**** “BUDGET AND POLICY IMPLEMENTATION ON THE PRIORITIES FOR GOVERNMENT IN 2014” ****
Implementing the national budget effectively, and delivering key policy initiatives that will grow the economy and expand opportunity for all Papua New Guineans will be the priorities for the National Government in the first months of 2014, Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, said today.
Prime Minister Hon. O'Neill said the budget and program implementation performance in 2013 was an improvement - but more needed to be done.
"There are still problems with capital spending, especially on major projects such as roads, and they will be a focus in the early months of 2014."
"On 10 February I will chair a Leaders Summit between all Ministers, and all Governors, when we will focus on implementing key budget spending - in areas such as schools, health care, infrastructure and law and order - and on implementing with maximum co-operation between all levels of government," he said.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill said the Summit would also focus on reducing duplication and bureaucratic delays and waste at all levels of government.
"This year we face the new challenge of ensuring the direct funding being delivered to district and local government works well. That is a challenge I want all Ministers, Departments and Agencies to focus on and make it effective."
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill said even a good budget would fall well short if was not effectively and efficiently delivered.
"This year actual service and program delivery will get greater attention than ever."
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill said the early months of 2014 would also see his Government ensure that key policy agenda issues of the Government are formalized and implemented.
"One of the highest policy priorities will be the full passage of the anti-corruption legislation, and the establishment of a powerful and resourced Anti-Corruption Authority."
"Again, this package will need the co-operation of all levels of Government, and the whole community, to be effective."
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill said he would personally drive the implementation of the key policy package designed to lift the participation of Papua New Guineans in the economy - and in small and medium size enterprises in particular.
The budget for 2014 provides funding for support for small and medium business growth, but there is also a need to harness the resources of our existing business sector - both locally and foreign owned - to partner with and mentor new entrepreneurs, he said.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill said the National Government would also do what it could to make "starting and doing business" more affordable through cutting approval processes, and looking at government costs and charges that could be abolished or reduced.
"My Government in 2014 will be driving a comprehensive program to make the economy more competitive - and that will benefit business, families and the nation's export sector."
"I am well aware of the real problems facing our farmers - due mainly, but not only, to low world commodity prices. This 2014 budget provides support for our agricultural sector and we will be further considering ways to help our producers through a very difficult period," he said.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill said the year would be a mixed one for the mining and petroleum resources sector - and the Government appreciated the need to ensure the sector was able to operate as competitively and efficiently as possible in an increasingly competitive regional and world environment.
"We will this year celebrate the first LNG exports from Papua New Guinea - and that will lead to significant revenue inflows and other benefits which we will ensure are managed wisely."
"But we understand that our mining sector faces some real problems, mainly due to low gold and other mineral prices. We will work with the mining sector to minimize the adverse fallout as much as possible."
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill said "good government" was really about making sure the people of the nation, no matter where they lived, had the best possible basic, quality of life services, and the greatest possible opportunity to share in the benefits of economic growth.
"Delivering good government is a challenge - but it is challenge I am confident we can meet if all levels of Government work together," he concluded.
PM WELCOMES DISTRICT COURT RULING ON WARRANT OF ARREST
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill today welcomed the District Court’s decision to set aside a warrant of arrest obtained by a police man in connection with ongoing investigations in the Paul Paraka Lawyers payments.
“I welcome the court’s decision in finding the warrants defective, and setting them aside. That is what I maintained, and that is why our lawyers went to court.” Mr O’Neill said.
“The investigation into the Paul Paraka Lawyers payments were initiated in the first place by myself, and it will continue and be completed following the rule of law and due processes”.
“This investigation is at an advanced stage by Task Force Sweep, a legally constituted body with jurisdiction over this matter.”
“Let us allow them to complete the job and make their findings known.”
“We will NOT allow political expediency to overtake the proper lawful processes,” the Prime Minister stressed.
“The glaring error on the warrant, as pointed out by the court in its decision, raises serious questions about the propriety of the process employed by those behind this saga.”
