinea in education is well received and appreciated.
“Papua New Guinea will be funding an increase in undergraduate and post graduate positions for our students to study in the United Kingdom and we are discussing this with the British Government.
“The UK also offers a number of opportunities for Papua New Guineans to study in the United Kingdom. “British Chevening Scholarship is a very important international program that enables a select number of students to study for their masters degree in the United Kingdom.
“The Chevening Scholarship is relevant to students interested in leadership in governance across a range of disciplines and I urge qualified students to apply.”
“It is important for the nation for students to bring this knowledge back to Papua New Guinea and use this for the betterment of our nation.”
The Prime Minister further congratulated the High Commissioner for the United Kingdom’s hosting of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
“The Papua New Guinea delegation to the 20th Commonwealth Games was made to feel welcome in Glasgow, and the outstanding sporting facilities enabled our athletes to compete at the highest level.”
The Prime Minister said that the organizers of the 2015 Pacific games have been in contact with officials from Glasgow to gain from their experience in preparing to host the games. At a diplomatic level, Papua New Guinea and the United Kingdom have maintained diplomatic relations for nearly 38 years having established formal links on 16 September 1975.
**** Education Minister: Teachers, students important ****
The welfare and wellbeing of teachers throughout the country are being looked after, says Education Minister Nick Kuman. Minister Hon. Nick Kuman said teachers and students are important. Without them, there would be no Education Department, Teaching Services Commission and PNG Teachers Association or even the Education Ministry. Issues raised by teachers are management issues that must be fixed by the department for the good of teachers.
In a joint press conference in Parliament yesterday with Education officials, Teaching Services Commission and PNG Teachers Association, the minister said a dialogue convened a day before resulted in parties working to effectively to manage teachers’ issues.
Issues discussed at the dialogue happened after PNG Teachers Association threatened to take industrial action place during the national examinations, which is weeks away.
Minister Hon. Nick Kuman assured teachers that their claims and discrepancies on salaries and other entitlement are looked into with an audit is to be carried out in the education department to fix generally teachers’ pay discrepancies.
He said the 2014-2016 teachers’ salary fixation agreement is being implemented.
This is an agreement that the PNGTA is claims is not happening, according to their investigations. Minister Kuman said all teachers will have access to pay information online in the near future.
"It’s a costly exercise to have all 48,000 teachers pay slips processed and disbursed fortnightly," Minister Kuman said.
He said the Education and Treasury departments will look into innovative ways to address the pay slip system. Also there will be an update to the payroll system for 48,000 teachers so that Education department has readily information for teachers. He also suggested provisional registration for graduating teachers. Minister Hon. Nick Kuman also said Teaching Services Commission positions will be made available in each province to hear teachers’ grievances.
Minister Kuman said Government has given education one of its high priorities and must see quality outcomes.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill keen to enhance PNG-UK relations ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has expressed PNG’s desire to improve current bilateral relations with the United Kingdom.
Mr O’Neill said this yesterday when receiving the new United Kingdom High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Simon Tonge, who presented his letter of introduction to the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill and the new high commissioner discussed a number of bilateral issues, including trade, academic scholarships and the Commonwealth and Pacific Games.
"I was pleased to welcome High Commissioner Tonge to Papua New Guinea and I expressed our desire for ongoing warm bilateral relations,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
"There is real potential to increase and diversify trade between Papua New Guinea and the United Kingdom. "Currently the United Kingdom is our 12th largest trading partner and exports from Papua New Guinea continue to expand.
"Several British companies have announced their intentions to increase investments in our country’s energy sector and we welcome this vote of confidence."
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said the ongoing cooperation and support to PNG in education is well received and appreciated. "The Government will be funding more undergraduate and post graduate positions for students to study in the United Kingdom and we are discussing this with the British Government.
"The British Chevening Scholarship is an important international program that enables a select number of individuals to study for their masters degree in the United Kingdom. It is for those interested in leadership in governance across a range of disciplines and I urge qualified students to apply. "It is important for the nation that students bring this knowledge back to use for the betterment of our nation."
The Prime Minister also congratulated the high commissioner for the UK’s hosting of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. "The PNG delegation to the 20th Commonwealth Games was made to feel welcome in Glasgow, and the outstanding sporting facilities enabled our athletes to compete at their highest levels.” PNG and the UK have maintained diplomatic relations for nearly 38 years since 16 September, 1975.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said organisers of the 2015 Pacific Games have been in contact with officials from Glasgow.
**** Govt commits K1.5m to uni ****
The PNG Government remains committed to working with all higher education, training and research institutions in addressing higher education, training and research challenges facing the country.
This was the message conveyed by Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Minister Delilah Gore during a recent open council meeting with the Pacific Adventist University council members, senior administrators, leaders of the global education portfolio of the church (SDA) and student reps of the SRC at the PAU campus in Port Moresby.
"This year for the first time, the Pacific Adventist University will have the support of the PNG Government of K1.5 million through the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology under its Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Recapitalisation Program and PAU will continue to receive this grant under this program," said Ms Gore.
"It is timely to have the conference when PAU is celebrating its 30th Anniversary to commemorate the significant contribution the University is having in this region.” This was the first time the PAU council has had an open council conference in Port Moresby.
**** Prime Minister: Lae commission will be in place by year’s end ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill announced that Lae will have a city commission by the end of this year. A controversial issue that Morobe Governor Kelly Naru described as something which fell off the back of a truck in Waigani, was picked up and became public knowledge.
Prime Minister O’Neill however said a status quo on the issues was reached and brokered between him, Mr Naru, Deputy Governor Judas Nalau, Lae MP Loujaya Kouza, Ahi Local Government president David Agi and Lae Lord Mayor Koim Trilu Leahy in a lunch meeting at the Lae International Hotel yesterday.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill wanted to assure Mr Naru and his government that the Lae City Commission will be a administrative process and was in no way taking away the revenue collection ability of the Morobe Provincial Government.
He said an interim commission will be set up and the board will comprise Ms Kouza, Mr Trilu Leahy and Mr Agi for the interim. He said a team of government lawyers and bureaucrats from Waigani will be in Lae next week to consult and get views of the general public, as to the best possible solution for Lae.
He also said his government will speed up the legislative process of the new commission, however it will not be the same as Port Moresby’s and will derive its funds directly from the national government.
"November is seen as the time that we will see the commission truly set up in Lae," the Prime Minister said. He said a draft legislation is being drafted and lawyers will visit Lae next week to do more work on it.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill presented K100,000 each to our Commonwealth Games Gold Medalists, Steven Kari and Dika Toua ****
The cheques were presented to the two gold medalists by Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill, on behalf of the National Government, as a token of appreciation for doing PNG proud and bringing home two Gold Medals, for the first time.
**** PM DONATES K250, 000 TO PNG ORCHID SOCIETY ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has donated K250, 000 to the Papua New Guinea Orchid Society at an Orchid Gala dinner last night (08/08/14). Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill told guests at the Parliament State Function room that the donations came from the Community Development Fund (CDF). “Some of the donations from this fund were given last year and again were provided this year, which had totalled up to K250, 000.
“The CDF supports a wide range of societies and charity organisations throughout the country. “This year CDF also assisted in the construction work of the Pacific Games infrastructure buildings and many road developments in Port Moresby,” he said. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill thanked the government and the Orchid Society Board of Directors for their generous support towards the city’s current infrastructure and road developments for the 2015 Pacific Games.
He also extended his appreciation to everyone who attended the dinner; many of whom were supporters of the Operation Open Heart (OOH). “Please give generously as it is for a worthy cause. I also thank the Orchid Society for their continuous support towards the OOH,” he said. The Prime Minister also announced that he had donated recently K100, 000 from the O’Neill Foundation and K250, 000 from the CDF to OOH at a fundraising dinner hosted by Curtain Brothers.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill - Operation Open Heart ****
On Thursday evening the Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill and First Lady Lynda Babao-O'Neill joined the Operation Open Heart (OOH) function at Club Motukea, Curtain Bros PNG.
