**** PM ON OC UBS LOAN INVESTIGATION ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill today called on the Ombudsman Commission not to impede the work of the executive government. The Prime Minister met with Chief Ombudsman Rigo Lua and officers of the Commission on Thursday, during which he stressed the government’s support of their independent investigations into decisions of the Executive Government, but he pointed out that those investigations must not impede its work or go against the nation’s overall interest.
The Ombudsman had directed a freeze on the interest payments on the UBS loan as part of its investigations. Such a freeze would trigger a default which would have disastrous consequences for PNG, including the loss of all the Oil Search shares and the gains made in the rise of the share price. “If we default on this payment as a result of Ombudsman Commission direction, all the upside of our shares and what LNG project has delivered to us through Oil Search shareholding would be lost.
“It would also rattle and erode investor confidence in doing business with PNG. “I respect the Ombudsman Commission and the work it does. And I’m sure the Commission realises that the task of running the country lies with the executive government. “The Executive Government makes decisions and enters into transactions on a daily basis in the running of the affairs of the country.
“I do not think it is wise for anyone to think that they have a right, or mandate, to stop the government from doing its work,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
“Our shares in Oil Search is a valuable investment for our people and we will do all we can to protect it.
“I made it known to the Chief Ombudsman that we respect them and will cooperate and provide all documents relating to this transaction in their ongoing investigation.
“But we will not allow them to place the entire investment in jeopardy,” the Prime Minister said.
“This particular direction will tarnish our country’s clean record of never defaulting on a loan or borrowing, with our credit ratings being down-graded.”
“We have now the highest level of confidence in the economy, the government and country as a result of good prudent investment the government is making in business, health, education, infrastructure and other sectors. “Our early delivery of LNG to the markets has placed PNG in a desired position to attracting more investments.
“We cannot afford to squander these opportunities.
“That is why our Government will be seeking a Judicial Review on the directions issued by the Ombudsman Commission this week because we believe strongly that they have exceeded their constitutional responsibilities and that these directions are not in our country’s national interest.”
**** Committee to probe claims against State ****
A committee will be set up to settle outstanding and genuine legal claims against the state, Treasury Minister Patrick Pruaitch said yesterday.
Mr Pruaitch said the government will honour genuine claims but will vigorously defend dubious claims. "There will be some that the state will successfully defend. We are aware that there are claims the government will honour and there are of course dubious claims that lazy Papua New Guineans are making to try and steal money from the state," Mr Pruaitch said.
"The Attorney-General and myself are trying to set up a working committee comprising Treasury, Finance and the Attorney-General to fast track some of these outstanding legal claims. The idea is to set up this inter-departmental committee to resolve that and we are hoping that sufficient funding is made available in the 2015 budget to deal with these issues.
"There are already attempts made by myself and the Attorney-General to deal with the matter. We are aware that the claims are huge and as I have said some of them are dubious and need to be looked at carefully. Others that are genuine the state will deal with. "The committee we are proposing is to ensure we fast-track the attempt to resolve these matters amicably and as far as the state is concerned if there are genuine claims we will honour them.” He said this after it was revealed there are K6.3 billion worth of claims against the state and that the Prime Minister is promising to bring legislation to Parliament for tough penalties for those making false claims.
**** Church-govt partnership way forward ****
Church-government partnerships are the right way forward for development, a senior MP and Cabinet Minister has said. Gumine MP and Education Minister Nick Kuman told over 2000 parishioners of St Anne’s parish, Dirima, Chimbu Province that the government has aligned with the churches to bring development to the people.
Minister Hon. Nick Kuman who visited the parish recently, for the 50th anniversary of St Anne’s Church and the farewell celebration of parish priest, Fr John Le, who served the parish for 10 years, made the government’s approach known.
Minister Hon. Nick Kuman, in the presence of Bishop of Kundiawa, Bishop Anton Bal, the clergy and the Catholic faithful, said the churches have done a tremendous job in the areas of spiritual and physical growth prior to independence and are continuing to do the same. He said the government acknowledged the contributions made by the churches and will enhance its support and partnership; of which the details would be made known soon by the O’Neill-Dion Government.
Minister Hon. Nick Kuman congratulated St Anne’s parish and outgoing parish priest Fr John Le for improving the infrastructure of the parish during his 10 years administration. He also committed K20,000 to the parish to buy tiles for the floor of the church building. Bishop Anton Bal said the church and the government would work together where the church for development but the people must determine how the processes should take shape. Bishop Bal said the people should reflect in their attitudes and behaviours their faith in God for the sustainability and continuation of social services that are required to improve living standards.
****PRIME MINISTER HON. PETER O'NEILL ARRIVES IN JAPAN****
TOKYO: Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill yesterday arrived in Japan and was received by the Papua New Guinea Ambassador to Japan, H.E. Gabriel Dusava along with officials from the PNG Embassy. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill is in Tokyo to welcome and receive the arrival of the first PNG Liquefied Natural Gas shipment that was loaded onto the tanker - ‘Spirit of Hela’ over a fortnight ago, and departed for Japan on May 25, 2014. PNG LNG, operated by ExxonMobil affiliate ExxonMobil PNG Ltd., is expected to produce more than 9 trillion cubic feet of gas over its estimated 30 years of operations. The first cargo is for the foundation LNG customer, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Inc. (TEPCO) in Japan.
The Prime Minister and his delegation, shortly after arrival, attended a welcome reception at the Hotel New Otani, hosted by Amb. Dusava, where Mr O’Neill officially thanked the initial customers of the PNG LNG - Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and Osaka Gas, for their tremendous contribution and support towards the PNG LNG project. He also thanked ExxonMobil for its immense yet challenging efforts and firm assurance in seeing this first LNG shipment through.
During the reception, Amb. Dusava thanked and commended the O’Neill-Dion Government for its stewardship in providing a stable political and economic environment under which all stakeholders were rallied to contribute to the successful construction and delivery of the PNG LNG project. The Prime Minister said with the successful delivery of this first LNG shipment to our foundation customers in Japan, further demonstrates our ability to perform effectively at the international market level. “Without your contribution and support, this project would not have got off to a better start.
“Therefore, on behalf of the Government and people of PNG, I extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to you for contributing to the building of our economy,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said. He said PNG is blessed with a lot of natural resources, a small population and a lot of potential. “That is why we are certain there are enough opportunities for Japanese companies to continue investing in PNG and we welcome that. “PNG continues to maintain its already strong ties with Japan and looks forward to further enhancing this relationship through partnerships like these,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said. He also said he looks forward to his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe’s official visit to PNG in July, who will be accompanied by a large delegation of business representatives and we anticipate they can do more business in the country.
He is expected to meet with various interested investors today (3/6/14) and will later attend the official ceremony marking the arrival of the ‘Spirit of Hela’ at a function hosted by ExxonMobil, this evening. Tomorrow (4/6/14), the Prime Minister will visit the Futtsu TEPCO Terminal, where he will board the ‘Spirit of Hela’ for inspection.
**** O’NEILL IN JAPAN TO WELCOME SPIRIT OF HELA ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill arrived in Japan yesterday to welcome the arrival of the first PNG LNG shipment on the Spirit of Hela. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill was received by the Papua New Guinea Ambassador to Japan, Gabriel Dusava, along with officials from the PNG Embassy.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill arrived in Japan yesterday, accompanied by a powerful delegation of ministers and members of parliament. They were received by the PNG Ambassador to Japan, Gabriel Dusava, along with officials from the PNG Embassy. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill is in Tokyo to receive the arrival of the first PNG Liquefied Natural Gas shipment that was loaded onto the tanker - ‘Spirit of Hela’, and which departed for Japan on May 25, 2014. The PNG LNG, operated by ExxonMobil, is expected to produce more than 9 trillion cubic feet of gas over its estimated 30 years of operations.