“I must warn that those who want to continue to flaunt due and lawful processes will be dealt with by the full force of the law.”
**** Police will carry out its constitutional duty without fear or favour, malice, ill-will or undue influence ****
The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary under my leadership is committed to carrying out its constitutional duty without fear or favour, malice, ill-will or undue influence.
We will not be coerced, intimidated, threatened, bullied or influenced in any way whatsoever.
The ongoing investigations into the K71.8 million Paul Paraka case, including the complaint laid by Opposition Leader Hon. Belden Namah against the Prime Minister is currently being investigated by Police Fraud and Anti-Corruption detectives attached with the Task Force Sweep Team. The investigation is progressing well.
Now whilst that investigation was underfoot, certain policemen attached to the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate obtained three warrants for the arrests of the Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill, Treasurer Hon. Don Polye and Finance Minister Hon. James Marape for their alleged role in the Paul Paraka case.
These three warrants of arrests including six others with regards to matters concerning the payments by the State to Paul Paraka Lawyers were yesterday set aside by the District Court as they were non-complaint with various provisions of the Arrest Act.
We were all made aware of the Warrant of Arrests when the newspapers published them. This has raised serious questions about our impartiality or objectivity in the investigation conducted and has tarnished the image and reputation of the RPNGC.
This morning four police officers were suspended for their involvement. They are: Detective Inspector Joel Simatab; Detective Sergeant Michael Dukur; Detective Senior Constable Robert Ewail; and First Constable Thaddeus Yangawi. A task force investigation team has now been established which includes CID officers from outside NCD to thoroughly investigate the matter.
I have directed that no further investigation or any arrest shall be carried out by any other section of the Police Force or by any other officer or member of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary other than those attached to Task Force Sweep, under the chairmanship of Mr Sam Koim.
Toami Kulunga, OBE DPS QPM
Commissioner of Police
**** Port Moresby sewerage system upgrade underway. January 22nd 2014 ****
The long overdue upgrade to the Port Moresby sewerage system is now finally entering construction phase.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill yesterday officiated at the ground breaking ceremony for the project at KilaKila village, Port Moresby.
The project costing K284 million was jointly funded by the Japanese Government through Japan International Co-operation Agency and the PNG Government.
JICA contributed a K209 million loan (8.216 billion yen) while the PNG government invested K75 million.
There are two main sewerage systems in Port Moresby, one for the inland area and the other for the coastal area.
This upgrade project is to improve sewerage for the coastal areas.Parties involved in the project included the State through the Independent Public Business Corporation as the implementing agency, the city’s water sewerage entity, Eda Ranu as the network agent, and JICA as the development partner.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the city’s population has tripled from the time the project was supposed to start some 20 years ago.
He said, apart from cities in Australia, Port Moresby is said to be the fifth biggest city in terms of population in the Pacific region. Therefore it was vital to deliver such an important project.
He acknowledged JICA for their patience during the delay of the project. He said JICA has been a long term development partner for PNG and encouraged parties involved in the project to work closely with them.
The managing director for the Independent Public Business Corporation, Wasantha Kumarasiri, said the project was delayed for over 20 years and was happy to see it finally get off the ground.Mr Kumarasiri said the project was an important one for the Port Moresby coastal villages.He acknowledged the support from landowners and the communities at the project site for their support allowing the project to go ahead. He also appealed to local communities who will benefit from the project to take ownership of it. Minister for Public Enterprises and State Investments, Ben Micah said food and water are essential human needs; hence it was vital to have a safe and clean environment. He said the project will encourage coastal communities to dispose of their waste properly and live clean, civilised lives.
Japan’s Ambassador to PNG, Hiroharu Hashi said he was happy at last to see the long overdue project move to the implementation stage.
He said JICA together with other parties involved will ensure that the project gets completed just before the APEC meeting in 2018.The sewerage upgrade project is scheduled to reach completion before the second quarter of 2018, just in time for the APEC meeting.