The night was all about additional fundraising for Operation Open Heart in PNG. OOH has helped many hundreds of PNG people that require urgent heart surgery.
The guests on the evening were treated to the very special and talented Anthony Callea. For those of you who may not know Anthony he is an Australian singer-songwriter who rose to prominence after being the runner-up in the 2004 season of Australian Idol. Anthony's debut single "The Prayer" is the fastest-selling single by an Australian artist, held the No.1 spot on the ARIA Singles Chart for five weeks.
The evening saw well over K600,000 Kina raised to go directly towards to Operation Open Heart. Some of the large donations came from the National Government and the PM O’Neill Foundation on the evening. It was also an opportunity for the many Doctors and Nurses involved in OOH to take a few moments and enjoy PNG and reflect on the lives they are helping and changing.
Hon Justin Tkatchenko was the MC on the evening and is also the patron of Operation Open Heart in Papua New Guinea. We hope you like some of the images from the night…Anthony Callea was amazing and very open to everyone in having pictures with him and singing along…it really was a great evening for everyone involved especially for the hard working Doctors and Nurses of Operation Open Heart.
**** Treasury department to adopt ‘zero tolerance’ policy ****
The national Government will take on a zero tolerance approach on corrupt practices, especially on those who deal directly with millions of kina allocated to districts and provinces for service improvement. The stern warning came from leader of government business and Finance Minister James Marape during the opening of a two-day conference for district and provincial treasurers in the highlands and southern regions, in Mt Hagen last Wednesday.
The Finance Department and other relevant government agencies conducted the conference to prepare the treasurers for the huge task ahead in ensuring the millions of kina that got into their hands were wisely used for the intended purposes. Mr Marape also emphasised the importance of the timely dispersion of duties in real time transactions, meaning procurement of goods and services without compromising the integrity of the process and monthly reporting of how money is used, instead of remitting financial details after longer periods.
The minister called for extra efforts, vigilance and hard working attitudes as his department has looked into work conditions, housing and training benefits to prepare the treasury staff who deal with huge sums of money.
**** PNG joins regional conference ****
Papua New Guinea is being represented at a high level education ministries meeting in Thailand.
The Minister for Education Nick Kuman is in Thailand this week to attend the Asia-Pacific Regional Education Conference (APREC). The Minister is being accompanied by Secretary for Education Michael Tapo and senior education officials. The conference will bring together ministers and high-level officials of ministries of education from countries in the region, as well as other stakeholders in education to discuss issues, challenges and priorities for education beyond 2015 in light of emerging development challenges.
The conference will also seek to develop regional recommendations for the international framework for action to be adopted at the World Education Forum in Incheon, South Korea next year. The conference is financially supported by the Ministry of Education, Thailand, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan, the Ministry of Education, Republic of Korea, UNICEF and UNESCO.
PNG will participate in the drafting of the communiqué since it is a member of the executive board representing the 16 Pacific Island countries. Participation is by invitation only.
**** KEY NOTE ADDRESS BY THE PRIME MINISTER HON. PETER O’NEILL CMG MP AT THE 4th PACIFIC ISLANDS REGIONAL WOMEN’S CORRECTIONAL CONFERENCE PARADE BOMANA,11 AUGUST 2014 ****
Thank you, Minster for CIS, Hon. Jim Simatab,
I acknowledge the presence of or CIS Commander, Michael Waipo, Senior management and staff of CIS, Members and Heads of Organizations in the Law and Justice Sector,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
And of course our Children and families
Other distinguished Guest and Dignitaries,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Please let us all together welcome our friends and family from the Pacific Island Countries who are here with us today.
Today is my first address to the correctional services parade and I am certain that from now on there will be many more to come.
But I want to thank the Minister and the Commander, and the senior management for inviting me to be here today to open this very important 4th Pacific Islands Regional Women’s Correctional Conference that we are having in Port Moresby. Today, delegates from 12 Pacific Island Countries are here with us. Let me take this opportunity to thank all the Pacific Islands for supporting the work of women in all our countries in the region.
In particular let me take this opportunity to than them for extending the support to Papua New Guinea when we bid for the position of Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum – where our own Dame Meg Taylor was elected as the Secretary General. For that I say thank you very much on behalf of the country of Papua New Guinea.
I especially welcome the women from the Pacific Islands to this conference because it reminds us of the important role women play in our society and especially in the law and justice sector, and in this profession of correctional services.
The role that women play can often not widely appreciated by some in government and the community. I know that his is not deliberate, but it is because of many constraints and the challenges that we continue to face as a nation and nations within the pacific region.
Our challenges are quite unique – unlike many others in the international community. We have fast growing populations in the region, and fast growing populations present a huge demand on government services and infrastructure. And with the limitations of resources and funding, some of the areas get neglected over time and correctional services has been one of them. But I think that over the past three years since coming to office I am sure many of you here today from Papua New Guinea will see that we have made a determined effort in making sure that we address the challenges faced by our law and justice sector in the country.
We are putting more funding than any other government in the past. As a result you can see a slight improvement, but there are many more challenges ahead of us and we all need to build on these foundations and the small steps that we are taking today.
I know that infrastructure and capacity is always a challenge for many of our government agencies and correctional services is no exception. We have embarked on a review program for correctional services in our country which our good minister has taken to cabinet and cabinet is now looking through that submission. We are going to have an independent review of the entire correctional services program.
It is an independent review aimed at building capacity and increasing training facilities such as this, and I know that this is a training facility that we will be extending to many of the other Pacific Island nations.
As a government we welcome that initiative as we believe that Papua New Guinea has more to offer. I especially hope that many of the other pacific island countries can take up that gesture that we are offering to train their correctional officers here in Papua New Guinea.
We are going to increase funding over the next few years. Building on 2012 and on 2013 and 2014 funding that we have done, from 2015 onwards we are going to increase that funding.
Many of you will note the infrastructure work that we have been investing in as a government. We have invested in infrastructure because it has been declining for many years.
We have also big investment in the Pacific Games that we are hosting next year. Close to 2 billion Kina we are investing in that infrastructure development, and I hope that many of our delegates who are here from the other Pacific Island countries can have an opportunity to visit the work that is going on.
Once our investment in this infrastructure finishes we can focus on many other areas that we need to build as well. That is why you will find that after ten years of closing down of the Bomana Police College – this government has now reopened. We are going to do the same here in the correctional college so that we can increase capacity and have more intake. I know this year you are going to get 150 new recruits coming through and next year we must increase this to 450, and I am advised that you will require K2 million to fund this college alone – next year we will provide that for you.
Our aim is to increase capacity so that we can retire many of our aging personnel who are with us. They have served their country well but the need to retire with dignity. Many of you are aware that the government is working through a pension system. If we cannot look after people who have been serving the country well through many years, there is no point recruiting new personnel. That is why it is important that we look after people who have served us. That is a priority of this government and I want to assure you that over the next three to five years, and beyond that to ten years, Papua New Guinea is changing and we are hoping that Pacific Islands will take advantage of that change with us.
As a country we have got more challenges, but that must not stop us from taking ownership of the challenges we have in each of our organisations.
The prisons sector concept that has been introduced by the minister is an initiative that we in government are supporting. We want our prisoners who are released to be rehabilitated and correctional services must provide that. They must provide skills that can be used outside the prison system and that is why we will support that initiative as soon as it comes through cabinet. We want to make sure that we do not have career offenders coming our of our prison system. We must rehabilitate them to become better citizens in our communities.
I know the challenge of doing that is not going to be easy, but many of you who are here today and many of our officers who are serving throughout the country in correctional services – thank you for the patience and hardship that you have encountered during the years when governments were not supporting you. You now have a government that is focused and is able to ensure that we meet those challenges together and we will do so in the coming years.
