**** Prime Minister O’Neill Prepares to Welcome Japan’s Prime Minister – Thursday, 10 July *****
The Prime Minister, Hon Peter O’Neill CMG MP, is preparing to welcome Japan’s Prime Minister, Hon Shinzo Abe, to Papua New Guinea in what he said is another step in the ongoing strengthening of relations between the two Pacific nations.
“The relationship between Papua New Guinea and Japan has been growing from strength to strength,” Prime Minister O’Neill said.
“Our bilateral engagement is important for ongoing economic growth in both economies and is delivering business opportunities and jobs.
“Papua New Guinea’s first LNG export was delivered to Japan in June, and future shipments will continue to be a source of power for Japanese economic activity for many years into the future.
“The potential of Papua New Guinea as an investment destination for Japan is already recognized, and this visit by Prime Minister Abe and his business delegation will result in further investment and commerce.”
During the visit, the Prime Ministers and their delegations will discuss issues relating to bilateral, regional and global cooperation. This will include:
· The Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement
· The Technical Cooperation Agreement
· Stability in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville
· Exchange Programs
· Multiple Entry Visa for Short-term Stay and Waiver of Visa
· The Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA)
· Trap Net
· Climate Change
· Japan’s engagement with the Pacific Islands Forum
Prime Minister Abe will pay a courtesy call on the Governor-General, Grand Chief Sir Michael Ogio, and will also visit the Japanese Peace Park in Wewak, East Sepik Province.
The visit by Prime Minister Abe will be the first visit to Papua New Guinea by a Prime Minister of Japan for nearly three decades following the last visit in 1985.
Japan and Papua New Guinea established diplomatic relations in 1975.
**** WELCOME SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, HON PETER O’NEILL CMG MP, ON THE OCCASION OF THE VISIT OF HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN ****
Your Excellency, Mrs Abe, Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a privilege to warmly welcome Your Excellency, Mrs Abe, and the Members of Your Delegation, including Business Leaders from Japan, to Papua New Guinea.
Our two countries have and continue to enjoy a strong and diverse relationship over the last 40 years, based on mutual trust and friendship.
Your visit is the first by a Prime Minister of Japan for some time, and it follows closely on my visit to Japan recently to welcome the vessel carrying the first export shipment of LNG from Papua New Guinea.
The fact our first LNG shipment had Japan as its destination was surely appropriate – given the very wide ranging trade, investment and business relationship between Papua New Guinea and Japan in the almost 40 years since our Independence.
The development of our gas-to-liquids industry has a direct Japanese involvement. JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration is a valued partner is our first gas development – the PNG LNG Project.
The first early shipment of gas was purchased by Tokyo Electric Power Company –TEPCO.
The other direct involvement of significant Japanese enterprises as partners Chiyoda in construction, and customers Osaka Gas, in the development of our substantial gas resources is warmly welcomed by our government, by the other project partners, and by the people of Papua New Guinea.
I want to thank you, Prime Minister, for the support your government, and your energy sector, has given to the pioneering project.
This support is wholly consistent with the strong Papua New Guinea – Japan relationship.
Your visit will further strengthen our relationship, and I want to use this occasion to encourage your industries, and your businesses, to continue investing in Papua New Guinea.
This is a good time to invest in Papua New Guinea, and enter into joint ventures and other forms of collaboration, with our own growing private sector.
We welcome additional investment in our resource sector but we also need new and added investment in other sectors like construction, agriculture and tourism.
Our Ministers, and Government Officials, will work in a pro-active way to encourage the investment by your enterprises.
Investing in Papua New Guinea, and our future, can be a challenging and yet exciting times.
Our GDP over the last decade has averaged 8 per cent a year. Next year it will reach 21 per cent, principally due to the export of LNG to Japan and many other countries.
But we don’t just enjoy strong GDP growth.
We have an essentially stable political environment – even though politics can at times be challenging, just as I am sure it is in Japan!
But our basis is strong, and our economic future is in my view the best it has been since Independence.