The first cargo is for the largest LNG customer, Tokyo Electric Power Company or TEPCO, in Japan. The Prime Minister and his delegation, shortly after arrival, attended a welcome reception at the Hotel New Otani, hosted by Ambassador Dusava. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill officially thanked the initial customers of the PNG LNG - Tokyo Electric Power Company or TEPCO, and Osaka Gas, for their tremendous contribution and support towards the PNG LNG project.
He also thanked ExxonMobil for its efforts and firm assurance in seeing this first LNG shipment through. The Prime Minister said with the successful delivery of this first LNG shipment to customers in Japan, it demonstrates PNG’s ability to perform effectively at the international market level. Ambassador Dusava commended the O’Neill-Dion Government for its stewardship in providing a stable political and economic environment under, which all stakeholders were rallied to contribute to the successful construction and delivery of the PNG LNG project. The Prime Minister affirmed PNG’s strong ties with Japan, and said his government is looking forward to further enhancing this relationship through partnerships like these.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill met with various interested investors and attended the official ceremony marking the arrival of the ‘Spirit of Hela’ at a function hosted by ExxonMobil. Tomorrow, the Prime Minister will visit the Futtsu TEPCO Terminal, where he will board the ‘Spirit of Hela’ for inspection.
**** Remarks by Hon. Peter O’Neill, CMG, MP, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister on the occasion of Business visit to Tokyo, Japan to welcome the First Shipment of PNGLNG to Japan. June 3rd, 2014 Imperial Hotel, Tokyo ****
I have made this brief visit to Japan to do more than witness the arrival and unloading of Papua New Guinea’s first LNG export shipment. I have also made this visit to acknowledge and express my appreciation for the support the Japanese energy sector, and the investment community, for the development of our oil and gas sectors over the last two or three decades. It is appropriate that our first LNG export is to the Tokyo Electric Power Company - a major Japanese Energy Company.
One of the partners in our first LNG enterprise - The PNG LNG Project - is JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration which has a a long history of involvement in oil and gas exploration in Papua New Guinea.
The PNG LNG Project, managed by Exxon Mobil, is a multi national joint venture comprising United States, Australian, Japanese and Papua New Guinea shareholders, including the Government of Papua New Guinea and landowners.
Our initial customers are also a multinational group, with long term contracts with energy companies in Japan, The Peoples republic of China and Taiwan.
The early and long term involvement in Japanese enterprises are currently working in PNG in our resource sectors, including mining, forestry, fisheries as well as oil and gas. We welcome this investment - and the confidence in Papua New Guinea which it confirms.
At the Government to Government level, we have had a strong and diversified relationship that dates back to independence almost 40 years ago. We have benefited from generous aid support and we have a strong mutually beneficial trade and investment relationship.
I thank the Government of Japan for its support for Papua New Guinea, and the encouragement it gives Japanese companies investing and Trading with Papua New Guinea. I especially thank JX Nippon for its investment in our first LNG Project, and Tokyo Electric Power Co for being a foundation and long term Customer. As we formally enter the international gas market place we understand the challenges that must go with that role. We must deliver gas reliably and efficiently and do on a long term basis. We have to focus on resource security in all its facets.
We must maintain a strong and confident economic environment that protects major investment, and grows our international reputation as a reliable supplier of energy to the world and especially the Asia region. We have entered an increasingly competitive industry - and we must be prepared to be as competitive industry - and we must prepare to be as competitive as we possibly can be. That is a challenge my Government understands, and increasingly our landowners understand.
The PNG LNG project has been a remarkable success story. The construction phase is being completed ahead of time, and the exports being unloaded are ahead of time. Its is a benchmark we need to embrace for the future.
The project has already had an enormously beneficial impact on Papua New Guinea. The construction phase saw 10,000 Papua New Guineans trained, skilled and employed. It has benefited hundreds of our small to medium enterprises including landowner owned businesses. It will now deliver long term economic and revenue benefits that will secure our future if we manage them well and managing them well is an absolute commitment i have given.
Finally, i again thank Tokyo Electric for being our first customer. Im sure your association with us over the next 30 years or so will be a beneficial one. Its is a privilege to represent the Government and people of Papua New Guinea on this history making occasion.
**** Governor praises government ****
MILNE BAY Governor Titus Philemon has highly commended the national Government for the support that the province is getting for development programs.
Mr Philemon expressed his gratitude to the O’Neill-Dion Government soon after returning from a week-long visit to the Louisiade and Yeleyamba local level government areas of Samarai-Murua District where he launched several projects funded through the Provincial Services Improvement Program (PSIP) and the Transport Services Improvement Program.
He said he is pleased with the progress of the impact projects that have been earmarked for the province. He said the support by the National Government through the PSIP, the District Services Improvement Program (DSIP) and the Local Level Government Services Improvement Program has made a lot of difference with development programs and projects in the LLGs, districts and the province as a whole.
"There is a lot of change taking place in Milne Bay Province and I can attribute this to the support by the National Government. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill and this Government decided to give money to the LLG and Provincial Governments, apart from the support it has given to the districts.
"We now have the money to undertake developments. There is no excuse for provinces, districts and LLGs not to bring developments and improved services to the people in the rural areas," Mr Philemon said.
Governor Philemon visited Misima, where he officiated at the ground breaking ceremonies for a new water supply project for Misima High School, which is to cost K325,000, a health workers housing project and village water supply for Liak village to cost K600,000 and opened a new and cyclone proof building at Eaus village which is to be used both as a church building and a refuge in times of natural disasters like cyclone.
The governor also travelled further to Tagula on Sudest Island where he undertook a ground breaking ceremony for a new K1.7 million wharf and also opened new staff house and classrooms for the Nimoa Hope Academy. At Tagula, he also officially launched a Digicel Tower before heading to Panaeati Island, where another Digicel Tower was launched.
"These are some of our impact programs and projects coming on stream. There are more to be commissioned soon," Governor Philemon said.
**** Kuman plans for project ****
Gumine MP Nick Kuman has assured his electorate that major impact projects have been planned to accelerate socio-economic progress in the district.
Minister Hon. Nick Kuman, who is also Minister for Education, in his talks with his Dirima people over the weekend, said the projects would cost up to K10 million and be strategically located from Gumine government station, Dirima, Orme – Yani, Boromil and Yuri.
Minister Hon. Nick Kuman, in doing a preview of the impact projects to the Dirima people at Kulpoma, said the million kina projects will be located in places that would maintain peace and normalcy to prevail among tribes. "The location of the projects are identified with the aim to maintain law and order so that without tribal conflicts people can concentrate on improving their living standards through educating their children and engaging in economic activities," he said.
He said the District Support Improvement Project funding of K10 million remained intact with not a single toea being touched, and this money will be invested in projects that would benefit the majority of the people in Gumine.
Minister Hon. Nick Kuman said the planned projects included a business centre with banking and communication facilities, a rural hospital, a poly-technical college and other training institutions, and major renovations of the district administration buildings. He said road sealing from Gumine to to Mul, the boarder of Salt-Nomane sub district, and from Dirima to Olegain is also on the plan.
He added that semi-permanent buildings, as a housing project, will also be pursued as part of the impact projects for the district. "The Government wants to pursue its priorities in education, health, roads and infrastructure; and this is how I am incorporating the impact projects into the priorities of the Government," he said.
**** Milne Bay enjoys boom ****
With constant support from the Government, Milne Bay is seeing developments it has not seen in a long while, Governor Titus Philemon says. Philemon said that through the provincial, district and local level government, services improvement programmes made it possible for these developments and he was pleased with the progress of all projects in the province. He said this after returning from a week-long visit to the Louisiade and Yeleyamba LLGs in the Samarai- Murua district. He was in the area to launch several projects funded through the PSIP and the Transport Services Improvement Programme (TSIP).
“There is a lot of change taking place in Milne Bay province and I can attribute this to the support by the Government,” Philemon said.
“Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill and this government decided to give money to the LLGs and provincial governments, apart from the support it has given to the districts. “We now have the money to undertake developments.