Let me not bore you with a long speech! But again let me take this opportunity to welcome all our visitors who have come to Papua New Guinea. Please take the time to enjoy the city. Port Moresby is becoming the fastest growing city in the Pacific. It will be the fifth largest city in the South Pacific region in less than fiver years time after Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland.
We are building a regional centre for the Pacific region and I am certain that you will appreciate the development that is taking place.
I hope you enjoy your stay here. Thank you for joining us. I officially open the 4th Pacific Islands Regional Women’s Correctional Conference.
Congratulations to all participants on this occasion.
God Bless each and every one of you.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill : Appreciate role of women ****
Improving standards of the roles of women in prisons are challenging but through learning from each other’s experience, we could develop a way forward.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill highlighted this at the opening of the 4th Pacific Islands regional women’s correctional conference at Bomana yesterday.
"This conference reminds us of the important role women play in our society, especially in the law and justice sector, and in this profession of correctional services. "The roles that women play are often not widely appreciated by some in government and the community," said Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill.
He said it is because of many constraints and the challenges that we continue to face as a nation and nations within the Pacific region. He believes our challenges are quite unique, unlike many others in the international community, and having a fast growing population at present places a huge demand on government services and infrastructure. "With the limitations of resources and funding, some of the areas get neglected over time and correctional services have been one of them.
The prime minister stated that Papua New Guinea will see that we have made a determined effort in making sure that we address the challenges faced by our law and justice sector in the country. "We are putting more funding than any other government in the past. "As a result you can see a slight improvement, but there are many more challenges ahead of us and we all need to build on these foundations and the small steps that we are taking today.
"Infrastructure and capacity is always a challenge for many of our government agencies and correctional services is no exception. The Government has embarked on a review program for correctional services in our country, which the CS minister has taken to Cabinet and Cabinet is now looking through that submission. "We are going to have an independent review of the entire correctional services program aimed at building capacity and increasing training facilities such as this. And I know that this is a training facility that we will be extending to many of the other Pacific Island nations."
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill met with the Ramu NiCo Executives today ****
These include the Methological Corporation China (MCC) President Assistant, Madam Luo, Ramu NiCo Chairman, Zhao Shimin and the Ramu NiCo Director, Kisakiu Posman. Also accompanying them was the Mining Minister Byron Chan and the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) Managing Director Philip Samar.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill to leave courts to decide on Ombudsman allegations ****
The Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, has expressed disappointment in the manner in which the Ombudsman Commission has referred him to the Public Prosecutor. The referral is based on three allegations:
1. Claims that the National Government did not follow administrative and financial processes in acquiring the UBS loan to purchase shares in Oil Search Limited
2. The sacking of Don Polye as Treasurer
3. Making a statement on EMTV relating to the lack of official consultation on the matter.
The claims follow the decision by the National Government to raise a UBS bank loan that enabled Papua New Guinea to buy back shares in Oil Search that have since increased in value by close to 500 million Kina. “It is disappointing that the Ombudsman Commission has chosen to take this course of action instead of following procedure and tabling its final investigation in Parliament,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
“This is a case of ‘sour grapes’ by former ministers who have been pushing this issue with the Ombudsman. I will see to it that these claims are fully tested through the court system and if there has been undue interference in this process it will be exposed. “This issue is already the subject of judicial review, that was brought about by the former Treasurer, so I am surprised that the Ombudsman is going around the judicial process to refer this matter.
“I have not been given adequate opportunity to respond to the Ombudsman before they sought to refer the matter.” The Prime Minister said he is unperturbed by the claims will continue to focus on managing the national economy and advancing the nation.
“In politics there will always be spoilers who seek to cause trouble for the democratically elected government, but we will not let this distract us from our economic development agenda. “My only concern is that investors are not put-off by ongoing political attacks. PNG has a robust democracy and from time-to-time attempts are made to undermine the government. But the government remains politically strong with more than 90 members in the Parliament and our results over the past three years in advancing the economy speak for themselves.”
The Prime Minister said the facts are clear that the loan was a decision of the Executive Government and was agreed by the National Executive Council based on the advice of senior government officials. There has been full disclosure of the process to acquire the shares in Oil Search and the investment has already delivered results for the people of Papua New Guinea. “Oil Search is by far the largest employer, investor and taxpayer in PNG, and it is right and proper for the nation to invest in this company in the interests of the people,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
**** ‘Officers should retire with dignity’ ****
The Government aims to retire aging officers with dignity, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill says.
He told the Pacific Islands Women in Corrections International Conference in Port Moresby yesterday that these officers had “served their country well and need to retire with dignity”.
“The government is working on a pension system. If we cannot look after people who have been serving the country well through many years, there is no point in recruiting new personnel,” he said.
“That is why it is important that we look after people who have served us. “That is a priority of this government and I want to assure people that PNG is changing and we are hoping that Pacific islands would also take advantage of that change with us.
“As a country, we have got more challenges. But that must not stop us from taking ownership of the challenges we have in each of our organisations.” He said prisons sector concept introduced by the minister (Jim Simatab) was being supported by the Government. It involves the rehabilitation of prison inmates. “It’s not easy but I thank Correctional Service for the patience and hardship that they have encountered during the years,” he said.
**** O’Neill pushes for projects’ completion ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has personally taken a keen interest in pushing for major infrastructure projects to be completed before the 2015 Pacific Games next year.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill yesterday visited the construction phase of the National Convention Centre in Waigani funded as a gift from the Government of China at the cost of around $US30 million (K74.9 million).
The Prime Minister was accompanied by China’s Ambassador to PNG Mr Li Ruiyou, NCD Governor Powes Parkop and Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko to the facility under construction near the Melanesian cultural village at Waigani in the nation’s capital.
The project is for international conference meetings with a total sitting capacity of 1200 comprising a 700 seat conference hall, two medium and six small conference rooms and office space for leaders to use during conferences. Ambassador Ruiyou said the project is a friendship between China and PNG and the company, China Jiangxi Corporation for Inter national Economic and Technical Cooperation is working very hard to complete the project on time and good quality.
The Chinese also informed the Prime Minister that the project was delayed for over eight-months due to some law and order issues at the project site. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill, who has visited major projects construction around the country, including the Lae roads and port development and the Pacific Games infrastructure, said the Convention Centre was one of the many major projects currently underway in the country. "This is one of the iconic projects and one of the big infrastructure projects under construction in the country,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
"Our aim is to get all roads and major infrastructure projects completed before the Pacific Games in 2015.” He appealed to the community to support such vital major infrastructure developments taking place around the country.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said law and order issues has delayed the projects for some time and appeal to everyone to assist in cooperating to get the projects completed on time to showcase the international visitors to the Pacific Games and APEC meeting in 2018.. CJC country manager Johnny Huang said the original design cost was around USD20 million but with some additional design modification and additional works will run up to around $US30 million funding from the China aid and grant gifted to PNG. "There were some delay for some nine months but we expect to complete construction by September next year but we are doing our very best to complete the project as soon as possible and we are working even night shift as well," Mr Huang said.
**** Government's free education trial to benefit provincial schools ****
The commodity component of the National Government’s tuition fee free education policy would be launched and trialed in the Southern Highlands province this Thursday at the Kumin Primary School in Mendi, according to a source.
General Manager of Treid Pacific Wilson David said the Southern Highlands would be the first province in the country bedsides the Central province to rollout the National government’s free tuition fee education in the country. Treid Pacific is the company contracted by the National Government to deliver commodity component of the free education policy throughout PNG.
Mr David said the company would distribute 7 containers of school materials in Mendi this Thursday while materials for remote schools would be airlifted. He said the program would be a sustainable one as the delivery of the supplies would be an ongoing programs. David said the Education Minister Nick Kuman would officially launch the program while many other members of parliament from the province are expected to attend the program.
Kumin Primary school principal Roman Panga said preparations are underway as the delivery of the cash component would be timely when the Southern Highlands provincial government under the leadership of Governor Powi has delivered school uniforms to students in the province. Governor Powi said the launching would be timely as his province was going through reformation in the education sector under his leadership after performing badly over the years.