We will secure that future by high quality foreign investment – of the kind Japan has consistently provided over the last 40 years – and a growing and confident participation in these investments.
Our task, as the national government, is to provide the right climate for foreign direct investment and greater local participation.
We will do that through sound fiscal management, a stable economy, a stable political environment and by a community that welcomes quality investment, trade and business.
Our trading links have always been strong – and we are keen to strengthen and diversify them even further. We have the people, and the land, to help meet your food needs as well as your energy and mineral needs.
We will continue to welcome imports from your country which have contributed to our transport needs for generations, your electrical goods, and technology, among other imports.
While investment and trade underpin our close association, there are other significant aspects to it.
One is aid that Japan’s provides to Papua New Guinea, that is a major contributor to our country’s development agenda.
The work of organisations like JICA is widely appreciated in our community. It has contributed significantly to our social and economic development and I know it will continue to do so in the future.
I thank you, Prime Minister, and your Government for the generous assistance we have received since achieving Independence, and I thank you for your generous assistance that you have announced this evening.
We also have a strong and growing people to people association – in cultural, sporting, education and other areas. An example of this is the recent signing of an MOU between Bando City and Tari Town as Sister City Relationships.
I am confident that these relationships will continue to grow even stronger in the future.
Prime Minister, my final point tonight is to thank you, and your predecessors, for the excellent support Japan has always given Papua New Guinea at regional and international events and forums.
We could not have a more reliable friend.
Whether it has been at the United Nations, or APEC, Japan has been a great supporter and friend. I know my predecessors value that that support as well.
In just four years, Papua New Guinea has offered to host APEC 2018 that concludes with the Annual Leaders’ Summit.
APEC PNG 2018 will be a truly historic year for us – and we thank Japan, and our other APEC partners, for their confidence in our capacity to host the APEC process. We hope to learn from your experience from hosting APEC in 1996 and 2010 as we advance our preparations.
It will be an honour for our country and the other Pacific Island Countries for such an event to take place here, in Papua New Guinea.
In relation to our Pacific Island Nations, the Government of Papua New Guinea also welcomes a deeper engagement by Japan with the Pacific Islands Forum. This commitment is being well received by our Forum partners, and Papua New Guinea will support and encourage Japan in this engagement.
Prime Minister, my wife joins with me in welcoming you, and Mrs Abe, to Papua New Guinea.
We are joined in doing so by my Ministers, our National Parliament, and by the people of the nation.
You are distinguished and honoured guests.
And we especially welcome your distinguished business delegation, and hope you enjoy your short stay with us – and leave our shores confident about our investment, business and trade relationship and its future growth and vibrance,
Long may the strong, diverse and mutually beneficial relationship between Papua New Guinea and Japan continue!
**** Government Releases Funding for Relief Activities in Flood Affected Gulf and Southern Highlands ****
The Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, has announced the government will make available the resources to provide immediate relief to people affected by serious flooding in the Gulf and Southern Highlands provinces.
Acting on information provided by the office of the National Disaster Centre, the Government will make available five million Kina (K5,000,000) for response and relief efforts.
“The flooding has affected people in the two provinces differently and the government is working to ensure appropriate resources are mobilized,” the Prime Minister said.
“The most recent assessment is that the situation in Gulf Province is stabilizing, while the in Southern Highlands Province the situation is evolving.
“In Gulf Province around K600,000 has already been dispersed by National Disaster Centre for the emergency provision of tarpaulins for shelter as well as food and water supplies.
“This is being transported by military barge from Port Moresby to affected areas and distributed by smaller boats. In areas that are inaccessible by boat the PNGDF will use helicopters to transport relief supplies. InterOil is providing further assistance in support of relief operations.”
The Prime Minister said that the situation in the Southern Highlands is less apparent due to ongoing bad weather hampering assessment activities.
“A rapid assessment team is on standby but it has been unable to access the flood area due to low cloud cover. We now expect this assessment to be ready by tomorrow morning and will provide a clearer picture of the relief required.
“An initial K200,000 has already been dispersed for emergency supplies to be delivered by the most seriously affected in areas in the Southern Highlands that are accessible.”
