**** Million kina relief aid ****
The Government has allocated K1 million to help people affected by the volcanic eruption last Friday in Rabaul, East New Britain. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill announced on television on Saturday that the money would help in particular the relocation of the people from near Mt Tavurvur.
The last biggest volcanic eruption on Rabaul occurred almost exactly 20 years ago – Sept 18, 1994 O’Neill, who left for a regional meeting in Western Samoa yesterday, is expected to be represented by his deputy Leo Dion, the Regional ENB MP, to deliver the K1 million to the province. Provincial administrator Akuila Tubal said in Rabaul the provincial administration and police responded quickly to the natural disaster by assisting people effected and at the same time maintaining law and order.
Tubal said reports from the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory indicated that the impact would be for a short period – “only last for several days”. He urged people in Rabaul and parts of Gazelle district who were affected to clean their homes and ensure their water tanks were covered to keep the dust away. He said businesses in Rabaul had been allowed to run normal operations after the early eruptions on Friday. Police have stationed in Rabaul town to ensure there was no looting of shops in Rabaul town.
**** Contractors happy with finished audit ****
Contractors who have worked on school infrastructure in Port Moresby are happy that the contract audit they have been waiting for has arrived in the hands of Education Minister Hon. Nick Kuman.
They wanted to thank Mr Kuman for reinforcing the good work of previous education minister James Marape. Although they have expressed their happiness for the progress made, they are hoping for a good outcome of the assessment of the report and expect good news before the end of this week.
Chairman of the NCD education services working committee, Jeremiah Ninkama, revealed last week that the issue of contractors not getting paid goes five years back to 2008 and about six of the company owners who had been waiting had died during their five years of waiting. Most, if not all, of the contractors have been forced to close their company accounts and owners are left with debts to other companies, banks and other private lenders.
The group was formed in 2009 after they realised that the K250 million funds that were allocated for their payment had been diverted to other projects even though work had been done already. "We are happy to have allowed the audit process to take course so that the genuine contractors can be paid because we have waited for a long time now and need to be paid," Mr Ninkama said.
He stated that there are three lots of contractors who have been waiting for payment since 2008 who were included in the audit. The contractors hope for a good outcome to be determined by end of next week. Mr Nikama said if the final report keeps on being delayed, all the contractors will go ahead and lock down all the classrooms and libraries, including the National Library and Archives building, and all the staff houses they have worked on. In response to earlier comments by the Education Secretary, Michael Tapo regarding the contracts being invalid because he had not signed them or was not aware of them.
"These are all official documents and we work according to the agreements," they said. "All the contracts were signed by delegated officers from the departments to take charge of and award contract. They are your officers representing you and in the position to sign the contracts.” They said the project manager does not necessarily need to go to the secretary to sign the contracts because he is a delegated officer to take charge of the funds.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill to Share PNG’s Experience with Small Island Developing States including MGD Progress ****
“The courage of the men, women and children of the Pacific’s Smaller Island States is an inspiration for the world,” the Prime Minister, Hon Peter O’Neill CMG MP, said on departure for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Samoa, that begins on September 1.
“On a daily basis people in small island nations deal with fallout from a range of global issues such as climate change and un-balanced international market pressures including the cost of energy.” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said the focus of his attendance at the SIDS Conference is to hear the views of Leaders and people from island nations and contribute to finding real solutions to complex problems.
“In this International Year of the Small Island Developing States, partner countries such as Papua New Guinea must work with our Brothers and Sisters to deliver better standards of living.” The Prime Minister said an important part of this engagement is the consideration of options for expanding Papua New Guinea’s overseas development assistance in the region.
“Papua New Guinea has been strengthening regional partnerships through a growing aid program that focuses on budgetary support and development assistance covering education, judicial support, infrastructure development. “As our own economy expands and standards of living improve, it is important to extend a helping hand particularly in areas where Papua New Guinea has experience.”