**** Israel, PNG to maintain bilateral relations ****
Training to enhance crop production with a focus on building the skills of the nation’s youth continue to be key partnership activities for Papua New Guinea and Israel.
These bilateral issues were among topics of discussion when Israel’s Ambassador-designate to Papua New Guinea Shmuel Ben-Shmuel, who presented his letter of introduction to the Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill last week.
The Prime Minister welcomed the Ambassador and expressed his intention to see Papua New Guinea’s relationship with Israel continue to grow in areas of mutual interest. "Papua New Guinea has a strong and meaningful friendship with Israel,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said following the meeting. "We are particularly appreciative of the support and advice that Israel is providing as we develop our national service program.
"The skills gained through this program will enable our children to earn a better living and make an even greater contribution to nation building. "This training is particularly relevant to building youth capabilities in agriculture as well as other trade skills.” He said Israeli training and expertise relating to agriculture is particularly important for Papua New Guinea.
"In the area of agricultural, Israeli farmers are amongst the best in the world at maximising crop yield despite facing pressures such as poor water availability,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said. "With predictions of reduced rainfall in Papua New Guinea this year, learning from Israeli farming experience is very important for our agricultural sector.” A senior delegation of Government officials and business people, led by the Prime Minister, visited Israel in October 2013. During this visit a declaration of cooperation was signed between the two governments.
**** PNG plans to export fresh fruits ****
Papua New Guinea’s plans to be one of the world’s exporters of high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables will soon come to reality once an agreement is in place. PNG is now looking at expanding its trade and investment links with the Philippines specifically targeting the opportunities in expanding trade in the commercial fruit industry so PNG can be one of the exporters of high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables.
Trade Minister Richard Maru on behalf of the Government has already identified one of Asia’s largest producers and marketers of high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables – Dole Asia – to come to PNG for a feasibility study on an area in Madang which he announced early this month.
In a statement from the Philippines, the Phillipine Government’s Trade Secretary, Gregory Domingo, the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. said Mr Maru has noted opportunities in expanding trade in the commercial fruit industry. There is potential seen to expand trade in the commercial fruit industry with the Philippines amid growing domestic demand in PNG. Early this month Mr Maru announced that an area in Madang has already been identified for a major fresh fruits and vegetables farm and the Government was already talking to specific suppliers – it has been identified PNG is looking to the Philippines.
"PNG does not have any large scale commercial fruit farms to supply the domestic market and vast potential export markets within the region," Maru said in the statement. Maru said that PNG is keen to work particularly with Dole Asia to complete a feasibility study into establishing a major commercial fruit business in PNG under a joint venture of the government and other shareholders. Dole Asia is a subsidiary of Dole Asia Holdings, one of Asia’s largest producers and marketers of high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables.
"The demand for fruits grown for the local market and overseas market is very, very high," Mr Maru said in a separate letter to Johann Albano, Dole Asia vice president.
**** Govt approves policy ****
The national Government has approved the climate compatible development management last week.
Minister for Environment and Climate Change John Pundari said last week that he was pleased to have the policy in place as the actions on climate change are integral to a robust and resilient economy. "This is a new challenge to PNG and the government is serious about this by taking a step in formulating this climate compatible development management policy," Mr Pundari said.
"The new Policy sets that stage in which we strive to resolve this development paradox and to manage the multiple risks brought on by climate change.” The policy takes the full responsibilities in addressing the issues of climate change such as sea-level rise, landslips and flooding.
It also provides innovative and creative solutions to address development problems such as illegal logging, traffic congestions, water shortage, power disruptions and furthermore, to purse co-benefit initiatives. The new climate change policy suggests innovation, integration and collaboration at all levels of government, business and communities.
The minister said that the centre piece of the climate change policy is to setup a clear and distinct means whereby into the national climate change and green growth trust fund.
"I welcome significant donors to be on the fund board to subject it to strong financial safeguards and promote confidence," he said. "Provincial climate change committees will drive and fund implementation at the community level while the board will provide strategic oversight and governance," he added.
Mr Pundari said this is the fund structure that all development partners and climate financers will follow for PNG while the Government has committed substantial financing as our country specific contribution. "I therefore strongly urge a shift in the mindset of actors in the government, private sector, non-profit sector and landowners, from short to long terms, from over exploitation to sustainable use and from seeing the natural environment as a constraint to seeing it as an enabler."
**** Education policies to roll out ****
The Department of Education is ready and will start rolling out several major government policies in the country, acting Education Secretary Eliakim Apelis said.
Speaking at the launching of the tuition fee free education, commodity component trial in Southern Highlands last week, Mr Apelis said his officers were working hard to implement major transformational policies in the country that would see the standard and quality of education in the country lifted to another level.
He said the first task for the department was to implement the standard based curriculum to schools throughout the country starting next year after the government abolishes the outcome based education (OBE) curriculum.
"My department is working hard and by 2015 the new standard based curriculum will be implemented by schools throughout the country," he said. Mr Apelis said the department has also been implementing the tuition fee free education policy for the last two years and was implementing the second part of it, the delivery of the commodity component through the pubic private partnership (PPP).
He said the other major challenge is the implementation of the construction of two double classrooms and the two teachers’ houses starting next year over the next five years. He said the department has also been challenged to implement the e-learning program for schools throughout the country where all schools will be hooked up to the internet for their learning.
Mr Apelis said his departments has been challenged by well qualified leaders. He said his officers are now busy with the framing of the department budget for 2015 which should be realistic and focused on improving the standard and quality of education in the country.
**** Zurenuoc: Work in progress to set up district authorities ****
Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc says work is continuing to progress the establishment of district development authorities. Sir Manasupe said Parliament has passed an amendment to the Organic Law on Provincial Government and Local Level Governments to replace the Joint District Planning and Budget Priorities Committee with a new statutory authority, a district development authority.
He said the details of how this will operate will be contained in an ordinary Act of Parliament. "Consultation on the new ordinary Act is now underway," Sir Manasupe said.
"I have consulted with a number of Departments here in Port Moresby. However, I really wanted to speak to the people who will be responsible for implementing this initiative, the district administrators and provincial administrators.” "Last week I went to Lae and met with the district administrators from Lae, Markham, Bulolo, Nawae and Huon Gulf. I also met with members of the provincial administration. We had really good discussions with district administrators identifying parts of the proposal that required more fine tuning."
"I am very grateful for assistance from the officers in Morobe. These officers had operated development authorities in the province prior to 1995. "Those authorities were highly successful and saw a great deal of development at the district level."
He said he plans to conduct further consultation with district administrators in the Highlands and Islands regions. "It is important to consult closely with district administrators. There are many hardworking knowledgeable district administrators out there in rural locations," he said.
"District ddministrators know their own district and can provide valuable advice on the implementation of the District Development Authority.” "I can also assure everyone that governors will not be overlooked, they too are an important part of the district development authority.
"The Prime Minister will be meeting with governors in the coming weeks giving them with an opportunity to better understand the proposal and to provide their input. "At this stage, it is expected that District Development Authorities will be operational in January 2015, ready for the start of the financial year."
**** PM wants probe into Namah’s poll spending ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has called on responsible authorities to investigate the K50 million spent on the 2012 General Elections by PNG Party and Opposition Leader Belden Namah.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill raised concerns in relation to accountability on the part of the Leader of the Opposition who claimed that he spent K50 million helping members of parliament be elected. He was responding to reports yesterday about Namah claiming that he had spent well over K50 million in campaigning for 91 candidates for PNG Party in the 2012 general elections.
"In respect of the K50 million he says that he spent helping members of parliament get elected, I am hoping that a proper authorities like the Ombudsman Commission should investigate where did he get that K50 million," said Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill.
"He did not have a substantial business until very recently. He did not have long number of years in business where he can have that kind of funds available to him so he can disperse it as carelessly and freely as he has done. "We want to know whether he has declared all of this income, whether he has paid taxes for this income that he has been out there distributing around the country."