Construction will start from Baruni down to KilaKila, Joyce Bay where a state of the art sewerage treatment plant will be built. The plant is designed to the highest international standards and will be the largest in the South Pacific and be operated by Eda Ranu.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill reaffirms government's commitment. January 23rd 2013 ****
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the Government is committed to delivering major impact projects for Bougainville as budgeted for.
Speaking during a one-on-one meeting with the President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Chief John Momis in his Parliament office yesterday,
O’Neill gave his assurance that all impact projects identified for Bougainville would be delivered as planned.
The two leaders who had not met for a long time welcomed the opportunity to exchange views on issues, including the progress in the implementation of the Special Intervention Fund, update on the impact projects, and O’Neill’s visit to Bougainville this month.
“I assure you that we will assist Bougainville with its major impact projects that you have identified,” he said.
The projects include the Buka Island Ring Road, Arawa Hospital, Arawa road sealing, Aropa Airport, Buka town roads sealing and the Kokopau to Buin Road (Trans Island Highway). Momis said the people of Bougainville were looking forward to the PM’s visit.
Momis however expressed concern over the under-payment of the Restoration Development Grants as specified under the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
Both leaders agreed to direct their respective administrations to compare figures and notes on these underpayments.
In true Melanesian style, a formal peace ceremony will be held between the PNG government and the people of Bougainville at the National Parliament’s State Function Room today. Members of Parliament from both sides are expected to attend this ceremony.
**** Population boom. January 24th, 2014 ****
Papua New Guinea’s population stands at around 7.8 million.
The Census 2011 figures, finally released yesterday after a three-year delay, puts the total population figure at 7.3 million, but with the annual growth rate of 3.1 percent, it was assumed that the real figure would stand at approximately 7.8 million, said Planning Minister Charles Abel after releasing the figures yesterday.
Mr Abel said in year 2000 the population was 5.2 million and in 2011, as released by the National Statistical office yesterday, it stands at 7.3 million.
"These final census figures have been long in coming, these census figures are supposed to be produced every 10 years, in the last 38 years, governments have managed to have three census and this is the fourth one," Mr Abel said. That translates to an annual population growth rate of 3.1 percent.
This meant that since 2011, with the growth rate of 3 percent, PNG would have approximately 7.8 million people.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill reconciles with Bougainville President. January 24th, 2014 ****
Emotions ran high yesterday for leaders of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville as they watched President John Momis and Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill reconcile in a traditional ceremony in Port Moresby.
The ceremony at Parliament House marked the beginning of renewed relations between the two governments that shared a common goal for a better and unified Bougainville.
Chief of South Bougainville Jacob To’oke told Momis and O’Neill the reconciliation meant they were now at a crossroads.
He told Momis and O’Neill that as the representative of the grassroots people of Bougainville their cry was to see the full implementation of autonomy for the region.
“We don’t want politics but want to see and hear of fruitful results from you two leaders by working together,” To’oke said speaking in Tok Pisin.
Momis said negotiations had taken place and were all over and it was now time for implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
“The Bougainville Peace Agreement is a joint creation of the National Government and the leadership of Bougainville,” he said.
“Through the spirit of this agreement we should deal with issues that affect us.
“We must implement the Bougainville Peace Agreement fully and create an atmosphere where people will cast their votes when the time for the referendum comes between 2015 and 2020.”
Momis said his wanted his people to be free to exercise their choice and right to choose the option that they wished to see come about in future for Bougainville.
He emphasised the importance of a close relationship, communication and dialogue with Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill to inform each other of important aspects of the peace agreement that must be addressed.
“It’s a good agreement and we should not be sidetracked by all kinds of views and statements that have been expressed in the media.
“We must stick to the agreement and it’s incumbent on the leaders to ensure that the people know what exactly the two heads of governments are doing to make sure that we preempt any more violent situation from arising in the future.”
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill told the Bougainville leaders his government was committed to the peace agreement.