“There is no excuse for provinces, districts and LLGs not to bring developments and improve services for people in the rural areas,” Philemon said. He visited Misima, where he officiated at the ground breaking ceremony for a new water supply project and a housing project for health workers costing K950,000
Philemon opened a cyclone-proof building in the area to be by locals during disasters. The governor travelled to Tagula on Sudest Island where he opened a K1.7 million wharf and new staff house and classrooms for the Nimoa Hope Academy. “These are some of our impact programmes and projects coming on stream. There are more to be commissioned soon.” In Tagula, Philemon also officially launched a Digicel tower before heading to Panaeati Island, where another Digicel tower was launched.
**** Awesa vows to get Lae, Morobe roads sealed ****
Works Minister Francis Awesa has promised the people of Lae and Morobe that all roads in the city will be sealed. He said more than K100 million had already been spent to improve the city roads. Another K130 million will be allocated later to cover all roads in the industrial hub under the supervision of the Works Department. Awesa was at the 9-Mile market for the ground-breaking ceremony for the 45km four-lane super-highway out of the city to be built by China Railway International. “This time we are getting the design right, getting the scoping right, getting the state of concrete pavement right and, we have spent more than a K100 million already,” he said.
**** Japan spends K39m on grassroots projects ****
JAPAN will have spent approximately K39 million on about 264 grassroots grant projects (GGP) throughout Papua New Guinea by this month. Japan, as one of the major donors of the official development assistance for Papua New Guinea, launched GGP in 1989 for the purpose of reducing poverty and helping various communities engaged in grassroots activities. GGP is contributing to "empowering the people through improved education and life skills" empowered by Papua New Guinea Vision 2050. As of June 2014, 264 grassroots projects funded by GGP have been implemented through NGOs, local government units and other non-profit organisations including hospitals and schools.
The total grant projects so far amounts to US$14million (Approximately K39 million). This funding is different from other projects that Japan is assisting in different areas of development in PNG. Tomorrow, Hiroharu Iwasaki, Ambassador of Japan to Papua New Guinea, will be the guest of honour at Caritas Learning Centre in Port Moresby at the opening ceremony of yet another two-storey four block-classrooms building funded by the Japanese government through this same grant.
In 2012, the Embassy of Japan, under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP), made available to Caritas Learning Centre total grant worth up to US$106, 964 (8,664,084Yen) / K210, 721 for the construction of two-storey four block-classrooms aiming at expanding its capacity to educate many more students to relieve them from crowded or shortage of classrooms. Now that all the work has been completed, it is expected that these new facilities will provide the students and teachers with a much better learning and teaching environment.
In his speech, Mr Iwasaki congratulated the Learning Centre on its successful implementation of the project, adding that this new classrooms should be fully utilized so that it will benefit the school children of the community for many years to come. He also expressed his sincere hope that the project when completed will represent a significant step forward in further strengthening the friendship and partnership that Japan has maintained with Papua New Guinea.
**** Marape slams lawyer’s comments on UBS loan ****
Finance Minister James Marape has slammed statements by lawyer John Napu over the UBS loan and Oil Search share issues.
"I am shocked by the comments made by John Napu. He does not know what he is talking about when it comes to this deal done with Oil Search," Mr Marape said.
"More importantly it is not a new loan, it has never been a new loan; it is simply replacing another loan. He should get it into his head that this loan is replacing the IPIC loan, which we had for many years to finance our participation in the LNG project."
Mr Marape said the LNG project is one of the most important to the country and is delivering huge benefits to the people of PNG and the government.
"Our investment in these oil and gas projects is very necessary to gain maximum benefits for our country and the people of PNG. We will and must keep investing in the future of PNG and be a part of the process when it comes to major projects in the oil and gas sector.
"We have not made any mistake or any error in our investment, it is only idiotic people like John Napu who lack commercial experience and knowledge and continue misleading our people on the real benefits of these projects.
"So far we have had substantial gains in the value of our investment with Oil Search shares. Is he suggesting that we just give it all away? That is simply madness. Who would walk away from an investment that has delivered millions in value already, and will for a long time into the future."
Mr Marape said the country will need every kina to develop and to improve on all the services and infrastructure requirements that have been lacking for many years.
Meanwhile, good governance advocate James Wanjik was also critical of Mr Napu’s comments on the handling of the UBS loan case.
"Unless the Supreme Court rules the UBS loan for shares in Oil Search Limited is unconstitutional, the Ombudsman Commission has no primary jurisdiction. It means the Ombudsman Commission’s directive to leaders referred to by John Napu (published in The National on Tuesday) is legally problematic. How can John Napu be wrong at law again?"
**** STATISTICAL REPORTS RELEASED ****
National Planning and Monitoring Minister, Charles Abel, released four statistical reports from the National Statistical Office yesterday in Port Moresby. The four include, the Papua New Guinea Standard Industrial Classification, the updated 2011 National Population and Housing Census, the new Consumer Price Index, and the N.S.O’s Corporate Plan from 2015 to 2019.
The collaboration between the National Planning and Monitoring Department and the N.S.O underpinned these 4 areas to achieve accuracy with PNG’s population, to update the current trend of consumer purchasing, and bring PNG abreast with international standards of classifying its economic activities. The updated Consumer Price Index is based on the new basket of goods and services derived from the results of the 2009/10 Household Income and Expenditure Survey.
The CPI measures changes in the price of a basket of goods which account for a high proportion of expenditures by town households in PNG. Prices were gathered from eight towns to compile the updated CPI. The 2011 National Population and Housing Census at the Ward Level taken from the four regions of the country, aims to tackle the issue of population accuracy. The PNG Standard Industrial Classification 2014 is more detailed than its previous structure from the year 2000, since its responds to the growing need of identifying new industries separately.
The PNGSIC 2014 is derived from the UN International Standard Industrial Classification 2008, with modifications done to suit PNG’s requirements to maintain consistency with international standards, for classifying data in the economic and social sectors. The National Statistical Office Corporate Plan from 2015 to 2019 aims to underpin two of its major projects; the National Strategies for the Development of Statistics and the PNG National Identity Project.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill returns from Japan ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill who returned from Japan after delivering the first gas to its foundation customer has stated that each shipment of gas out of the country is estimated to rake around USD50 million. He said this is a substantial export for the nation that will see good revenue flow for the nation.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill and his delegation arrived from Japan yesterday where they witnessed the first PNG LNG delivered to one of the foundation customers, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). "We just travelled to Japan to witness the ceremony unloading the first LNG export to Japan, that went successfully. It is traditional that these things happen in Japanese culture and custom so we took part In the ceremony with TEPCO, the largest buyer of our LNG in that country," he said.
"It is an honour that we represented our people especially the people of Southern Highlands and Hela province with the two Governors Anderson Agiru and William Powi with Members Francis Potape, Philip Undialu, James Marape, and Petroleum and Energy Minister Nixon Duban.” "We have become the 20th country in the world to be an LNG exporter."
**** Japanese PM to visit PNG in July ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill yesterday confirmed the visit of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Papua New Guinea from July 10-12.It will be the first time in 29 years that a Japanese Prime Minister is visiting PNG since Yasuhiro Nakasone came to our shores in 1985.Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill told reporters upon his return from Japan yesterday that Prime Minister Abe will be in Port Moresby and will also visit other parts of PNG including Wewak. "Yes the Japan Prime Minister will visit on the 10th to the 12th of next month and will be in Port Moresby and other parts of Papua New Guinea, including Wewak,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said."That shows the confidence a member of the Global G7 country has on PNG. "This is also shows the confidence Japan has in PNG because they see what we are doing.” The Prime Minister appealed to the media industry to be positive and stop being negative as the country is now moving forward in its major developments.Government officials said the two countries will discuss PNG LNG project that Japanese companies are interested in apart from normal government discussions.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill: Im here to make a difference for PNG ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has made it clear he is not power hungry and the proposed constitutional amendment was done by the registrar of political parties.