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said regardless of the amount of money the Opposition Leader claimed to have spent, the people of Papua New Guinea proved that they will not be misled. "Despite spending record amounts of money the people of Papua New Guinea have spoken, they returned him and his party with only six members," the Prime Minister said. "That is a clear rejection to me. I hope he understands that the people have spoken."
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill instead suggested that the Opposition Leader should work with the Government to strengthen national policy instead of engaging with people outside the parliament to destabilise the government. "He should work with the government that gave the mandate to the PNC party to lead this country for the next five years," the Prime Minister said. "They will judge us in 2017. So the more destabilising activities that he is trying, including using government agencies to try and target myself and other leaders in government, it is not going to work."
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill: Funds not tied to politics ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill says there is no truth in the delay in dispersing of funds to all Members of Parliament as claimed by Opposition Leaders Belden Namah and Sam Basil.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said this yesterday when responding to reports from Mr Namah that Opposition MPs were leaving because of the delay in the District Services Improvement Program funds by the Government. "It is about time both leaders come out and give some credit to the Government for this very innovative intervention policy now fully implemented throughout the country. It is important that leaders give credit where it is due,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said yesterday.
"There is no truth in the allegations by Mr Namah and Mr Basil because all funds that are to be dispersed to all provinces throughout the country are being dispersed on a timely manner, subject to of course availability of the funding and cash flows of Government. These are normal daily routines that we need to manage," he said.
"But as far as I am aware – all funds that are due to various districts throughout the country regardless of where Members of Parliament sit will continue to be dispersed, now these funds are earmarked for key sectors that are providing services to our people particularly health and education and it is aimed at serving people in the remotest parts of the country and there is no time to play politics and we do not condone that kind of behavior.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill also said the defecting of MPs from the Opposition to the Government was because of the poor leadership provided by Mr Namah. "Now the Opposition members joining Government is not related to this matter at all.
"They are joining Government because of credible policies that are now working in the country. "They believe in the Government’s programs, they believe that we are doing the right thing by serving our country well, for the first time in 40 years they can see changes happening, delivery of basic health and education being rolled out to all parts of the country, law and order, the crime rates are coming down, investor confidence is up, first time funding for all the remote districts are being delivered on a timely basis, these are government interventions that are working."
**** Farewell call by Japan’s Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, H.E. Hirohahu Iwasaki ****
The Prime Minister, Hon Peter O’Neill CMG MP, wished H.E. Hirohahu Iwasaki well for the successful completion of his appointment as Ambassador of Japan to Papua New Guinea.
The Prime Minister further expressed gratitude to the Ambassador for his efforts strengthening bilateral relations noting that “Cooperation between the two countries at all levels has been consolidated and enhanced.”
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill further noted the success of the visit to Papua New Guinea by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in July 2014 that has elevated and strengthened bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade and investment. Outcomes from the visit by Japan’s Prime Minister included:
- The successful launching of the PNG-Japan Joint Committee on IPPA.
- The announcement of the 20 Billion Yen (2 billion Kina) Overseas Development Assistance package for PNG over a period of three years for support in various economic development initiatives and projects around the nation.
“On behalf of the people and Government of Papua New Guinea, and on my own behalf, I would like to express best wishes to you and your family as you depart our shores to return home,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said at the conclusion of his meeting with the Ambassador.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill Applauds Musau Community ****
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has applauded the Musau Community of New Ireland Province, for effectively preserving the work of elders, who have inspired others to impart important messages to our younger generations. He made these remarks, early this week, during the celebration and promotion of the Musau Island Vuku Kinari Hymn Book at the Gateway Hotel in Port Moresby.
“I am privileged to be here, as Musau, although a small island community, has ‘punched above its weight’. “The Musau Community certainly has influenced a lot of Papua New Guineans throughout the country, in terms of spreading Christianity alongside our early missionaries,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
He said their work as local missionaries up in the Highlands as well as other parts of the country, sharing the Gospel has transformed many of our communities throughout the country. “This occasion is, of course, quite unique in the country, because for the first time, a hymn book has been officially launched for a particular language in our country. I, therefore, congratulate those who have been involved in the process,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
He said though it has taken years to complete this book, it is important that we preserve the knowledge for our future generations. “For many of us who have emerged from rural backgrounds, we clearly understand the importance of preserving these knowledge.
“Our country, people and communities have preserved our history and culture mainly through storytelling and singing, hence, it is very appropriate that we celebrate and promote our good Lord’s word in the launching of this book,” the Prime Minister said. “PNG is changing more so than ever before and over the next years it will change at an even faster degree.
“Next year our country is expected to grow at a rate of 20 per cent faster than any other country in the world. Thus, as the government focuses on our key priorities like education, we must not forget our culture and heritage and through preservations like these, we are able to do so. “Because sometimes it is easy to forget our culture and history, we think that alternatives are better. We must also appreciate that without our past there can be no future,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
He also reiterated that with PNG’s fast changing rate, the challenges are more so apparent due to the government making profound transformation and with the development assistance of Churches in our communities, it only indicates that we live together in the same communities, hence we must also work together. Also present at the celebration and promotion of the Vuku Kinari hymn book was the Minister for State Enterprise and Member for Kavieng, Ben Micah, who also comes from Musau Island.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter outlines MDG gains to caucus ****
There has been considerable improvement in PNG’s efforts to achieving its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets in the last three years, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said yesterday.
With the target date being 2015, PNG may have left it till late, but there was cause for Papua New Guineans to be very optimistic about the future, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said. He said visiting UNDP Regional Director for Asia and Pacific Haoling Zu was impressed with PNG’s efforts in education, health, infrastructure and good governance.
“We have made great stride in the last three years as a result of the policies our government has introduced, and the programs we are implementing now,” the Prime Minister told a party caucus meeting last night. “There are 2 million children in school now (80% enrolment) as a result of our free education policy; there are more mothers and children getting access to health care as a result of our free health care policy; our infrastructure development program is improving business environment and creating opportunities; our national anti corruption strategy on track with legislations to enable ICAC to be enacted later this year,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the government will work closely with UNDP and other relevant organizations to ensure outstanding MDG programs will be carried over to the post 2015 successor initiative.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill was addressing a caucus meeting of the People’s National Congress party last night in Port Moresby. The party held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the 2015 Budget framework, its focus on key sectors, and the success of DSIP and PSIP in the districts and provinces. Members welcomed the Prime Minister’s address, and urged that the budget focus on key sectors in education, health, law and order and infrastructure continue.
**** POM to Lae road begins ****
Work has begun on the multi-million kina road - the Trans-island highway - linking Port Moresby to Lae.
Motorists can travel directly to Lae from Port Moresby through Kerema, Malalaua, Gulf, up to Kaintiba in the hinterland bordering Morobe and Eastern Highlands, and on to Menyamya in Morobe. It then links up with the Bulolo Highway on to Lae.
Works Minister Francis Awesa and Works secretary David Wereh confirmed in interviews with The National yesterday that work began in March on the 20-km portion from Malalaua to Kaintiba.
It will bring much needed services to the remote Anga people in the mountains of Gulf, Morobe and Eastern Highlands.
The highway is expected to go through some rough and rugged terrain. The department views the stretch from Malalaua in Gulf to Menyamya in Morobe as the biggest obstacle.
“One of the important portions is the one from Malalaua to Kaintiba, and on to Menyamya and Aseki, eventually linking up with the Wau-Bulolo Highway,” he said. “We’ve done more than 20km so far to reach the top of the mountain at Kaintiba.
“We’re very happy as this is the first time that people in the mountains of Kaintiba will be connected to better land transport that will enable them to bring their coffee, agricultural produce, as well as have access to better service delivery. From there, we’ll progress to the other side (Menyamya).”
He said K10 million had been allocated this year while more funding would be expected in the 2015 budget.