He said this includes taking proactive steps for Pacific Island nations to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs). “A recent UN Representative evaluation has confirmed significant progress towards achieving Papua New Guinea’s MDGs, and we wish to share our experience in Samoa.”
The UN notes that Government decisions over the past three years have enabled the greater investment in the nation’s future. This includes what the evaluation described as the bold decision to run a deficit budget until 2017, which it reports has enabled PNG to invest now in essential areas.
These investment priorities, that are highly relevant to SIDS Members, include strengthening law and order, providing better health services, facilitating better access to quality education, and delivering significant improvements in the country’s infrastructure. The UN also observed that this year there has been a record level of funding for services at the District level. The Prime Minister is being accompanied to the conference by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon Rimbink Pato MP and Minister for National Planning, Hon Charles Abel MP.
**** Fact Sheet: Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) ****
· The Prime Minister, Hon Peter O’Neill CMG MP, is attending the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Conference is taking place in Apia, Samoa.
· The conference is taking place from 1 to 4 September 2014. The Prime Minister is scheduled to address the conference on 1 September.
· The theme of the Conference is “The Sustainable Development of SIDS through Genuine and Durable Partnerships.”
· The Conference’s main objective is to consider, assess and endorse the draft SIDS Accelerated Modalities Of Action pathway (S.A.M.O.A) which was endorsed by the United Nations Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) in July this year.
· The S.A.M.O.A. outcome document:
o Identifies key common and shared sustainable development priority issues for SIDS;
o Highlights areas that need to be strengthened, including implementation gaps and institutional and structural weaknesses as well as effective development partnership building at all levels in pursuit of the sustainable development goals attainment;
o Provides agreed action-oriented implementation mechanisms to further enhance achievement of sustainable development goals for the respective SIDS and;
o Ensures that SIDS special needs for sustainable development forms an integral part of the Post-2015 development agenda.
· The Conference will be hosted and Chaired by Samoan Prime Minister Hon. Tuilaepa Sailele Lupesoliai Malielegaoi.
· The primary aim of the S.A.M.O.A Pathway is to ensure that the challenges confronted by SIDS globally and partnerships with donors are durable and adequately addressed.
· The S.A.M.O.A further reaffirms past commitments, especially those made in the Barbados Programme of Action (BPoA) and Mauritius Strategy of Implementation (MSI).
**** PNG Calls for Immediate Action to Support Small Island States - Highlights Change in Development Approach & Need for Monitoring ****
The Prime Minister. Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, has called for immediate direct action to assist island communities that are facing devastation as a consequence of climate change. Speaking at the Third Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Samoa on 1 September, the Prime Minister also argued the case for a new approach to development planning that is more in keeping with Pacific values.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill further proposed that the United Nations Secretary General set up a framework to monitor commitments by states and agencies at the SIDS Conference. The Prime Minister made his comments against the backdrop of the SIDS conference endorsing the ‘SAMOA Pathway’ that is intended to guide sustainable SIDS development for the next 15 years with a focus on core challenges faced by island nations.
In relation to the prospect of rising sea levels causing the dislocation of island communities around the world, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill drew on the experience of people from the Catarat Islands. “The men, women and children of the Catarat Islands became climate change’s first refugees where the entire population was relocated to safer ground,” Prime Minister O’Neill said.
“Sadly, they will not be the last, as there are so many island communities around the world facing the same prospect of climate-induced migration. “Together, Pacific Island states call on the global community to act now to help the communities facing these disasters. “These threats to the island communities were not caused by the islanders themselves – but they need help from those countries that dis cause this issue.”
The Prime Minister provided information to the SIDS Conference on the paradigm shift is taking place in Papua New Guinea’s approach to development. “We are moving away from the old mentality of allowing unrestricted growth, to one of managed economic growth,” the Prime Minister said. “In Papua New Guinea we have great wealth in our minerals, in our fisheries, and in our forests and in our agricultural land. We owe it to future generations to manage these resources so that they last, and that the wealth is shared equally among stakeholders.”