The Prime Minister said response to occurrences such as severe flooding is always complicated with different areas experiencing different stages of the deluge.
“While one area might require an immediate response due to current danger such as rising water, another area might have already seen the water recede but new concerns emerge such as access to shelter, and clean food and water.
**** PNG Wins Court Case to Protect Public Interests in Relation to Sulphur Content in Fuel and Price Regulation ****
The full bench of the Supreme Court handed down an important ruling in favor of the Government of Papua New Guinea in a significant case concerning distribution of electricity in Port Moresby through the Kanudi back-up Generator powered Power Plant.
The decision, delivered on 4 July, includes the government’s right to determine the material used in the generation of power, particularly through generators which are managed by private enterprise and sold to the public at large. The Regulation prohibits absolutely the importation of a petroleum product or heavy fuel oil which has sulphur content in excess of the Maximum Prescribed Standards under the Regulation.
The decision is also concerned with the authority of the government to make subordinate legislation that affects rules to protect public interest to regulate prices.
The proceedings in which the Supreme Court made this decision is SCM No16 of 2009 – The State v Hanjung Power Limited.
The Court ordered to uphold the Appeal of the Government and made further orders that thee legal costs of the State be paid by Hanjung Power Limited.
The State, through Steeles Lawyers, had commenced the Appeal proceedings in the Supreme Court. The Appeal sought to challenge the decision of the National Court made on 18 September 2009 in proceedings OS (JR) 123 of 2009 – Hanjung Power Limited v The State. In this case the Court had struck down the Customs (Prohibited Imports – Certain Petroleum Products) Regulation, 2008 (No.7 of 2008) on the grounds that the NEC failed to accord Hanjung Power Limited natural justice, failed to give reasons for its decision and made a regulation that is unreasonable and which contravened s 41 of the constitution.
The Supreme Court in an extensive 105 page written ruling upheld the State’s Appeal by finding that the learned trial judge had erred in striking down a Regulation which had been properly made by parliament pursuant to a valid enabling legislation being the Customs Act, 1951. The trial judge therefore had no power to interfere with the Regulation by reviewing it.
Hanjung Power Limited operates a power plant at Kanudi outside of Port Moresby which supplies around a third of the electricity used by Port Moresby residents and businesses.
The heavy fuel it uses contains sulphur content in excess of the Maximum Prescribed Standards and is therefore illegal. Hanjung will now have to review its operations to ensure they are legally acceptable and comply with the established laws and framework.
This decision could not have come at a better time and shows that the Government is committed to ensuring Justice is done and for the rule of law to guide its every action. It also reinforces the Governments position all along that it had indeed followed proper procedures in making the Regulation.
The State was represented at the Appeal hearing by Brisbane based Barrister, Mr Levente Jurth upon instructions from Mr. Dane Mel of Steeles Lawyers.
The Attorney General welcomed the ruling of the Court in what he said was a precedent for the future in a complex matter relating to price control in the national interests.
**** Prime Minister commits to rebuilding Defence infrastructure ****
The Prime Minister, Hon Peter O’Neill CMG MP, has assured Defence Force families that the national government will deliver improved infrastructure at all military bases.The Prime Minister made the remarks at the re-opening of the Taurama Barracks swimming pool on 14 July.“Our Defence families endure a lot of challenges while they are providing service and defending the interests of our nation.“For decades we had been hearing of the need to improve Defence facilities.“Over the past two years the Government has been delivering on this promise and we have made significant progress.“Defence Force personnel need buildings and roads that enable them to get their jobs done, and provide comfort for their families.“I give you the commitment that before 2017, the Government will rebuild barracks throughout the country.“The government is rebuilding the infrastructure of our country, and defence facilities are an important part of this ongoing national development.“We are repairing roads, and refurbishing existing buildings or constructing new ones where this is required. This includes improving recreational facilities such as pools and gymnasiums.“This construction work is an important intervention and the first real action taken in rebuilding Defence Force facilities for a long time.“Roads within defence facilities are a propriety and are currently being repaired at Taurama and Murray Barracks.“There is also a program underway right now that follows through on a commitment to deliver white goods to Defence Force houses. “The Defence Minister and the Commander are ensuring that houses are properly equipped with fridges, cooking appliances and washing machines.”The Prime Minister said that the Taurama Barracks swimming pool is a good example of what can be accomplished through appropriate planning and coordination.“It is my pleasure to open this pool today, which has been a joint project between the Defence Force and the PNG Sports Foundation. “The pool will be used for the South Pacific Games next year and will then continue to be enjoyed by military personnel and their families for decades to come.“The SP games gives us the opportunity to undertake construction such as this pool. “Construction schedules are on target and we will have these facilities ready for the start of the games in less than one year.”