Awesa said the earliest people could be driving from Lae to Port Moresby was within two years on a pilot track using four-wheel-drive vehicles initially. The other obstacle is to build a bypass over the constantly-flooded Kumalu River along the main Bulolo Highway. “Our priority is to get that Kumalu bypass done first so that there is access to Wau and Bulolo,” Awesa said. “Our priority is that one, and then later on, next year, we’ll allocate money for a pilot track for four-wheel drives and eventually do the major highway.”
**** Govt rolls out district housing program ****
The National Government rolled out its ambitious housing program yesterday, announcing K1 million for the first 41 districts in the country. To compliment this initiative, MPs and governors will also contribute K500,000 each from their District Services Improvement Program (DSIP) and Provincial Service Improvement Program (PSIP) funds.
This K41 million from the national Government and the K1 million from the MPs and governors will go towards building institutional housing in the districts.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill announced this yesterday, saying budget allocations for the next lot of 48 districts will also be addressed before the end of the year.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said this at a small but significant ceremony where he handed over the certificate of agreement signed by the Department of Lands and Physical Planning and National Planning for the handover of a portion of land at Four Mile to the ministerial committee on affordable land and housing program.
"Today the National Planning Department will roll out to the first 41 districts in the country, K1 million each out of the institutional housing for the districts,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said. "Many of the public servants who are posted out there are not able to perform their duties because of lack of accommodation.
"So with the national Government’s contribution of K1 million, all local Members through the DSIP and the governors through the PSIP are putting another K1 million, (K500,000 each). "That should at least give us 10 houses per district per year. "So if we consistently do that over the term of this parliament, I think over the next three years we can, including this year, we can have 40 houses in each individual district."
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill clarifies economic report ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has called on the Post-Courier to be more careful in reporting economic data after the newspaper reported yesterday that the Government had built up a deficit of close to K400 million.
The article was based on a report titled "New light on Papua New Guinea’s fiscal frailty" by the Vanuatu-based Pacific Institute of Public Policy, which it published after doing an analysis of the PNG Treasury Department’s 2014 Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook Report.
Based on the institute’s report, this newspaper reported that the national budget deficit for this year was expected to grow by up to K400 million. However, the institute advised yesterday that the figure was inaccurate and the Treasury Department’s budget deficit estimate for 2014 was K2,353 million as compared to K2,672.4 million which the department is now expecting.
But Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said both figures were inaccurate and the Government will be adjusting its 2014 forecast whilst maintaining that there is discipline and there is no increase in the budget deficit.
"First this think-tank trying to tell the world that there is an increase in the budget deficit, and second, their figures are simply wrong in any case. In due course there will be adjustments to the 2014 forecast based on updated reporting. There has been some softening in the revenue position, while expenditure is actively reviewed to maintain overall budget targets," he said in a statement last night.
"This Government has maintained budget discipline and there is no reason to suggest an increase in the deficit. The Government always planned for a deficit budget this year ahead of accelerated economic growth for the year 2015. This is responsible economic management in that surpluses and deficits, employed at appropriate times, are important tools to grow the economy."
The Prime Minister described the article published yesterday as "misleading reporting" and said if not corrected could impact on investor and business confidence.
"Inaccurate economic reporting can harm business and cost jobs. This morning’s news needs to be retracted and clarified on the front page in the next edition of Post-Courier and not hidden in the back pages," he said.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill Government delivering on services to PNG ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill yesterday defended his Government’s track record in delivering services into the districts, saying funds were finally getting into rural communities after 40 years.
Speaking at the commissioning of an upgraded Kaugere Health Centre in Port Moresby, the Prime Minister told dignitaries from the private sector, government agencies and NGOs that the new facility is an example of a public-private partnership initiative.
"Today is an important occasion not only for Kaugere, but for Papua New Guinea. It is an example of private, church and government partnership,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
"We are able to achieve great things like this, the opening of the health centre at Kaugere," he said while emphasising that the country was now seeing the benefits of a public-private partnership.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said "miracles" like the new health centre is happening throughout the country, where people are for the first time seeing many developments through buildings and the upgrading of roads, schools and health facilities.
Government funds have for years been centralised in Waigani, he said but the current Government has decided to release funding to the districts despite criticism that the money would be misused.
"For 40 years, there were no such funds reaching the communities. But for two years now, these funds are reaching the communities,’’ he said.
The Prime Minister also urged people not to jump to conclusions driven by critics of his Government but to make their own judgments based on its performance in terms of delivering services.
He also pointed out that the developments taking place now is a result of the Government managing funds well and not because of the LNG project as there are no funds coming from the project yet. "There is no new money. We are managing existing funds,’’ he said.
There are more children going to school now than in previous years due to his Government’s Tuition Fee Free Policy subsidy and more people accessing health services thanks to its Free Primary Health Care Policy as well as subsidised specialised health care.
"Politics will be there but we must give credit where it is due. Port Moresby is moving because of good leadership and of government partnerships in the Government. We are committed to doing better.’’ He said there is a lot of work to do yet, including issues facing PNG but assured that PNG’s economy is predicted to do better next year with its GDP expected to rise higher than many other countries.
**** Foreign service training back ****
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Rimbink Pato has welcomed the re-starting of the foreign service training in the Department of Foreign Affairs, with the support of New Zealand.
An agreement to this effect was signed by the chief executive officer of the New Zealand Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade, John Allen, the Vice-Chancellor of the Victoria University of Wellington, Professor Grant Guildford, and the acting Secretary for Foreign Affairs William Dihm in Wellington last Friday. PNG’s acting High Commissioner to New Zealand Morea Veratau also attended with senior officials from all the organisations involved.
Minister Pato said the first group of 31 trainees will leave for New Zealand later this month. "Consistent with a whole-of-government approach in growing Papua New Guinea’s connections in a globalising world, the group will include staff from the Department of Foreign Affairs as well as other government agencies," Minister Pato said.
"These include the Department of the Prime Minister and National Executive Council, and the Immigration and Citizenship service.” He said staff from other departments are expected to be involved in future. "The training program has been agreed follow a series of studies and discussions with experienced officials from the New Zealand Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the School of Government at Victoria University, Wellington," he said.
"The first module will deal with the important topic of diplomatic communications. Other modules dealing with different aspects of Foreign service work will follow after. They will build on induction and bridging courses provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs to help trainees prepare for the New Zealand-supported program."
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill happy with MDG progress ****
There has been considerable improvement in PNG’s efforts to achieving its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets in the last three years, says Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said with the target date being 2015, PNG may have left it till late, but there was cause for Papua New Guineans to be very optimistic about the future.
He said visiting UNDP regional director for Asia and Pacific Haoling Zu was impressed with PNG’s efforts in education, health, infrastructure and good governance. "We have made great stride in the last three years as a result of the policies our government has introduced, and the programs we are implementing now," the Prime Minister said at the PNC party caucus meeting on Tuesday night.
"There are 2 million children in school now (80% enrolment) as a result of our free education policy; there are more mothers and children getting access to health care as a result of our free health care policy; our infrastructure development program is improving business environment and creating opportunities; our national anti corruption strategy on track with legislations to enable ICAC to be enacted later this year," he said.
The Prime Minister said the government will work closely with UNDP and other relevant organisations to ensure outstanding MDG programs will be carried over to the post 2015 successor initiative.
Prime Minister Hon. O’Neill was addressing a caucus meeting of the People’s National Congress party in Port Moresby. The party held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the 2015 Budget framework, its focus on key sectors, and the success of DSIP and PSIP in the districts and provinces.
Members welcomed the Prime Minister’s address, and urged that the budget focus on key sectors in education, health, law and order and infrastructure continue. They also urged that the DSIP and PSIP be maintained because they fund development projects in districts and rural areas which contribute directly to improvement to human development indicators.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill Congratulates New PNG World Champions ****
The Prime Minister has congratulated the nation’s newest world champions, the Papua New Guinea Mosquitos AFL (Australian Football League) team. The Mozzies beat Ireland in the final of the AFL International Cup to claim the title for Papua New Guinea.