Through the Pacific Development Assistance Program he said Papua New Guinea is taking this developmental approach to the support it provides for Pacific island states. “Papua New Guinea is encouraging a new approach and leading the way with a development revolution. This will put our people first before commercial interest.”
The Pacific Development Assistance Program provides support to partner states in areas that include education, healthcare, technical capacity building, climate change action and reconstruction following natural disasters. In endorsing the SAMOA Pathway as the key deliverable from the SIDS Conference, PM O’Neill further urged small island states to embrace difficult decisions that will move the SIDS agenda forward, but also called on development partners to keep their promises.
“To ensure fairness, accountability and transparency, there should be ongoing review and assessment of the action, or even the inaction, of development partners,” Prime Minister Hon. O’Neill noted. “This includes developed countries, the United Nations, international financial institutions and international organisations that also have a responsibility for the delivery of commitments under the SAMOA Pathway.
“In this regard, I wish to call on the UN Secretary General to establish a framework to review, monitor and assess the performance of development partners in the delivery of their promises that we are making today.” The SAMOA Pathway highlights priority development challenges facing SIDS, such as climate change, disaster risk management, sustainable energy, water and sanitation, oceans and seas, biodiversity, health and NCDS, education, culture and sports, and economic development.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill returned to Port Moresby following the first day of the conference as Parliament is currently sitting. Papua New Guinea will continue to be represented over the remaining three days of the conference by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon Rimbink Pato MP, and Minister for National Planning, Hon Charles Abel MP.
**** Speech by The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, Apia, Samoa, 1 September 2014 ****
Heads of Governments and Ministers,
President of the General Assembly,
Secretary General of the United Nations,
Excellencies, Representatives of all stakeholder partners,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I would like to commend the Government and people of Samoa for hosting The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States. The logistics of this conference are immense, and our delegation appreciates the arrangements and hospitality that have been extended to us.
I would further like to congratulate the Government of Samoa, and the United Nations Secretary General, His Excellency Mr. Ban-ki Moon, and staff of the UN Secretariat on advancing the substantive issues of this conference. Your efforts from the national to regional levels have culminated in the “SAMOA Pathway” for which we are here to give our political endorsement. The issues before us at this conference are serious and require attention from the broader global community. Some of these issues have been development priorities for many decades, while others are new and alarming.
Of all the sustainable development priorities, climate change is one of the most pressuring issues for island states. That is certainly the case for people in several parts of Papua New Guinea where rising sea levels have already had devastating affects. The men, women and children of the Catarat Islands, near Bourgainville, became climate change’s first refugees where the entire population was relocated to safer ground. Sadly, they will not be the last. There are so many island communities around the world facing the same prospect of climate-induced migration.
That is why action is required on many fronts to deal with this threat to our people.
The reduction of carbon emissions around the world is needed now and it must be enforced immediately. But reducing emissions will not help countries already seriously threatened by existing climate change and who need help right now. Together, Pacific Island states call on the global community to act now to help the communities facing these disasters. These threats to the island communities were not caused by themselves – but they need help from those countries that this issue.
While climate change is one of the most pressing issues for small island states and demands global attention, we must also maintain our focus on traditional development concerns. As the world nears the Millennium Development Goal deadline in 2015, we need to take stock of progress and consider what needs to be done as we transition to the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Working towards the MDGs has assisted my country to focus our efforts towards making real differences in the lives of our people.
A recent report on progress to achieve the MDGs by the United Nations Country Representative to Papua New Guinea, was very positive. The report found that Papua New Guinea has made important strides towards achieving the MDGs especially since 2012. This includes bold decisions taken by governments in running planned budget deficits until 2017, which the UN report notes has been invested in essential areas.
In education, the government has made a substantial investment under our policy of providing free primary schooling to all children. The outcome of our investment in education has now made it possible for more Papua New Guinean children to be in schools than ever before.
The Government has further committed to provide free universal healthcare for all citizens. This is seeing more health centres being built and refurbished, and more health professions being trained and employed. These days more births are attended by trained healthcare workers and more children are being immunised.