**** Pension plan to look after all Papua New Guineans ****
The Prime Minister has highlighted the Government’s intention to extend the national pension program to all Papua New Guineans once they turn 65 years of age.
Speaking at Tauram Barracks, the Prime Minister, Hon Peter O’Neill CMG MP, said it was the right of all men and women to be taken care of in their old age.
“Due to the strength of the economy, I can tell you that our country can afford to look after our people when they retire,” the Prime Minister said.
“After working hard through their years, people need to know that they can relax after they retire and that the government will take care of them.”
The Prime Minister said the pension scheme will be delivered as the next step of the current program underway to roll out a national identification program.
“We have already started working on the pension plan for people over the age of 65.
“Right now we are introducing a national ID program for the entire country that will register each and every one of us.
“Once we have this in place we will have the statistics on how many people will retire in each year, and then we can plan our budget accordingly.”
The Prime Minister also highlighted the pension benefits that will be provided to members of the Defence Force when they retire. At the same time he stressed that Defence Force retirement benefits will be linked to the maintenance of discipline.
“Starting next year we will be introducing a new and very generous pension program for all disciplined service personnel throughout the country.
“This pension program will be similar to many other disciplined forces around the world and, will further reward our men and women who serve the nation in uniform.
“But, the pensions of our retiring defence force personnel will be linked to their discipline throughout their careers.
“As a nation we expect a lot from our men and women of the Defence force, and when they complete their career and have conducted themselves professionally, they will be properly rewarded.
**** Prime Minister thanks participants of the Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture ****
The Prime Minister, Hon Peter O’Neill CMG MP, has expressed his appreciation to all participations from overseas and Papua New Guinea for sharing their traditions and knowledge at the 5th Melanesian Festival of Arts and Cultural.
He also said that organizers of future national events would learn from the experience of the two-week event that took place around the nation.
The festival, which commenced on June 28 and ended on 11 July, attracted thousands of participants from PNG and overseas which included Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia and Indonesia.
“It was an honour and a pleasure for Papua New Guinea to host our Melanesian Brothers and Sisters for the festival,” the Prime Minister said.
“From all I have seen, the showcase of Papua New Guinea’s cultural diversity was appreciated by our international visitors.
“Culture and tradition are very personal for any community, and the sharing of these attributes with your neighbours is a rich exchange.
“The cultural and artistic traditions of Melanesia are alive, well and dearly appreciated.
“I am proud of our Papua New Guineans who welcomed and cared for our visitors and really showed PNG’s hospitality in the true Melanesian way.”
The Prime Minister said that with Papua New Guinea due to host many major events in the coming years, lessons must be learned from the festival.
“In the coming years Papua New Guinea will host the South Pacific Games, APEC, the Pacific Islands’ Forum and a number of other high level events.
“On the organization side there were positive and negative aspects that must be taken into account.
“All major events in Papua New Guinea must be organized according to the highest international standards in order to ensure enjoyment and maximum outcomes for all participants.”
The Solomon Islands will host the 2018 Melanesian Arts Festivals and Papua New Guinea is expecting to send a big contingent representing all 22 provinces.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill official opening of the Taurama Swimming Pool ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill today said the Government, in the last two years, has made apparent progress in infrastructure development, and looks forward to rebuilding all the PNGDF Barracks infrastructure, throughout the country.