“The agreements are already set in place. We are not there or here to change the agreements. The government is committed to the implementation of the agreement because we really want to make a change on Bougainville.”
**** Government saves over K5m in new payslip online program. January 24th, 2014 ****
Finance Secretary Ken Ngangan said yesterday that the Government spends more than K5 million each year to print payslips for all public servants.
And he advised that there is now a new system in place which will encourage online payslips, instead of having to wait for headquarters to send papers to provincial offices.
Mr Ngangan also said this new system will help do away with thousands of ghost names that have claimed millions of kina over the years because there has been a lack of stored data for public servants.
He said this after reports that many public servants, almost all throughout the country, have been complaining about not receiving their payslips, which they need to use in banks and for other services. Mr Ngangan said that the banks should have been advised of the situation so printed payslips are acceptable especially with loans, as long as they provide identification cards and other necessary documents.
"We have a new system and we are encouraging online payslips. All public servants should get them from all their provincial offices. This is also to discourage ghost names. We are encouraging this system because we want one person one payslip," Mr Ngangan said.
An irritated teacher from Boana in the Nawaeb District claimed there was only one officer to attend to their queries and they were only attended to on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
"There are some of us living in rural areas and we have to spend about K20 a day to go back and forth to check on our pay slips," said the teacher.
The teacher said they were all affected from both the rural and urban areas and said they had to stand a whole day in the queue only to be sent off when the office closes and they have to come back the next time.
"We need our payslips to apply for loans from the bank, for school fees and other expenses, but our hands are tied because we haven’t received our payslips yet," said the teacher.
This Mr Ngangan says will come to an end once the full online system comes into place.
**** PRIME MINISTER HON. PETER O’NEILL THANKS OIL SEARCH FOR SUPPORT PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill thanked the Oil Search Limited for allowing the government to provide a tax credit arrangement, which enabled Oil Search to facilitate the transformation of the Lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said Oil Search is funding the transformation of the home of rugby in the nation’s capital into a National Rugby League Stadium.
The Prime Minister made these remarks today (30/01/14) while officiating at the ground-breaking ceremony to commence the construction of this state-of-the-art stadium.
“The stadium will meet international standards and cater for a capacity of 25,000 people.
“PRL Oval, as we all know, has been the centre of many sporting events, especially rugby league, for many years.
“This is an important infrastructure for the nation, where the government has invested largely in it,” he said.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said it is also important that the government works closely with the private sector to develop a business model that will sustain infrastructures like the stadium.
He said the government is looking forward to working closely with companies like Oil Search in ensuring that it manages this venue for our number one game, rugby league.
“This government is entirely committed in rebuilding infrastructure throughout the country. I am sure many Papua New Guineans support the government’s move to improve infrastructure, not only our sporting venues but other institutions like the hospitals, schools and others,” he said.
**** Speech by the Chief Secretary, Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc on the occasion of the Prime Ministers address to the business community and Government hosted by the business council of PNG for the National Working Group on Improving Business and Investment climate in Papua New Guinea ****
The Honourable Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea -Peter O'Neill, Ministers, Diplomatic corp, the business community, Government Officials, Ladies and Gentlemen. It is indeed my pleasure to give an opening remark to you all this morning.
Prime Minister, Im honoured by your presence because it signifies to our people your Governments commitment to make the business and Investment climate in Papua New Guinea easier, Simpler and less difficult for our business people. It demonstrates your governments commitment in ensuring that we give maximum opportunity for our people to participate in business endeavours to create healthy, wealthy and prosperous people in our society. We are here this morning at the pre- breakfast event for the first National Working Group meeting on Improving Business and Investment Climate, which embraces the business enabling environment. I would like to underscore this achievement in the most profound manner because the NWG committee has been revamped and operational into its 3 years and that its serious about improving the business enabling environment and delivering services to our people through private sector. As chair of the National Working Group responsible for the public private dialogue i am extremely proud of this achievement. I would like to advise that issues raised and discussed at the National Working Group have been dealt with and actioned accordingly. Our score card since the revamp in 2011 led by then Minister for commerce and industry Charles Abel has demonstrated the efforts between Government and Private sector to dialogue and resolve issues affecting business.