We have been proactive in standing against discrimination, and implemented measures to combat violence against women and girls. This includes national awareness and information campaigns intended to change attitudes, while at the same time, we have increased resources that we are investing for law and order enforcement and corrective services. The government has been proactive in empowering women’s participation in business and commerce, and as a result we have launched a new bank for women and established an office primarily dealing with Women’s affairs.
While we will not fully attain our MDGs by 2015, the UN report found that with our investment in services and infrastructure around the country, Papua New Guinea is in a better positioned to achieve improved development outcomes beyond 2015.
Papua New Guinea is also making an important contribution to shaping the Post-2015 Development Agenda, as co-facilitator for the upcoming Global Summit on the Sustainable Development Goals, next year in New York. We will use our experience in striving to attain the MDGs by 2015 to ensure that the Post-2015 goals are realistic and attainable, and are truly relevant to developing nations.
It is Papua New Guinea’s view that these Sustainable Development Goals need to focus on attainable outcomes. These include aiming to achieve ‘zero extreme poverty,’ seeking to end preventable child deaths, improved access to primary and secondary schooling, and ending all forms of violence and discrimination against women.
In the current global environment there is still a lot of work to be done to enhance progress towards the MDGs, particularly for our smaller island states. This is a shared responsibility among our global community for nations both large and small.
Papua New Guinea, with an economy that is going from strength-to-strength, averaging around 8% per annum over the past fourteen years, is providing ongoing support to the smaller island states in the Pacific.
We want to share the benefits of our economic prosperity. In this context, our Government is undertaking a Pacific Development Assistance Program aimed at assisting Pacific SIDS in critical areas of development. This areas include education, health, capacity building, climate change and reconstruction following natural disasters.
The approach taken by Papua New Guinea, both in the development and in partnerships with our Pacific Community is a Paradigm Shift in our approach to development.
We are moving away from the old mentality of allowing unrestricted growth, to one of managed economic growth.
In Papua New Guinea we have great wealth in our minerals, in our fisheries, and in our forests and in our agricultural land. But we owe it to future generations to manage these resources so that they last, and that the wealth is shared equally among stakeholders.
Papua New Guinea is encouraging a new approach and leading the way with a development revolution. This will put our people first before any commercial interest.
Before us, we have the Outcome Document “SAMOA Pathway” that reaffirms our commitments to the development aspirations of Small Island Developing States, and highlights the priority of the development challenges that we face. The challenge before us all is that in this global economy, we must work together, we must work through ongoing consultation and support each other in achieving the objectives of this pathway. I urge all Delegations to make the Third Conference on Small Island Developing States a success by embracing difficult decisions that will move the SIDS agenda forward.
To ensure fairness, there is accountability and there is transparency, there should be ongoing review and assessment of the action - or even the inaction - of some development partners. This includes developed countries, United Nations, international financial institutions and international organizations that also have a responsibility for the delivery of commitments under the SAMOA Pathway. In this regard, I wish to call on the UN Secretary General to establish a framework to review, monitor and assess the performance of development partners in the delivery of their promises that we are making today.
With that I wish success to this very important Conference today in Samoa.
Thank You and God Bless.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill : Health is govt’s priority ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has assured the Medical Society of Papua New Guinea that the government will continue to maintain health as its top priority in the country. Minister for Public Service Sir Puka Temu said this on behalf of Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill during the official opening of the 50th medical symposium in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province on Sunday night.
Sir Puka attended the symposium on behalf of the Prime Minister who is away in Samoa for the Small Islands Developing States forum and his Deputy Leo Dion who is also away in East New Britain Province to assess the current situation in the province following the recent volcanic eruption of Mount Tavurvur. Sir Puka announced that the Prime Minister had also given his assurance that the government is committed to fully fund the current National Health Plan 2011-2020.