"As you can see, the roads in Taurama Barracks are being fixed and this pool has now been refurbished to a state-of-the-art swimming facility. "Before 2017, the Government aims to rebuild the infrastructure in all our barracks nationwide,”Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill said.
He said 'white goods' will also be installed in each staff houses by next year.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill also appealed to all members of the PNGDF to demonstrate and uphold discipline in their conduct.
He further announced that the government would also introduce a generous pension scheme for retirees after they reach 65 years of age.
The Prime Minister was also thanked by the Minister for Sports, Justin Tkachenko for the government's ongoing support towards this as well as similar projects throughout the country.
**** Prime Minister wishes Commonwealth Games athletes success in Glasgow ****
The Prime Minister, Hon Peter O’Neill CMG MP, has expressed his best wishes to Papua New Guinea’s Commonwealth Games athletes traveling to Glasgow.
“When you travel to Glasgow you are carrying the hearts of your nation with you,” the Prime Minister said. “We are proud of each and every one of our athletes and all Papua New Guineans will be cheering for you.
“We are all looking forward to seeing Steven Kari lead our team of 96 athletes into the stadium at the opening ceremony.”
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said the nation’s peak athletes set a fine example for Papua New Guinea’s youth to follow.
“It has taken a lot of hard work and dedication for athletes to get to where you are today,” he said.
“Young children will be looking up to you, hoping one day to aspire to your achievements.”
The Prime Minister said he hoped athletes would not only compete well in their events, but would also be sporting ambassadors for the nation ahead of the Pacific Games.
“In less than one year from now it will be our athletes and games organizers who are hosting our regional athletes.
“The participation of athletes and officials at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will be good preparation for hosting the Pacific Games in 2015.
“I urge our athletes to pass on their personal greetings to athletes from Pacific Games countries and make them feel welcome in coming to Papua New Guinea next year.”
The Prime Minister noted that despite inheriting a program that was behind schedule, the government has in place a highly organized National Events team that is working on all aspects of Pacific Games preparations.
**** EquiTV program launched in Manus ****
Education Minister Nick Kuman recently launched the equiTV program for Manus Province at the Sohoneriu Community School outside Lorengau. Speaking at the official launching, the Minister emphasised the need for quality education and said the Government’s free education policy should be embraced by all parents to ensure school-age children had excess toeducation. "Every child in this country must be educated by way of legislation," said the Minister while acknowledging that proper infrastructure is key to the effectiveness of compulsory education in schools nationwide.
The Government is committed to the education sector and all community schools in PNG will receive two teacher-houses and a double classroom each year from 2015-2019, he added. A cheque of K500,000 was presented to 10 selected schools with each school receiving K50,000 each.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) country representative Shigeru Sugiyama said they were happy to be a partner in the equip TV phase two program and will help in capacity building for teachers involved in the program. Staff from the Education Department’s media centre have acquired special TV production training in Japan over the past 10 years. Education Department Secretary Michael Tapo said students and teacher should utilise the new method of teaching to help remote school students bridge the gap with peers in urban centres in PNG.
The equiTV concept has been on trial in East Sepik, Autonomous Region of Bougainville and Central provinces, enhancing the quality of teaching and learning through television. Manus deputy governor, John Popot, thanked the National Government and JICA for the assistance as education has been the main development tool for his province and his government is willing to assist in making the program work in the province. The delegation will visit Lou Island in the south coast of Manus before returning to Port Moresby.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill attends 45th Pacific Islands forum Leaders Meeting ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has led Papua New Guinea’s delegation to the 45th Pacific Islands’ Forum Leaders Meeting that starts in Palau today. Palau is hosting more than 300 delegates including leaders, ministers and senior government officials from forum member countries which are already in Koror, Palau to attend the 45th Pacific Islands Forum and related meetings from tomorrow to August 1.