The Prime Minister, who arrived yesterday from Japan with his delegation after witnessing the delivery of PNG gas to its first customer in Japan, said the proposed laws were not done by Peter O’Neill or the Government.
"It is not being proposed by the O’Neill government or the O’Neill members of parliament as you tried to allude to. I want to say this again that both the Constitutional Review Committee and the Registrar of Political Parties have consulted the nation, they have consulted leaders and after that wide consultation they have come up with amendments to repeal the entire OLIPPAC (Organic Law on Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates) law because the OLIPPAC law had some provisions of the old one which were deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme court."
He said as part of the "clean-up exercise" the registrar deemed that they introduce a new one which will be brought to Parliament. "The new amendments will include a provision which I think is very fair and consistent with the invitation after the general election by the Governor General to the party that has got the biggest number, consistent with that I think, should there be a vote of no confidence on a minister or the Prime Minister, that party that has got the mandate of the people," he said.
"If I did not have the confidence of the caucus of government, I will resign. I am not power hungry and please bear that in mind," he said. "I can go and face my people tomorrow if I have to and be confident in what I have achieved."
**** Marape commends office for enhancing peoples’ power ****
Finance Minister and Leader of Government Business James Marape has commended the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties in its endeavor to augment the people’s power as expressed through the outcome of the general election.
"Election is a serious business and must be given great respect and Parties that have secured people’s mandate through sale of their Party policies must be respected," he said. Mr Marape said the proposed constitutional amendments does not infringe on individual members right to vote on who they see as fit to be Prime Minister.
"The current amendment still allows for motion of no confidence, only difference is that it limits the first choice of candidate of Prime Minister in a successful motion of no confidence to the candidates within the party invited to form government. If the party’s choice fails then rest of parliament can nominate leader of their choice."
Mr Marape said the Party that gain government at the elections deserves to run its term and may the same people throw the party out if they are not satisfied with service delivery and economic performance as measured against their election promises. He said this is similar to Australian trend for instance Prime Ministership change head but government remains.
"Political instability derails development hence we have to create stability of politics that leads economic growth. For those who worry about the myth of dictatorship, may I assure all that we are a nation of a thousand tribe and their voices and spirits are captured in our national constitution and this amendment of a subservient law to constitution is congruent to the spirit and practice of democracy."
**** $2b gas chemical project a priority ****
The National Government will now put the $US2billion petrochemical project as a priority, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill announced yesterday.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill and his team went to Japan this week and met with high profile executives of Sojitz Corporation, the company that has proposed to build a gas chemical production project using natural gas produced in the country at Konebada Petroleum Park this year.
"Papua New Guinea has made it very clear to our partners in Japan that we are interested in developing the petrochemical industry," Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
"Yes, it might not give us the same revenue as the PNG LNG export but it is important that we provide employment opportunities for our people.
The Petrochemical Industry will employ thousands and thousands of people and this Government will put priority to that and we are now already in agreement with ExxonMobil on the current project and they will supply gas to power our cities and towns electricity – generate power by gas. "ExxxonMobil and partner are already working together on this too," he said.
Petroleum Minister Nixon Duban and Hela Governor Anderson Agiru confirmed a proposal on the project was already before the government and said that both parties are now working on the 15 per cent domestic market obligation for the project.
**** 20 RPNGC, PNGDF PERSONNEL OFF TO ISRAEL ****
The Government of Papua New Guinea has deployed over 20 of its military and police personnel to Israel for a month-long intensive security training. Deputy Prime Minister Leo Dion was at the airport last Saturday, on behalf of Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill, to farewell these young officers. “This is a proud moment for your families as well as for PNG, as you will be proudly flying our national flag in Israel,” Mr Dion said.
He said the training for the next four weeks may be intense however in the end it will be worth it. This is a historical event as you are the pride of this nation – the first batch that will undergo very tough training in Israel,” Mr Dion said. He congratulated the young officers and encouraged them to put in their best efforts in the coming weeks. “On behalf of the Prime Minister, the Government and people of PNG, we look forward to your success and your capacity to return and impart your skills and knowledge to your fellow officers,” Mr Dion said.
These officers ages range between 25 and 35 and were selected according to their physically appearances and after meeting various health requirements. The contingent comprises of 10 officers from the Royal PNG Constabulary and 10 from the PNG Defence Force, who are accompanied by five protocol officers. This intensive security training follows an agreement signed between the governments of PNG and Israel last year, during Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill’s official visit to Israel. “This security training arrangement is also to prepare PNG’s security forces for the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Corporation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit, which will be hosted here in Port Moresby in 2018,” Mr Dion reiterated. He said they arrived yesterday and are expected to commence training today (9/06/14).
**** PNG gas powers Tokyo for 3 days ****
Papua New Guinea’s recent gas shipment sold to the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) last week for more than US$50 million has powered Tokyo and other prefectures for three days. TEPCO said the gas it purchased helped to supply electricity to Tokyo and parts of Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Tochigi, Gunma, Ibaraki, Yamanashi and east Shizuoka.
TEPCO also stated that they will purchase approximately 1.8 million tons of LNG per year for 20 years starting from late 2014 and that the PNG LNG Project will have an annual supply capacity of approximately 6.6 million tons of LNG. TEPCO’s president Naomi Hirose who met with Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said in his statement that TEPCO considers that the PNG LNG Project is one of the most promising projects that was initially expected to start-up by the mid-2010, however kicked off in mid 2014 and that the overall terms and conditions of the agreement are attractive for both parties. The PNG LNG Project is an integrated development which includes gas production and processing facilities, onshore and offshore pipelines and liquefaction facilities.
**** PM gives green light for housing project ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has given the green light for the National Housing Corporation to pursue and implement the 40,000 housing project at Durham farm in Port Moresby. Housing Minister Paul Isikiel last Friday met with Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill, who gave the thumbs up for NHC to pursue the proposed K1.3 billion offshore financing for the construction of the 40 000 houses.
This comes after last week’s announcement by the Prime Minister of the K200 million loan facility available from Bank South Pacific to first time home buyers. The mechanics through which the Chinese funding arrangement has been negotiated and arrived at differs from the normal loan arrangements as it will be fully facilitated by the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement through the Build, Operate and Sell concept.
In welcoming Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill’s intervention, Minister Isikiel said the K200 million will complement the PPP arrangements that the Housing Ministry and the NHC is pursuing to deliver housing solutions for the country. On the Chinese offshore financing of K1.3billion, the Housing Minister added that the financier will build on its own strength without any cost to the State or borne by NHC and its onshore partners including National Housing Estate Limited (NHEL) and Niule NO:16 as private industry player.
"The negotiations were not around the normal mechanics of loan arrangements but will stem directly from the PPP arrangement whereby the financier will come on board on its own strength and join the onshore partnership of NHC, NHEL and Niule," Mr Isikiel said. "The financier will build on its own strength without any financial obligations to the State while NHC and joint partners will offer the land as platform to build on."
The Markham MP also made remarks in response to the Bulolo MP and Deputy Opposition Leader Sam Basil’s comments in the media last week which claimed the Housing Minister and the Prime Minister were at loggerheads on housing issues. Mr Isikiel said he respected the decision of the Prime Minister and remains affirmed to decisions his Government advocates to address serious housing shortages both in the medium to long term.
**** PNG grows stronger ****
Papua New Guinea is on track to achieve its forecast 21% gross domestic product growth next year despite concern hanging over its current debt level, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill says. He was responding to Moody’s Investors Service report which says the country’s start-up last month of liquefied natural gas exports “is a transformative development that will positively impact economic growth, the government's fiscal position, and the balance of payments”.
The reports says: “The successful implementation of this large investment – the PNG LNG Project – paves the way for additional projects that will more productively monetise the country’s ample endowment of energy and mineral resources. It also supports the prospects for sustaining PNG’s recent track record of high growth.”
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill welcomed Moody’s confirmation of the country’s sovereign rating which remains at B1 (stable outlook), saying critics of the Government should stop “scaremongering and spreading falsehoods about our economic future”.