Speaking also as the former Secretary for the Department of Health, Sir Puka said this assurance coming directly from the Prime Minister, was a blessing in disguise. "When we designed and structured the National Health Plan over ten years ago, we had to go to the Treasurer, Finance Minister and Secretary for Finance & Treasury to beg them for the actual amount needed for hospitals, medical supplies & immunization, to fully maintain aid posts and to train village health workers, however, they would always cut the funding to the bare minimum," Sir Puka said.
He reiterated the Prime Minister’s commitment in pledging that the government would fully fund the National Health Plan 2011-2020 and verified that this positive outcome was a result of strong political will to support this sector. "The Prime Minister and his Health Minister Michael Malabag are very passionate about the improvement of this key sector. "The O’Neill-Dion Government is not only talking but putting its money to work and that is by improving the current health infrastructures. This government has truly focused on the health sector as one its top priorities," Sir Puka said.
He said the government for the first time in 39 years is now putting funding for hospital upgrades, medical equipment installation and replacement & construction of provincial medical stores in order to supply community aid posts. "This government is not only looking at development but it is also concerned about the health and well-being of the common people. Therefore, it has approved the policy of free health care and has subsidised specialist services, increased funding of medical supplies and making more funds available through the health functional grants, hospital grants, provincial health grants, church health grants, among others. "In fact, 20 per cent of the District Services Improvement Program (DSIP) fund is dedicated to the health sector throughout the country," he said.
**** Government Remains Concerned over Transparent Management of Public Funds by PNGSDP – Looking to Court Decision ****
Today the Attorney General made a statement to the National Parliament on the Government’s ongoing concern about the security of assets now under the control of the PNGSDP.
The assets under the control of PNGSDP are to be used for the sole benefit of the people of Papua New Guinea, particularly the people of Western Province, and the Government is concerned at how these assets are being used and managed.
The Attorney General stated the Government’s concern as to what is happening to these assets, particularly as there has been a substantial decrease in value of these assets from end 2012 to end 2013.
This includes a decline of US$180 million in PNGSDP’s total assets and a reduction of PNGSDP's long-term fund by US$55 million both in 2013. In addition, US$39 million has been transferred out of the long-term fund in breach of the governing program rules, while figures for 2014 are unknown.
The revenue from Ok Tedi that is held by PNGSDP is to be used for the sole benefit of the People and the government has the responsibility for ensuring transparency.
The ultimate desire of the Government is to see the people of Western Province and their elected leaders in a position where they are allowed to manage these assets to ensure they benefit the people.
While the Chairman has direct personal interest in the case, he is best advised to refrain from dragging this issue down into personal attacks. It is for the Singapore Courts to continue with their hearing of this matter and this office will reserve further comment until relevant decisions are handed down by the Courts.
The Government of Papua New Guinea stands by its decision to seek transparency and accountability in relation to the use and management of this public money controlled by PNGSDP.
**** Parliament okays private sector partnership ****
Parliament has passed the Public Private Partnership Bill that will ensure government partner with private sector in the provision of public infrastructure and government services in the country. Treasury Minister Patrick Pruaitch who introduced the legislation got an overwhelming 67-0 votes for the passage of the Public Private Partnership Bill 2014.
Mr Pruaitch said the PPP Bill proposes the establishment of a PPP centre under the authority of the Minister for Treasury and empowered with capacity and knowledge to determine whether a PPP is the most appropriate procurement option available to the Government and, if this is determined to be the case, to assist line agencies to transact the project.
"The Government is confident that using the PPP modality, the private sector in PNG can offer a dynamic and efficient way to deliver and manage infrastructure, ensuring high standards of construction and maintenance," he said. Mr Pruaitch said the provision of public infrastructure and government services is one of the prime obligations of governments all over the world.
He said infrastructure such as roads, power, telecommunication, water and sanitation, sea and airports are fundamental prerequisites of economic growth and development, in addition, social and community infrastructure such as education and health facilities, public housing and buildings, cultural facilities and environment infrastructure are essential in modern societies.