“Congratulations to our new world champions, the Papua New Guinea Mosquitos,” the Prime Minister, Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, said following hearing the news from Melbourne.
“Your opponents were gallant and put up a tough contest, but the Mozzies maintained calm and won the game. “This is an outstanding achievement and every player and official of the team out on the field, and the support team including the Minister for Sport, Hon Justin Tkatchenko MP, deserve full credit for their dedication and determination.
“AFL has a loyal and committed following in Papua New Guinea, many of whom will be celebrating this weekend.” The Prime Minister said he hoped that the new world champions would set an example for many people.
“You have served our nation proud and demonstrated to our youth that when you set your mind to it and work as a team, you can reach any goal and overcome any challenge. “Our nation stands proud of every citizen who represents Papua New Guinea in their field whether this be sports, science, business and many other pursuits. “Today we congratulate the Papua New Guinea Mosquitos and look forward to your return home. Well done boys!”
**** Government to maintain church partnership ****
The National Government will continue to strengthen their partnership with churches in providing health and education services in Papua New Guinea. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said the opening of the new Kaugere Health Centre is a very good example of the partnership.
In his short speech Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the current partnership is achieving greater things for PNG. He said government in the past having been providing lease services through church government partnership where nothing has come of it.
“And our people have suffered for many years as a result of the declining services,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill told the people of Kaugere on Thursday. Present to welcome the Prime Minister was NCD Governor Powes Parkop and Moresby-South MP Justin Tkatchenko – Minister for Sports, 2015 Pacific Games and National Events.
He said secondly government funding that we are giving down to the districts and the provinces are now starting to work. “Miracles like this that we are now witnessing today is happening all across the country where health centres are being renovated, refurbished and built again.
“Schools are been rebuilt throughout the country, roads are being redone throughout the country. “That is because for the first time government funds are reaching these communities throughout the country,” said the Prime Minister.
He said much these funds in the last 40 years budgets have never reached these communities and districts. However the current government in the last two years are able to make sure that funds over K2 billion reach these communities.
NCD Governor Powes Parkop acknowledged and commended his Moresby-South MP Justin Tkatchenko for the opening of the health centre. He said basic services and developments are now reaching communities in Moresby-South because of Minister Tkatchenko visions and foresight.
Governor Parkop also credited the Prime Minister for making sure the Provincial Support Improvement Programme (PSIP) and District Support Improvement Programme (DSIP) funds were made available for MP’s and Governors to access. He said the opening of health centres in the country is the result of PSIP and DSIP working for the people.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill: Economy to pick up, critics have no answers ****
Papua New Guinea’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will rise by 2015, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill says. Next year, the economy will pick up close to 20 percent increase in economy growth making it the fastest of any country in the world. The economy growth in 2015 will provide many opportunities to ordinary Papua New Guineans.
Speaking at the opening of new Kaugere Health Centre last Thursday Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said talks of our economy declining are just mere politics and rubbish. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said some of the MPs who are now criticising his government’s economy policies are people who have no answers to solve the problems of our country.
"Some of them were part of the government in the past and they have done nothing with the management of our economy," the Prime Minister said. "They have done nothing to invest in infrastructures, health and education and law and order in the past.
"Too many sweet talks but the outcome is nothing,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said. He said many of the developments happening in our country through the government do not mean that they have surplus money. "It does not mean that we have opened new gold, copper mines and even the multi-billion Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project money is not here yet, it will be in 2015. "But we are managing what we have currently by spending and managing the funds wisely.
"That’s the main reason there is developments happening in our country in education, health and infrastructures," said Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill. He said two years ago less than one million kids attended school, however now we have two million children in school because of good government policies. "In addition the free healthcare and education policies and the partnership with our churches are starting to work effectively.” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said in many parts of our country people’s lives are being saved because they are able to receive better medical services and the communities are able to go to the hospitals through the government’s free health policy.
"I know politics will still be here, but we must give credits to where it’s due to acknowledge the good work done by our MPs and governors. "We must acknowledge and support them and this is why I am here with Moresby-South MP Justin Tkatchenko and NCD Governor Powes Parkop. "Port Moresby is developing because of good strong leadership and the partnership they are providing."
**** Dion: Rural areas seeing developments ****
Apart from major infrastructure developments in the nation’s capital, there are also visible positive progress of infrastructure investment in provinces, districts and local level governments.
Deputy Prime Minister and Inter Government Relations Minister Leo Dion highlighted the government’s commitment in an official address to the Milne Bay Provincial Assembly last week during a ministerial visit to the province.
He said the government was fully committed to investing heavily in infrastructure developments that would have trickle-down effects on service delivery. That was why the government was investing in improving the image of the police force, improving existing police and army barracks around the country and at the same time investing in new accommodation for members of the police force, he said.
"We are also investing in the improvement in our correctional institutions and under the judicial services, investing in new court room buildings and facilities in province centres, districts and even local level governments.
"We have also included Peace Officers and Village Court Magistrates under the government payroll for the first time commencing this year," Mr Dion said.
**** Concluding Address by Hon. Peter O’Neill, CMG MP Special Prayer Luncheon, State Function Room, National Parliament, 26 August 2014 ****
Thank you master of ceremonies.
Firstly, let me think the Speaker of the National Parliament, Mr Theo Zurenuoc, our Deputy Prime Minister, Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, our distinguished Pastors and all the Members of their Congregations, all the Heads of the diplomatic missions, CEOs statutory bodies Secretaries of many of the Government Departments.
Thank you very much for joining us today on this very special occasion of the calendar of Papua New Guinea. Today we are here to praise and knowledge and honour our good Lord Jesus Christ, and the work that he continues to do and look after in our country, and of course continue to give us many blessings that this country has been fortunate to have.
On the 26th August 2007, our Nation’s Founding Father, Sir Michael Somare, the then Prime Minister signed a covenant with our Government for this day on which we give acknowledgement to our good Lord.
One of the first things we did when we took Government in 2011 - the first document I signed was declaring this as the day on which we came to signify and honor our Lord.
So for our Government it goes without saying, that we would like to continue to practice what we have stated publicly to our people and that is that we thank our good Lord for the essential goodness that is provided for Papua New Guinea. Despite many different, many challenges and of course many failings, we have to be build a better future for our country. Today with our many millions of Christians in this country we are building the future together.
We need to continue to work together in making sure that we have a genuine achievement of national pride and unity, and I think the essential goodness of our communities and our people and our nation offers the greatest hope for our country.
I know that Papua New Guinea has many blessings. Blessed with very good people, our land has been blessed and is very fertile, and our seas and our resources - and of course our Christian churches continue to share many of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the churches.
We are blessed with the work that churches do throughout the country in terms of the provision of education for our kids, the provision of healthcare to our sick, and of course building capacity and provision of counseling to many of our communities throughout the country.
As we enter the 40th anniversary year of the independence of our country, we need to come together like this. When we sat in parliament three months back, the idea about meeting together came about when a few of the Pastors came through and had lunch with me here in this state Function Room.
The idea is that we should get together, the leaders of Parliament the leaders of church, bring our community together to honour this day. So I advisee the Leader of Government business, sitting there to make this day 26 without thinking that every just declared this is a public holiday.
In that God’s timing in his intervention we were able to make this day today. I think this is going to become a permanent fixture in our calendar. It is good Parliament also comes in during session to honour the blessings of the good Lord is provided. To acknowledged the good work of many Christians throughout the country and in particular the churches. The churches carry out many thankless tasks that the government cannot provide, and I think it’s important that we continue to build on that work and we appreciate work of many of you Leaders here today.
I want to say thank you on behalf of our Government and our people for the guidance that the good work that you are continuing to provide throughout the country. Is starting to make sure that we build a good society, a good country for our future generations.