“The report confirms the Government’s estimate that PNG will achieve world-beating gross domestic growth of 21% in 2015,” he said.
“Moody’s have confirmed our sovereign rating is unchanged, despite the considerable economic challenges we have faced principally brought about by low process for our major mining exports.” Moody’s conclusions were contained in its just-released credit analysis which looks at the country’s credit profile in terms of economic strength (assessed as low); institutional strength (very low); fiscal strength (high) and susceptibility to event risk (moderate). They represent the four main analytic factors in its sovereign bond rating methodology. The analysis constitutes an annual update to investors and is not a rating action.
The report describes the PNG LNG project as “the most notable economic development of the past few years, and perhaps of PNG’s relatively short history as a country”. Moody’s report however points out the country’s current risks, including the government debt level.
“Fiscal rules have been continually amended to accommodate the consequently large increases in debt, allowing for a rise in debt beyond statutory limits and eroding the country’s track record of fiscal prudence,” it says. “Primary fiscal surpluses have reverted to increasingly wide deficits since 2012, although funding pressures have been muted, given the government’s reliance on low-cost domestic sources of financing. “Revenue growth has been adversely impacted by developments in the mining sector – including lower global prices for the country’s commodity exports – and the situation reflects in part the lack of diversification in the economy.
“At the same time, the run-up in public spending leverages upon the fiscal space afforded by the decade-long decline in the government’s debt burden, while also assuming significant revenue accretion from LNG exports over the near-term.”
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill stands by loans ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has defended the Government’s decision to increase its level of borrowing, saying it was needed to “bring forward vital services” such as free education and health care. He was responding to the latest Moody’s Investors Services report which highlighted the Government’s “amending of fiscal rules to accommodate the consequently large increase in debt, allowing for a rise in debt beyond statutory limits and eroding the country’s track record of fiscal prudence”.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill welcomed the report’s “observations” on the debt level, saying they “will be considered by the Treasury and other departments and agencies” but that it was a right decision. “I remain firmly of the view that Government’s decision to increase debt to bring forward vital services such as free education and improved health services, as well as important infrastructure such as highways and roads, has been the right decision for our nation and our people,” he said.
“The report points out the commencement of LNG exports will deliver significant revenue inflows to the Government as will the several other gas development projects now going through the approval processes.
“The position Moody’s have outlined on debt and debt reduction will of course be carefully considered by the government.
“But the Government stands by the decision to carefully increase borrowings in the certain knowledge that it was needed to improve living standards, and maintain growth in the face of the significant mining downturn.” He welcomed Moody’s confirmation of PNG’s sovereign rating remaining at B1 (stable outlook).
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said PNG’s B1 rating reflected the expectation the Government would undertake fiscal consolidation in line with its medium-term fiscal strategy. “This confirmation provides the best possible answer to the small number of people with vested interests and pushing anti-government agendas who have been trying to undermine PNG and our future,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said. “The scare mongering and spreading of total falsehoods about our economic future is totally deplorable and contrary to the national interest.
“Moody in a comprehensive report have confirmed our sovereign rating is unchanged, despite the considerable economic challenges we have faced principally brought about by low prices for our major mining exports. “The report confirms the government’s estimate that PNG will achieve world-beating GDP growth of 21% in 2015.”
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said strong economic growth driven by further gas development, including downstream processing, as well as spending on economically-beneficial infrastructure and small and medium sized business growth, would help provide the revenue needed to reduce debt.
Potape: Govts must complete full 5-year term
For Papua New Guinea to have political stability, parties and their candidates must have a law ensuring the government of the day completes its full five year term.
Komo Margarim MP Francis Potape (pictured right) said this in light of recent plans to amend the Constitution which will restrict candidates for the position of the Prime Minister after a successful vote of no confidence. The People’s National Congress, led by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, will be the sole beneficiary of the proposed legislation as it was the political party which was invited by the Governor-General to form government in August 2012 after the general election.
Mr Potape said the changes by the government initiated by the Registrar of Political Parties were not a new idea.“These ideas were floating for some time and what the government is doing is in the best interest of the country.
During my term as minister assisting the Prime Minister on Constitutional matters this idea was one of the changes I planned in order to bring stability to Parliament, that is to govern the political parties and their candidates the right way,” Mr Potape said.
“There must be a process or a system in place to govern our political parties and their candidates and ensure the party with the mandate governs for the full term.
”He said in Australia the party with the mandate governs for the full term and the only changes that happen within the ruling party is when the party votes for their new leader which is the prime minister; and not the whole parliament.
“This system should be practiced here in PNG. In this case the PNC was invited by the Governor-General to form the government because they have the mandate,” Mr Potape said.
“The PNC must complete its five year term and should there be a change to its leadership, PNC party members vote and decide rather than Parliament.”He said for PNG to ensure political stability everything starts at the polls with parties and their candidates.
He said to ensure political maturity there should be a law to govern the following: only qualified candidates (with no criminal record) should contest the polls; there should be an increase in the election fee to K10,000 per candidate; parties endorsing candidates should support them with K35,000 to campaign; the party with the mandate (i.e more winning candidates) should govern for the full term; political parties with less than five winning candi-dates should be dismissed; MPs who resign from one party to join another should automatically resign from the floor of Parliament.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill commends Dept of Justice and Attorney General ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has commended the Department of Justice and Attorney-General for generating the majority of the national government’s legislative program in 2013. The Prime Minister’s commendation was delivered to the Attorney-General and Justice Minister, Kerenga Kua during a recent National Executive Council meeting in Port Moresby. Mr Kua said Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill was happy with the department’s performance in 2013, when it generated the majority of the government’s legislative enactment in Parliament.
“Our excellent performance resulted in the O’Neill-Dion Government enacting over 50 legislations in that one year alone.“Never before has any government before or after Independence, enacted over 50 legislations in one single year,” Mr Kua said.
He also said that other senior leaders in the government have also expressed similar sentiments. In a circular to all staff, the secretary for Justice and the Attorney-General, Dr Lawrence Kalinoe, advised that the commitment and dedication in what they do in their line of work has contributed to this outstanding and commendable performance by the Prime Minister, the O’Neill-Dion Government and other political leaders.
“The part you played in-dividually, either in human resources or accounts etc. etc. has added towards this achievement.“These roles have a flow on effect leading to our perform-ance as an organisation, so ir-respective of where you are, your work counts towards this performance.” “This is also a vindication of the strength of work planning and performance review and monitoring process that we have embarked on as an organisation of tasks for implementation in the period of the review,” Dr Kalinoe said.He said the Prime Minister, Attorney-General and Justice Minister have encouraged departmental staff to keep up the good work to improve their performance from 2013.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill visited Jimi District in the Jiwaka Province yesterday for the opening of the District Treasury office at Tabibuga Station. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill also handed over the keys of three brand new ambulance Land cruisers to the District Health services ****
**** MARAWAKA GETS K1m FROM GOVT ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill today (13/06/14) presented a cheque of one million kina to the Marawaka District in the Obura-Wonenara electorate of Eastern Highlands Province. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill was in the district to officially open the mini hydro power plant, two footbridges and also participate in the ground breaking ceremony of the new Yelia High School also known as the Marawaka Lutheran High School.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill presented the K1 million cheque to the District Administrator, Erinu Kasong, to assist in kick-starting and completing outstanding projects in the district.The crowd that came to witness this historical event turned up in hundreds from surrounding villages as well as neighbouring provinces like Morobe and Gulf.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said these successful projects being opened and launched today are real evidence of good leadership and close partnership with
churches and the private sector. These arrangements are also aligned with the O’Neill-Dion Government’s priorities to enhance and further strengthen our Public Private Partnership (PPP) program. He thanked the International Water Projects for its close partnershipwith the Eastern Highlands Province to successfully construct this mini hydro electricity plant, which can supply power amounting over 100 kilowatts.This achievement, however, only provides five percent of its power to the Marawaka Station, whereas the power supply has the capacity to cater for more buildings and infrastructure.