They will be joined by Associate members, observers and development partners of the forum, representatives of the Council of regional organisations in the Pacific (CROP) and the media. Departing Port Moresby on July 26, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill did a stopover in Singapore where he met with directors of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said there are a number of important issues that Papua New Guinea will discuss at the Forum meeting including regional economic growth, education, healthcare and the effects of climate change. A decision will also be made on the new secretary general of the Pacific Islands’ Forum Secretariat. “The Pacific Islands’ Forum is a chance for the leaders of our region to meet, to talk openly and work together to advance our region. “I look forward to sharing Papua New Guinea’s experience with my counterparts. “Our country has seen ups and downs over the decades, but now we have positive economic growth and we are dramatically expanding access to healthcare and education.
**** Abel: Try new road designs ****
New ideas and designs must be created to address the ongoing deteriorating conditions of road network throughout the country. National Planning Minister and Alotau MP Charles Abel said this when officially launching the inaugural pilot project for capacity development on road maintenance in Lae yesterday.
Mr Abel said road infrastructures throughout Papua New Guinea were a major concern over the years due on ongoing deteriorating state of the roads. "Bitumen cannot survive in our country because of the weather we have here, so new ideas, designs must be created to sustain our weather condition," he said.
He said the road infrastructures including drainages, and bridges should be build using new designs that can absorbed to the weather in the country. The government over the years had spent millions of kina on road maintenance but still there are no improvements, the minister said.
"We continue to have roads fallen apart especially in the district so by now engineers should know and come up with new plans and designs to build good strong road that can last for a long time rather than fallen with 12 months," Mr Abel said. He said there should be plans set by the districts to ensure that road maintenance are carried out regularly and not when it collapsed.
He said the Department of Works should establish base camps where plant machineries are kept to make regular maintenance on national roads. "So as the district setting up Works Unit to maintain the district roads, that we could see roads last and services delivered to our people," said Mr Abel.
**** Charity group praises Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill ****
A charity group dealing with people living with disabilities has praised Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill’s leadership. The Reverend Percy Schilencker Memorial Charity Foundation said that Prime Minister O’Neill who was appointed through the legal parliamentary process has performed well.
Foundation administrator Gasiri Babona said in a statement that there has been creation of new policy initiatives with effect of being legislated by Parliament. “The true prosperity of a nation is improvement of living standard of all people including rural, marginalised citizens, and all level including wage increase for wage earners. This is a norm of good governance.”
“When you assess the performance of Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill’s leadership in relation to the norm of governance it is at high distinction,” Mr Gabona said. “The government of Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill have initiated many policies in the spirit of good governance, just to name a few; Sovereign Wealth Fund, revamp land mobilisation, agriculture infrastructure, social protection, electrification, free education, health subsidy and church development among others.” “Where is justice between political call for resignation and good work of serving the poor that have now taken place in government? There is real hope for the people with disabilities and the elderly. “Let the people’s Prime Minister do what he can do for the nation of Papua New Guinea.” Mr Babona said.
**** PM hails Indonesian leader ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill congratulated the President-elect of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr Joko Widodo after he was declared winner of the recent national elections by the Indonesian Election Commission.
"Indonesia is a very close friend and partner of Papua New Guinea. "The Government of Papua New Guinea looks forward to our strong and functional partnership continuing with Indonesia.
"We have many shared interests and our relationship has continued to grow. "At a cultural level, the representation of Indonesia at the 5th Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture that took place in various locations around Papua New Guinea, gave us all a chance to better understand each other’s cultural strengths and diversity."
Over the past decade, Papua New Guinea has welcomed the friendship of former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and look forward to continuing this relationship with the new President as he assumes office.
**** Government delivers services ****
The Government has made progress on major impact infrastructure projects in the country. Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenouc, who will visit some of these major project sites in Port Moresby and Lae this week, said when the O’Neill/Dion Government took office in 2012, it embarked on a major program to improve the nation’s dilapidated infrastructure.
Sir Manasupe will visit projects sites in Port Moresby today that will include Jackson’s International airport upgrade, Kookaburra Street and fly-over, Nine Mile- Gerehu-Hanuabada road, and Port Moresby port’s relocation to Motukea.