The National Working Group was established in 2003 by an NEC decision of 2003 and was coined out as the National Working Group on removing impediments to business. The ultimate goal of the NWG is to promote an inclusive and competitive PNG private sector through trust building, public-private dialogue, and advocacy for economic reform and market-oriented activities. The National Working Group is an effective conduit where the business community and Government are able to dialogue and address issues affecting business in PNG.
This Government has supported the work of the National Working Group under the leadership of Hon. Peter O'Neill. The National Working Group through the chair reports to the Prime Minister on all the deliberations of the committee. The success of the National Working Group in ensuring that the business enabling environment is a testament of the support and commitment of Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill and his Government.
Finally ladies and Gentlemen, The National Working Group has its work cut out for 2014. We have an "issues Matrix" with list of key priority issues to tackle for the year. We encourage the business community to continue to dialogue with us and know that the Government is committed to improving the business enabling environment.
***** Speech by the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Hon. Peter O'Neill, Member for Ialibu-Pangia on the occasion of the breakfast to launch the first meeting of the National Working group on improving business and investment climate in Papua New Guinea *****
Thank you Master of Ceremonies,
Honorable Don Poyle, Treasurer and Minister for Treasurer, Hon Richard Maru, Minister for trade, Commerce and Industry, Hon. Charles Abel, Minister for planning and Rural Development and other Ministers here present including members of parliament. I also acknowledge the Chief Secretary and the hard working members of the National Working Group on Improving Business and investment climate, diplomatic community, business community, public servants, Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is indeed my Honor to speak to the business community and to preside over the launch of the first meeting of the National Working Group on Improving Business and Investment Climate in PNG, initiated, developed and delivering outcomes under the office of Chief Secretary, in partnership with private sector peak bodies and fully supported by my office.
As soon as my Government took office in 2012, We set out in the Alotau Accord to deliver and environment of stability and prosperity would be pursued vigorously.
The Productive sectors, commerce and business were priorities in Alotau and have continued to be a priority in our planning and budget allocations in the 2014 budget. My government is confident going into 2014. Like all developing countries, PNG is faced with great development challenges but is also blessed with the possibilities and opportunities. Riding on the back of the LNG construction and first shipment for 2014, We have the greatest challenge to translate our economic growth to tangible development for our citizens whilst dealing with the social challenges of law and order, social challenges of Law and Order, Security, Health and climate change. This Government would mitigate our development challenge by ensuring the Government's MTDS is vigorously Implemented under the five year budgeting process with consistency in funding and audits undertaken to ensure DSIP funds transferred to local level governments are satisfactorily delivered.
Private sector is critical as a development partner to deliver our development agenda for PNG. In order to create a healthy and wealthy PNG. My government seeks partnership with private sector and business community and we believe private sector is the engine of growth so long as there is conducive business environment. Where we see the role of private sector in 2014 would be as follows and i would like to highlight to you all this morning.
a) Roads with a massive infrastructure budget with key roads to the highland highway, Lae - Nadzab road, Bougainville inland Highway, Port Moresby city roads upgrade, Kerema - POM Highway, Sepik Highway and the South Highlands Highway. One of the key objectives from all of this is to ensure the management and maintenance of the National Highways. We have also implemented plans to ensure each department is responsible for either local roads or National Highway programs. There will now be clear direction and management of our roads so we are not seeing potholes anymore in the coming years.
b) Ports and shipping infrastructure
c) Major Hospital Rehabilitation including Angau Hospital and
d) Port Moresby General Hospital
e) Review and reform to the Government procurement system under CSTB procurement. We acknowledge the procurement system has failures and we intend to streamline and make improvements by the inclusion of private sector mentality and mentorship to the many boards throughout PNG.
f) Infrastructure development authority is the agency where the Government intends to have oversight over all major infrastructural projects including Ports, Airports, Roads, Government Building and anymore projects.