“I would also like to thank Care International PNG for the great work it has done in building the three footbridges, two of which I am here to open - the Simbari and Simogu footbridges today. “I am also aware that Care International PNG, with the support of EHP, has agreed to build six more footbridges throughout the Obura-Wonenara Constituency and I am grateful for this kind gesture,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said. He applauded the ESP Governor, Julie Soso and local MP, Mehra Kipefa for the job well done in Marawaka and assured the government’s support. “It is our Government’s focus to develop our rural communities to where they should have been many years ago. “When forming this government in 2012, strong interventions were made by us to improve the lives of our people, especially in the rural areas. “Marawaka is no different from the many districts we visit almost every day. These are in terms of service delivery, where many communities have deteriorated over the years,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
He further urged the people of Obura-Wonenara to take ownership of these government services delivered to them and take good care of them.“It is not easy to maintain these kinds of infrastructure; therefore you must use them wisely and with utmost care. “This government understands that you are seriously in need of roads
and I am pleased that your governor has recognized your needs. Therefore, the O’Neill-Dion Government assures you that it is determined to support her.
“This government is not done delivering vital services to the people of PNG. We will continue delivering services till the next general elections in 2017,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said. He assured the people that he would return to Marawaka to open more projectss like the new roads from Menyamya to Marawaka and another
from Kainantu to Marawaka. The Prime Minister was also made the Chief of Marawaka by the two chiefs of Obura and Wonenara during the event. He is the first Prime Minister to visit that part of the province.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill, media council slam attack on TV crew ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neil has condemned the action of Port Moresby police who reportedly roughed up an EMTV news crew last week outside the city.
"We all should respect each other for what we do," the Prime Minister said. He said journalists must be respected because they contribute a lot to the development of a nation. He said what the police had done is not right. He said he will take up the issue with the police commissioner. "We all should respect each other in whatever profession we are in. We must do our job in the right way,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said. "Journalists are the mouthpiece of the people and the voice of the voiceless. "They write stories which challenge, educate, inform people. They also write, broadcast or televise stories that help people to keep updates of what is happening around the world and the country.” He said the journalists are doing their job so they should be respected for what they are doing.
**** PNG TO PARTNER WITH NEW ZEALAND ****
The state will soon partner with the New Zealand government through its Public Enterprise and Trade and Foreign Affairs departments to begin work on developing Geo-thermal energy in the nation. This was announced by Public Enterprise and State Investment minister Ben Micah in Port Moresby. The minister was part of a PNG delegation to New Zealand to follow up on the recent visit by Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill
The minister said PNG has a lot to learn from New Zealand from developing geo-thermal energy to compensating land owners for the use of their land in developing major state infrastructures. His trip to New Zealand prompted him to develop a proper blueprint for the nation to guide the development of the geo-thermal energy in the nation. Currently PNG does not have a proper blueprint in place and the minister is confident to present a framework to cabinet once one is created. When asked on how soon the framework will be ready, the minister said geo-thermal is a complex issue and promised to complete the framework while being the minister responsible. This can be seen as another alternative the minister is taking to minimise the continuous power outrages experienced in almost all provinces.
**** GET OUT THERE AND SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR PM ****
Yesterday and today have seen unprecedented support being shown by the people of Papua New Guinea for the Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill.
The Court House has seen thousands of supporters rallying to show there on-going support for this amazing Prime Minister. This Prime Minister has delivered real results for the country and all of the people in PNG.
While some of the Social Media channels would like everyone to believe that our Prime Minister has no support, today has been a clear example of the real support that he does have in the country.
The support is coming from across PNG, with people rallying behind the Prime Minister to show there commitment to him and the Government. The people of PNG are commenting that they don't want to loose this Prime Minister that has done so much for the country. People are also commenting that people would have to be blind not to see the changes right across the country.
We encourage more people who support the Prime Minister, to be more vocal in his support of him. Show the rest of PNG that you believe in this Prime Minister and work he has done and will continue to do for PNG.
Don't let a loud few, take this Prime Minister away with a politically motivated stunt to try and discredit him.
The Prime Minister is "growing the future" of Papua New Guinea in the best way possible.
Lets not forget that this is the first Prime Minister and Government to bring in -
With this Prime Minister and this Government, these vital new policies would have never occurred and these are just the beginning of the many new initiatives.
Continue your support PNG for the Prime Minister and the Government of PNG. The Government is delivering and will continue to deliver with this Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill.
**** PM’s party shows solidarity ****
MEMBERS of the ruling People’s National Congress Party turned up in numbers at Parliament to show solidarity for Prime Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday.
Coalition partners also joined PNC members to show their support for Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill, which included the THE party’s Leo Dion, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, and Social Democratic Party Leader and Governor for the National Capital District, Powes Parkop to name a few.
Four leaders spoke on behalf of their regions: Enga Governor Peter Ipatas for the Highlands Region; Transport Minister and Rigo MP Ano Pala pledged the Papuan region support; Trade Minister and Yangoru Sausia MP Richard Maru did so for Momase and Mr Dion spoke on behalf of the New Guinea Islands.
Mr Dion appealed to all media organisations to be fair and sensible in their reporting and to take serious responsibility in the coverage these issues.
"The process must be respected," Mr Dion said.
"I must also appeal to the media to be responsible in its reporting. I speak on behalf of the New Guinea Islands region, we have the responsibility to look after this nation.” Mr Parkop on the other hand said: "We are not protecting Peter O’Neill as a person but we have to protect the public office that he holds. This is the highest office of our land and I appeal to the leaders involved, let us put the interest of the people first and foremost."
**** PM: We will reclaim land lost to illegal SABLS ****
The O’Neill/Dion Government is cancelling all Special Agriculture and Business Leases (SABLs) obtained illegally, and will abolish provisions of the Land Act which allows for SABLs to be granted.
“We are taking these steps to reclaim our customary land illegally lost to foreigners with the help of corrupt public servants and leaders,” Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said today.
The canceling of SABLs and repealing of the Land Act are part of a number of decisive steps which Cabinet approved this week to be taken to implement the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into the SABLs.
The Prime Minister said Cabinet decided to:
. cancel all SABLs obtained illegally which the COI recommended to be revoked;
. repeal provisions of the Land Act which allows for SABLs to be issued;
. direct the Department of Lands and Physical Planning not to process any more SABL;
. ensure all SABLs not assessed by the COI to be reviewed by the Ministerial Committee;
. set up a team to fully implement the COI recommendations and the NEC decision.
“As a responsible government we want to ensure that all citizens have access to the lands of their ancestors. We will not allow our land to be lost to unscrupulous people out to con our people,” the Prime Minister said.
The COI into SABLs was established by the then Acting Prime Minister Hon. Sam Abal MP in July 2011 with the appointment of three Commissioners.
Originally the CoI was given three months to investigate a total of 75 SABLs granted by the Department of Lands and Physical Planning since 2003.
Upon assuming office as Prime Minister in August 2011, O’Neill retained the CoI and extended its term by another 5 months to allow the CoI to properly complete its work.
After spending K15 million the CoI has failed to present a coherent final report to me as the Prime Minister. The “Final” Reports of the two Commissioners covered only 42 out of 77 SABLs the three Commissioners were required to investigate.
Even then the two reports by the two Commissioners did not conform to the normal practice of COI reports.
The “Final” Reports of the two Commissioners covered only 42 out of 77 SABLs the three Commissioners were required to investigate.
The 77 SABLs referred to the CoI for investigation involved some 5.2 million hectares of land. With the proliferation in the issuance of SABLs since the 1990s, overnight the total customary owned land in PNG decreased from 97% to 86%.
The SABL was not meant to be a permanent alienation of customary land. Initially SABLs were issued for less than 40 years but without any apparent rationale or proper justification the duration of SABLs was increased to 99 years in many instances.
Summary of the Two Commissioners’ Findings on SABL
The “Final” Report of the two Commissioners that was presented to me indicated the following.