On Thursday, the government team will be in Lae to visit Lae city roads redevelopment, Angau Hospital, Lae wharf, Lae tidal basin development and Lae to Nadzab road.
"The poor state of infrastructure such as roads and ports had stifled growth and limited any opportunities for improvement to living standards of the people of PNG, despite a record period of economic growth since 2002," Sir Manasupe said. He said businesses are complaining that the poor state of affairs added to their rising costs and passing these costs to consumers means a rise in the price of basic goods and services.
"This had to change, and the Government made a bold statement for major investments in the public infrastructure commencing in 2012," he said. "Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill initiated the Leaders’ Summit at the start of 2013 where he called on all the Leaders, particularly State Ministers and Provincial Governors, to be part of the process and got them to sign performance agreements with their respective Departmental Heads and Provincial Administrators to implement three priority projects. This effectively obligated all the government agencies, both at the National and Provincial levels, to contribute to the change.” With the infrastructure developments, the people will have an easy access to services and improve their lives.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill: PNG major player in Pacific ****
Papua New Guinea will continue to be the major trade investor apart from being a donor agency and main regional player assisting smaller Pacific nations, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said in Palau yesterday.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill met with various leaders of the Pacific, talking about the bilateral relations and trade investments with Niue, Samoa, Vanuatu, Cook Islands and Solomon Islands. PNG has huge investments in Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and is looking at trade investments in Palau, Samoa and Niue.
And yesterday Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said PNG has an obligation to take the lead in assisting all these Pacific nations through trade and being a major donor player and making sure the PNG Government continues to grow business and bilateral relations with these countries.
"In the series of these meetings we have discussed our trade investments in those countries and we talked about PNG’s on-going assistance, specifically the program that we are rolling out for the Pacific Island Nations,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
"Papua New Guinea has got an obligation to do that, we need to be taking the lead role in ensuring that these things happen and through our discussions with many of our leaders of the region, throughout the Pacific region, we are encouraging that our businesses continue to have access to their markets so that they can invest, employ more people that will give them more income to many of those nations and their people and I think that way it will continue to change their living standards for their respective communities.
"It is important that we continue to play a role that will also ensure that we take many of our Pacific Island communities with us when we prosper in our own country.
"So I think this forum is a very successful forum for Papua New Guinea because it continues to enhance our presence in the region and gives us opportunity to increase trade and investment for our private sector and our businessmen and women in those countries."
**** Prime Minister congratulates Glasgow medallists ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill yesterday congratulated Papua New Guinean medallists Dika Toua and Steven Kari for their respective medals won in Glasgow.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill, in the midst of Pacific Island Forum leadership meetings in Palau, said yesterday that he is very proud of the duo and also the PNG team in Glasgow who are flying the PNG flag for the world to see.
"Let me take this opportunity to congratulate both Dika Toua and Steven Kari for their respective medals, silver and gold respectively,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
He said their medals are well-deserved because of the hard work that they have put in "making sure that they achieve these results in the highest competition within the Commonwealth of Nations".
"I also want to say that, on behalf of the country, on behalf of many of their friends and families, we congratulate each and every one of them on their success and we look forward to receiving them when they come home within the next few weeks.
"I also take this opportunity to also congratulate all the other participants who are still competing in many of their respective sports – you are doing us all very proud, you have continued to perform well.
"Many of you are achieving your personal best in your respective sports that is a credit to the hard work and dedication that each and everyone has put together over the trainings that they have had over the past few years.
"I look forward to receiving them when they come back and again congratulations to each and everyone, especially to Dika Toua and Steven Kari … congratulations from your country men and women in Papua New Guinea."
Out of the 26 countries that are participating in the event, PNG is currently ranked at 16 in the medal standings. Australia is at the top of the ladder followed by England, Canada, Scotland and New Zealand.
PNG will see a lot of sporting events in the coming months, starting with the PNG Games this year, to be followed by the Pacific Games in 12 months time, which is shaping up to be the biggest games yet in the region.