2) SOE - Power, Water, telecommunications
- reforms to state owned enterprises
- PNG Power boost with K100 Million to rehabilitate infrastructure
- Alternative sources of power supply through PPP- between the State owned Power operator and the Private sector
- Nominations and selection of directors and Governance of SOE's
3) City Development
- Office of urbanisation as secretariat for the Government.
- Licensing of business activities to generate revenue for the Urban local level Governments to provide Government services
- Housing and development under the national planning department - 10 houses to be built per district, per year for Government / Public sector Officers.
4) Skills development - PM's Award
- Setting of awards and schemes to develop the skills bank of PNG.
- Institute of directors, Westpac Women in business, City pharmacy ltd. Government is in the process to recognise and support the development of skills in PNG through the public sector reforms.
5) Foreign Direct investment framework
- SME's stimulus package and announcements included the need to create a foreign investment review board.
- Governments recent announcement and the use of "National Interest" test to refuse further acquisition of NBPOL.
- Madang communique and the reserve activity list and moves to close up sector to foreign companies. What is the Government doing? Business requires confidence that Government is setting up policies and framework to be predictable.
- International trade and investment - Liberalisation, APEC, Melanesian Festival of Arts ect. Commitment and perspectives on foreign investment.
6) Tax review - sector specific input
- The tax review committee has been appointed by NEC and secretariat of the committee is housed at the treasury department
- The Key intention of the government is to look at the Tax administration system, review it and see where revenue is not generated, encourage businesses to be tax compliant and make it easier for businesses to register and lodge tax returns
- Others include specific review of corporate taxes in the mining sector
7) Fight against corruption
- Establishment of ICAC
- Task force sweep
- Successful investigations and pending cases
- Anti Money Laundering and Anti terrorism Financing
These are the seven main things that the private sector might be wondering; what and how, the O'Neill/Dion Government will manage during the 2014 period. Greater resilience and growth in 2014 for PNG would demand continuous dialogue between the public sector and private sector. These conversations have started and will continue throughout 2014 so that we achieve the right result and outcomes for PNG.
Finally i would like to congratulate the chief secretary and his members of the National Working Group for your commitment to improving the business environment and promoting competitive PNG private sector so that jobs are created, a PNG citizen is able to earn an income, have access to medical services and puts food on the table for his or her family.
These reforms and deliberations of the NWG have my support and its these public private dialogue platforms that would likely stimulate further changes in the regulatory landscape of this country. I would like to see that reforms discussed at NWG be part of the budget process and my office undertakes to financially commit funds to support economic reform agenda for PNG.
It is now my pleasure to officially launch the first meeting of the National Working Group on Improving Business and Investment Climate in PNG and wish you all a successful 2014 in business.
**** Duban resumes police ministry. January 31st ****
RE-ELECTED Madang MP Nixon Duban has been re-appointed as Police Minister.
He was officially sworn in as Minister for Police by Governor General Sir Micheal Ogio yesterday.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, senior People’s National Congress party ministers, acting Police Commissioner Simon Kauba and a number of friends and relatives witnessed his swearing-in at Government House.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill after the swearing-in ceremony told the media that he had assured Mr Duban that the ministry will be preserved for him until after the by election and that was exactly what he has done.
He will also do the same for ousted Kairuku Hiri MP and Education Minister Paru Aihi if he is returned by his people, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
The main reason for this is to maintain continuity and stability in both Ministries, he said.
"Its not that other MPs are not capable but if a new person is appointed there won’t be stability and the new person will have new priorities, but I’d like to thank all the MPs for showing maturity because no one came to lobby for the two vacant ministries" he said
He congratulated Mr Duban and said the result of the by-election clearly showed that the people were happy with the Government’s policy resulting in his return and he is confident that Mr Duban will continue the programs that he initiated before he was ousted as an MP and Minister. MrDuban thanked the Prime Minister for having confidence in him and his people of Madang and said he will continue where he had left from.