• Systematic abuse of authority by certain officers was common place in the various Departments and Agencies investigated.
• Undue political pressure from the Prime Minister down was exerted on government officials.
• There were widespread and systematic breach of various laws.
• There was no systematic procedure in place in the Department of Lands and Physical Planning to guide the processing of SABL and for granting of SABLs.
• The Government policies pertaining to land was unclear.
• A confused state of affairs existed wherein certain officers involved (including some very senior officers) did not know who had power to exercise certain authority such as the issuing of Certificate of Alienability and whether it was necessary at all.
• There appeared to be a lack of cooperation between the key agencies involved with the issuing and regulating use of SABLs.
• Fraudulent practices were discovered in numerous cases.
After three meetings the Ministerial Committee comprising of eight very senior Government Ministers chaired by the Minister for Forests Hon. Douglas Tomuriesa MP made a number of recommendations which were endorsed by the National Executive Council.
The NEC upon advice of the Ministerial Committee on SABL chaired by the Minister for Forests Hon. Douglas Tomuriesa MP approved of the following measures to tackle issues and concerns pertaining to SABL.
1. That the Government has decided to repeal the provisions of the SABL in the Lands Act to prevent any more SABL dealings since there are other land laws administered by the Department of Lands and Physical Planning that allow for voluntary customary land registration to convert customary land to leasehold land if customary landowners desire to do so.
2. That the Department of Lands and Physical Planning will continue to observe previous NEC Decision not to process or issue any more SABL.
3. Where appropriate the Government will take steps to revoke SABLs recommended by the two CoI Reports to be revoked.
4. Subject to formal legal advice from the Department of Justice and Attorney General, the Department of Lands and Physical Planning as well as the Department of Environment and Conservation can review existing SABLs and where legally sound to apply appropriate administrative procedures to holders of SABLs.
5. After proper scrutiny with proper legal advice the Ministerial Committee will continue to screen all SABLs not assessed by the two CoI Reports and to make known its findings and recommendations on a case by case basis.
6. Where appropriate and taking into account the interest of the parties involved and the agreement of the affected landowners, certain SABLs can be made compliant by following the proper guidelines to be established by the Ministerial Committee on SABL upon sound legal advice and taking into consideration the recommendations of the respective CoI Reports.
7. To make the administration of Incorporated Land Groups (ILGs) more effective the Department of Lands and Physical Planning together with the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) are to take steps including legislative amendments to transfer administration of the ILGs from the Department of Lands and Physical Planning to the IPA which has an established and proven effective system for administration of incorporated associations.
8. The NEC has approved the establishment of a Special SABL Taskforce to be staffed by persons not previously involved in the issuance and administration of the SABL to be based within the Forest Ministry which shall report to the Ministerial Committee on SABL with an initial budget of K3 million to:
• address matters raised by the findings of the CoI,
• implement the recommendations of the CoI,
• investigate all the other SABLs not investigated by the CoI, and
• follow up on decisions of the Ministerial Committee and the NEC pertaining to SABLs.
That the Department of Finance shall immediately release K3 million to the PNGFA to finance the operations of the Special SABL Taskforce.
The Ministerial Committee on SABL shall determine the membership and composition of the Special SABL Taskforce and its terms of reference and of engagement.
To ensure the best interest of all parties involved in each SABL including traditional land owners the Ministerial Committee on SABL will continue to oversee the SABL and consider each SABL on a case by case basis. The Ministerial Committee is empowered to investigate all other SABLs issued by the Department of Lands and Physical Planning that were not investigated by the SABL Commission of Inquiry.
Commercially, the SABL is a failed concept and will be repealed. Traditional land owners can still register their lands by converting their land into leasehold land if they so desire under the Land Registration (Customary) (Amendment) Act 2009.
**** O’Neill: Kauba’s sacking good for country ****
DEPUTY Police Commissioner Simon Kauba has been terminated from the Police Force.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill announced the National Executive Council decision yesterday and announced the appointment of Assistant Commissioner Jim Andrews as the new acting Deputy Commissioner.
"I want to announce that cabinet has revoked the appointment of Deputy Commissioner for Police Simon Kauba. He has been terminated forthwith as of 3 o’clock today (yesterday), and we have appointed Mr Jim Andrews, to be acting in that position."
"He (Kauba) has been terminated because he is not complying to instructions given to him by command and control by the acting Commissioner of Police and he has been terminated in the interest of the nation. We cannot continue to have policemen and women who are employees of government running around trying to undermine government decisions.
"Whether we like it or not if there are decisions that they disagree, they must go to the courts, that’s what the courts are there for."
"I think it is important that we give confidence, we cannot continue to engage in this way where work of the police is continued to be undermine, we will terminate everybody who continue to undermine the work of the government.
"This government has had enough, I am not going to put up with this little games anymore, we will make sure we continue to run this country for the good of the people and I think we have an obligation to do so,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
**** Govt okays minimum wages ****
The Government has endorsed an increase of K3.20 per hour in minimum wages for workers throughout the country.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill announced the National Executive Council decision on wednesday, that cabinet has approved +Minimum Wage Board Determination of K3.20 from the previous K2.29 per hour.
"Yes, cabinet has already approved the recommendations from the Minimum Wages Board and I want to assure workers throughout the country that this government has taken a responsible decision by endorsing the recommendations made by the board to government."
The Prime Minister said this after NEC convened and endorsed the 2013/14 Minimum Wage Determination that was handed down by the Minimum Wages Board.
The news was welcomed by the PNG Trade Union Congress (PNGTUC) on behalf of more than 70 000 minimum wage workers throughout the country.
"In terms of wages in PNG , this has to be one of the sweetest achievement of my entire career in the union movement as I’m sure it is for minimum wage earners and workers," PNGTUC General Secretary John Paska said yesterday.
"The fight to restore minimum wages to adequate levels commenced after the disastrous 1992 Minimum Wage Determination which based its decision purely on ideological lines," Mr Paska said.
**** New Minister for Transport ****
The Prime Minister attended the swearing-in ceremony of the new Minister For Transport, Malakai Tabar (Gazelle MP) today, at Government House, by the Governor-General, Sir Michael Ogio. The new Transport Minister is a member of the National Alliance Party and replaces PNC Party member, Ano Pala - the new Minister for Justice & Attorney-General. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill was also present to witness the occasion and later in a media conference congratulated Mr Tabar on his appointment as the Minister for Transport. He welcomed him to the government ranks and thanked the National Alliance Party for its ongoing support to the Government.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill proud of trainees in Israel ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill says he is proud of the way 25 young men sent for security training in Israel were delighting their trainers.The 25 security personnel – 10 Defence Force solders and 15 policemen – are undergoing specialised anti-terrorism, anti-crime, and close protection training at the IMI Academy for Advanced Security and Anti Terror Training outside Tel Aviv.
They left for Israel on June 7 and will return on July 9 equipped with skills and knowledge imparted to them by former soldiers of the Israeli army. This program was made possible through an agreement signed between Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu during an official visit to the Holy Land in 2013. A brief sent to Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill from the Government of Israel said the chief executive officer of the academy Amiram Maor, praised the trainees for their obedience, hard work and dedication to learning.
Mr Maor said he was impressed with their punctuality and behaviour during and after training. "This is one of the best groups of trainees we have had, out of many hundreds of trainee groups from all over the world that were trained by us," he told Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill in the brief. The 25 personnel will in turn become security trainers for police and defence personnel who will be deployed for the 2015 South Pacific Games. "I’m proud of the way these young men have progressed in their training. This whole training program will be very beneficial to our young men and women. In the long run the peace and security of our community and country will be enhanced," the Prime Minister said. Defence force and police personnel to be deployed for the APEC meeting in Port Moresby in 2018 will be sent to Israel starting next year. The IMI Academy was set up in 1999 by veterans of the Israeli Security Forces.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill went on air at FM 100 radio ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has gone on air with Roger Hauofa’s Talk Back Show FM100. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill took to the studios at 10 this morning to clear his name. He said the due process of the law must be respected. “We must respect the rule of law in this country. “We must also respect the hight office in the country which is the office of the Prime Minister,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said. He said we would not step down but called on the Papua New Guineans to respect the rule of law.