The partnership that our government has embarked on with the churches is a genuine one. For the first time in over 30 years we are now able to directly fund the work of the churches throughout the country. Many of you know the examples of that – we are now putting church workers on the pay of the Government.
We are providing direct funding to the churches in support of the work that they are doing. Our Government will continue to provide for that, will continue to support that. We look forward to the delivery of quality basic services to people. Many of you in this room know very well of the neglect of the past. There is not one person or one government to blame, it is incumbent upon all of us to work together and make sure that the we correct the mistakes of the past together.
I think at times like this, gatherings like today, it is time to reflect on the mistakes and time to forgive one another. We will continue to build a nation that we will all be proud for our children to inherit from us as we overcome challenges.
I know when Pastor Wilson is talking about the flooding, when Joshua was trying to leave his people across the river Jordan, I know that many of you know also that we have had so much flooding in recent weeks and months. Again I would think each and every one of you for the prayers and the support that you have extended to our government during this time. Thank you very much. But these challenges are not new and these challenges will not be the last.
They will also continue to be there as long as we have differences of opinion and differences of views about how we move our country forward. But many of us know about challenges, we have faced challenges throughout our life. For me in particular I have had challenges very early in life, even before I was born when my mother was a very young pregnant woman even considering abortion - so you know that you started beating the challenges very early is even before you were born.
Challenges and going out in a very remote area where Pastor Charles and I come from, trying to get an education, trying to survive in a very difficult environment. Those challenges that they all face and will continue to face in the years that come.
So, I think it is important in the calendar of the nation that we must have a day like today where we repent and of course we honour and praise our good Lord.
I am certain that with your prayers, and with your guidance that this nation is destined for greater things.
Many times we have been talked down, made to feel that we are incapable, to feel inferior. But I can tell you that Papua New Guinea is now standing at the cusp of a brighter future.
As we enter the 40th year of independence – we are going to build a new chapter and the words that the Pastor said earlier about the timing of developmental resources like the LNG - these are the resources that have been developed in the past as well, not only LNG but mining.
The neglect and the mistakes that we made in managing those - we must not repeat. That is why it is important that we work with government in establishing the legislative framework around it so that we can secure the future revenues of these projects so that the can benefit all our generations.
It has been done before in many examples around the world, and we're learning from that. We are learning for that and establishing protection mechanisms around, and I think with those revenues if we invest in the right sectors we can build a society that we all want.
This government has done so - our investment in health and investment in education, our investment in law and order, our investments that we are making in infrastructure as we speak today. They are starting to produce results even though we have not yet completed the work – even if is just the beginning of much of that work.
I was very pleased to see report from the head of the UNDP the other day where he said - our government and our country has made significant progress in the last two to three years because of good policies.
And we must not stop there, there are more kids now attending schools than ever before, the more people getting better healthcare than ever before, major crime rates are dropping in the country, major infrastructure as we speak today is being attended to - but will not do not resolve these issues overnight.
We will do it together over time. The next 5 to 10 years is very crucial for this nation. Despite the many differences that we may have, I think it’s better for the agenda of the nation we must be rain together. So that is why today I want to announce to you, every year as long as we are in government, we will have a joint national public holiday and lunch like this together with the session of Parliament so that it gives us a time to reflect.
Once again let me take some today to thank the speaker for kindly hosting this. Thank you for the good work at the speaker is doing a parliament, leadership that is providing. Many of you know that governments never operate like that before. We operate with humility for the nation.
Thank you and God Bless.
**** Court stops PNGSDP from drawing money ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has welcomed a ruling by a Singapore Court judge stopping the PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP) from drawing money from the long term fund to pay for its operational expenditure. The court also directed the PNGSDP to make available its accounts for the State to examine in two weeks.
"The long term fund is meant to be drawn down for the development of Western Province and its people. These funds are not there to be drawn down to pay for the upkeep of a few individuals," the Prime Minister said in a statement yesterday. "As a Government, we have said all along that PNGSDP is not above the law and must play by the rules. This decision by the court in Singapore confirms our position."
The judge handed down the decision on Monday in the presence of Attorney General Ano Pala, who flew to Singapore to attend the proceedings. The State had gone to court after Sir Mekere Morauta amended the PNGSDP Memorandum of Articles in an attempt to remove Government representations on the Board of PNGSDP. Sir Mekere’s move was seen as illegal and an attempt to shield his board from transparency and accountability.
The court ruled that PNGSDP and its officers be restrained from effecting any changes to its Memorandum and Articles and to the composition of its Board of Directors until the disposal of the main action (in Suit No. 795 of 2014) or until further order.
It also ruled that PNGSDP furnish the State with copies of PNGSDP’s management accounts, copies of the reports given by its portfolio managers, consolidated statement of assets and liabilities, copies of the management accounts, reports and consolidated statement for the period ending 30 September 2014 to be provided by 17 October 2014.
The court also ordered PNGSDP that, until the hearing of the State’s application for leave to appeal, it is restrained from disposing of the assets in its long term fund, save to the extent that such disposals are effected by any fund manager in the normal course and for the purpose of managing the assets of the fund.
The judge also indicated to PNGSDP that it should not take more than two weeks to call a board of directors’ meeting to determine the conditions for the State’s inspection of PNGSDP’s books of accounts, accounting records and other records, and to respond substantively to our request in this regard.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill: Now or never ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill says the next five to 10 years is a very crucial period for setting the agenda for the country. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said the mistakes of the past where wealth from the country’s resources have been mismanaged must never be repeated as the government works to establish legislative frameworks to secure and ensure all generations benefit from the country’s wealth.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said these when addressing Christians and church leaders attending the National Prayer Day luncheon hosted by Speaker Theo Zurenuoc in Parliament yesterday.
He also made a commitment that the National Prayer Day calendar will be a permanent fixture for church leaders and Members of Parliament to come together to acknowledge God for blessing the country with its good people and resources on the land and in the sea. "We would like to continue what we have stated publicly that we thank our good Lord for the essence of goodness that he has provided for Papua New Guinea," he said.
"Despite our many differences of opinions and of course many failings, we have to build a better future for our country.” "Today with many millions of Christians in this country, we are building that future together and we need to continue working together to making sure that we have a genuine achievement of national pride and unity.” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill also gave his commitment for the government to work in partnership with the churches.
"We look forward to quality delivery of goods and services to our people, many of you know very well about the neglect of the past, there is not one person or government is to blame, it is incumbent on a whole lot of us to work together to make sure that we correct the mistakes of the past, and I think times like this, gatherings like today is the time to reflect on many of these things, a time to forgive one another and continue to build a nation that we all want our children to have before us," he said. "The challenges are not new and these challenges will not be the last; they will continue."
**** Government to Aid Universities to Strengthen Internal Revenue Raising Measures ****
The Government is developing a plan to strengthen the ability of state owned universities to raise revenue internally, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill announced yesterday.
While the universities would benefit from increased funding to upgrade ailing infrastructure in the campuses, the government wants internal revenue raising models improved and strengthened so these institutions are in a stronger and more secure financial position. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill this week wrote to Minister for Higher Education, Research and Science Malakai Tabar to immediate undertake consultations with universities to develop a policy framework to achieve this.
The consultations would include reviewing current business models the universities use, and ways assets and professional services can be best utilized to improve revenue. This could include the possibility of universities entering into real estate businesses, making full use of vacant land, houses and flats that they own which do not generate revenue at present.
The Prime Minister while the universities would continue to depend on the government to finance their operations, these institutions have the potential to generate more revenue to help sustain many of their operations. “Many universities around the world are now operating on business models, which allow them to generate internal revenue to fund their ongoing operational and capital investment activities. It is opportune time now for our universities to adopt such business-like approach,” the Prime Minister told Minister Tabar in the letter.
He said he was aware that universities currently operate business arms, but they are inefficient or not structured properly, and need to be reviewed so that their new structure is premised on good governance and business principles. The Prime Minister urged the Minister to give this top priority so a policy initiative is developed and announced and is catered for in the 2015 National Budget.