****The People’s National Congress Party continues to remain intact****
This solidarity was demonstrated by its parliamentary members during the party caucus meeting today. All 56 party members were present to support Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill at the usual traditional caucus meeting in Port Moresby, prior to parliament sitting tomorrow. “The party members have rallied behind me and I acknowledge them for their continued support despite all the events that have unfolded in the past few days,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said. He further thanked them for reaffirming their full commitment to and advocacy for him. They agreed with the Prime Minister that the move by Task Force Sweep has only undermined the Prime Minister and Government of the day. They also agreed it was an orchestrated attempt to bring down a government mandated by the people. During the meeting, the caucus correspondingly agreed to withdraw amendments to the OLLIPAC pending wider consultations and will be brought in after the 2017 national elections.
**** Wingti, Ipatas support Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill ****
The two most senior politicians in the Highlands region, Paias Wingti and Peter Ipatas, this week said the government was stable and intact. Regardless of all the turmoil that has seen firing and disbanding of senior ministers in the coalition government, police hierarchy and Task Force Sweep team by Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill, the founder of People’s Democratic Movement and Western Highlands Governor Wingti and his Enga counterpart and People’s Party leader Ipatas confidently said in public the current government was the best and was stable. During the launching of several projects in the Wabag District on Friday, Governor Ipatas told a large crowd that Prime Minister Hon. O’Neill was the "right man" for PNG to go forward.
"That is why I led my Party and joined him. He makes decisions for the people’s interest. He still has the utmost support of People’s Party in Parliament. O’Neill is the right Prime Minister at this point in time," Ipatas said. Referring to a letter Mr O’Neill wrote for the release of funds in the Paul Paraka Lawyers case, Mr Ipatas said: "The Prime Minister never wrote that letter. Even if he wrote it too, it was only a letter and not a cheque."
He said there was no crisis within the government and governments only changed when Parliamentarians had the numerical strength and tell the PM to resign.
“Prime Minister O’Neill has the number and this government will stay and there are a lot of reasons it will stay," Ipatas said.
Former three-time prime minister Paias Wingti was briefer during the ground breaking ceremony of the National Development Bank Highlands regional office complex in Mt Hagen with his support. Mr Wingti, when asked by the public to comment on the current political situation, said: "Those who formed the government is still in government. They are not dead.” Both Ipatas and Wingti are close advisers to Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill in national politics.
At the provincial level, sacked treasurer Don Polye and Ipatas are political rivals in Enga while ousted Petroleum and Energy Minister William Duma and Wingti are great rivals in Mt Hagen. Mr Polye was vocal on the USB loan and other related issues in the government while Mr Duma has been quiet since his sacking. Mr Duma two weeks ago in Mt Hagen said he would come out and explain to the country why he was sacked when the time is right.
**** PM: Kua has conflict of interest ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said yesterday that former attorney general Kerenga Kua has serious conflicts of interest and was initially asked to resign as attorney general and take up another ministry within government but he refused.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said Mr Kua’s position on constitutional amendments regarding section 45 was against Cabinet solidarity and discipline and he had to be sacked.
"We allow everybody to speak freely in cabinet, there is no control by anyone particular person either by myself or any one else, everything is put on the table and allow free discussions and as a result of that when we arrive at a cabinet decision," the Prime Minister said. "I want to assure you that we are collectively arriving at a decision, some of us may disagree with one or two aspects of the decision but the main thing we respect is that the majority have agreed to a position and when we walk out that door, that discipline must remain."
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said Cabinet receives a lot of advise, for example the proposed amendments to section 45, which was done by the Registrar of Political Parties. "Cabinet accepted the recommendations, the former attorney general should have allowed that Cabinet processes have taken place, if he did not want to vote on in Parliament he could have abstained with the strong personal views that he has," the Prime Minister said. "I have sat down with him and pointed out that Cabinet solidarity and discipline is more important than our own individual feelings so we had to part ways."
**** PM O’NEILL WELCOMES MSG – FLNKS CHAIR TUTUGORO TO PNG ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill today (24/6/14) welcomed the Chair of the MSG and Spokesperson of the FLNKS, and Co-Chair of this Special MSG Leaders Summit, Mr Victor Tutugoro to Papua New Guinea during his courtesy call at Airways Hotel this morning.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill on behalf of the Government and People of Papua New Guinea said I am greatly honoured by your visit and warmly welcome you to PNG on this occasion of the Special Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders Summit.
“The Special MSG Leaders Summit which will be held on the 26 June, 2014, will also discuss the outcomes of MSG’s Special Mission to Indonesia led by the Foreign Minister of Fiji, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, MSG’s candidatures for the post of the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, and the future of MSG following its 25 years Silver Jubilee,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said..
He said Mr Tutugoro was elected at the Assembly of the Northern Province since 2005, and has been the 2nd Vice-President during 2005 – 2009 Mandate. He is also currently the second vice-president of the Northern Province under this mandate (2009 – 2014), and in charge of "Health, Social Issues and Societal Issues", "Economy Development Division" and "Environment Division".
“Mr Tutugoro currently in the Northern Province, is also chair to the following committees including:
- Health, Social issues and Societal Issues Sub-Committee;
- Social Assistance Attribution Sub-Committee;
- Housing Assistance Attribution Sub-Committee;
- Governing Body of the SEM Sofinor (Funding and Investment Society of the Northern Province) – Mixed Company (SEM)
- Governing Body of the SEM Mining South – Development SEM for the towns of Canala, Kaa Wi Paa (Kouaoua) and Waa Wi Luu (Houailou);
- Governing Body of the MIJ – Youth Insertion Mission of the Northern Province;
- As well several other territorial organisms in which he represents the Northern Province or the President of the Northern Province.”
“Politically, Mr Tutugoro is:
- Signatory of the Noumea Accord, representing the FLNKS;
- Chairman of the Progressive Union of Melanesia (PUM/UPM) – since 2011; one of the composing bodies of the FLNKS; and
- Newest Chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG); after having been the spokesperson of the FLNKS from 2002 to 2010, in charge of the external relations of the FLNKS since 2010 and spokesperson of the FLNKS at the MSG,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
**** THE PRIME MINISTER OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA HON. PETER O’NEILL, CMG ****
ON THE OCASSION OF THE OFFICIAL DINNER OF THE 5th MELANESIAN FESTIVAL OF ARTS AND CULTURE IN PORT MORESBY
27 JUNE 2014
I am proud to welcome you as the Leader of the host country, as a brother nation to our family from the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, New Caledonia, as well as our close neighbours across West Papua, Timor Leste and the Torres Strait. It gives me great pleasure to extend to you all a very warm welcome to Papua New Guinea.
When we gather every four years for this festival, we have the opportunity to highlight the rich and varied arts and cultures of our people. This festival is a unique gathering of the most culturally diverse part of the Asia-Pacific. This diversity must be promoted, maintained and developed. At this festival, we will see more than 1000 groups from our Melanesian nations showcase the pride of their people.
This week we held the Special MSG Leaders’ Summit here in Port Moresby. There were some sensitive issues that we needed to discuss, and the outcomes of the meeting were very encouraging.
We discussed the outcomes of MSG’s Special Mission to Indonesia led by the Foreign Minister of Fiji, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, and the interest of other Melanesians to be members of MSG, particularly people in West Papua. We have welcomed this report openly. It is an historic moment for our region.
I thank the Leaders and delegations who joined us this week. In particular, I welcome the Chair of the MSG, and Spokesperson of the FLNKS, who was Co-Chair of this Special MSG Leaders Summit held this week, Mr Victor Tutugoro.
On behalf of the Government and the People of Papua New Guinea, I am greatly honoured by your visit and warmly welcome you to PNG.