**** Hyundai president impressed with PNG’s growth performance ****
The President of Hyundai Energy & Resources, B.J. Yang has expressed interest in Korea reconnecting with Papua New Guinea through investment opportunities. Mr Yang, who is also the company’s Chief Executive Officer, said his visit to PNG is to reconnect both countries and also to explore new investment opportunities.
The President said yesterday that this was his first visit to PNG and he was already impressed with the country’s growth performance over the last three years as he could see development in the key sectors and also new business opportunities. He has expressed appreciation in the leadership of the current government especially embracing the Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill’s efforts.
The President also expressed interest in investing in the areas of forestry, gas and power generation. He informed Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill of a new technology called mobile power generator, which has 2.5 megawatts that can serve at least an entire town and that does not need transmission links. This new technology is now being used in some African countries to assist with power shortage issues.
Mr Yang conveyed to Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill an invitation from the founder of Hyundai to visit Korea soon.
In response, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill welcomed Mr Yang and his delegation to PNG and acknowledged Hyundai as being a strategic partner for PNG.
“PNG has enjoyed a healthy relationship with Korea and I thank you for having the confidence in the current government as PNG is developing all sectors where companies like Hyundai can see those opportunities and invest in them. “I also welcome Hyundai to look into the power sector like the new mobile power generation technology. I will inform the State Enterprise Ministry to discuss and liaise with your company to assist with the current power generation issues throughout the country,” he said. Prime Minister Hon. O’Neill also accepted the invitation to visit Korea from the company’s founder who is also a Parliamentary member in the Korean Government.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill announces govt plan to set up cardiac, cancer units ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has announced in Parliament that his Government plans to set up a cardiac unit and a national cancer unit. The heart unit and cancer unit will go along for diagnoses and treatment of lifestyle diseases that are killing people.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill did not say where these units will be built but acknowledged that people were dying from lifestyle diseases because they were consuming food and beverages that were not good for their health and were killing people.
He was responding to a question directed at Health Minister Michael Malabag by Memyamya MP Benjamin Philip. Mr Malabag was not present in Parliament to answer the question. Mr Phillip had asked if the Health Minister or the Health Department had plans to investigate the early deaths of professionals. He said PNG was losing important professionals such as judges who were dying at the ages of 50 or 60.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill replied that health was individual person’s business and that just this week, the Public Service Minister Sir Puka Temu delivered the PM’s speech at 50th medical symposium in Goroka, assuring the medical fraternity that health was the Government’s top priority and it would continue to support that sector.
The Prime Minister also said the Government had a fully funded National Health Plan that is being rolled out for the health care of all citizens. He said the plan is built on progress where renovations and maintenance are also been done on run down health facilities.
**** Action will be Taken Against Businesses Involved in the Financing of International Terrorist Groups ****
National intelligence agencies are investigating the activities of individuals and companies with alleged links to international terrorist organisations. The allegations are of a financial nature and there is no evidence to suggest that there are risks to the safety of people in Papua New Guinea.
Following news reports today, the Prime Minister, Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, confirmed that intelligence agencies are undertaking the investigations, and confirmed the Government is taking action to rid Papua New Guinea of people with terrorist links. “We will not tolerate people with links to terror organisations in our country,” the Prime Minister said.
“If these allegations of terror links are true, these people will be charged under existing laws and their businesses shut down. “The important point for Papua New Guineans to know is that there is no evidence of activities by groups or individuals that could lead to terrorist incidents on our soil.
“In saying that we continue to be vigilant and monitor suspect individuals and organisations that seek any association with Papua New Guinea. “As part of our ongoing planning for major events such as the Pacific Games and APEC, and frequent visits by foreign heads of state, Papua New Guinea’s counter-terrorism capacity is being upgraded.
“Our intelligence agencies are working with security partners in other countries to deal with this cross-border issue. This includes the sharing of intelligence relating to suspect activities and taking part in joint training activities.” The Prime Minister said there are concerns that some of the individuals currently under investigation have links to extremely dangerous groups in the Middle-East.
“The world has been sickened by the depraved actions of the terrorists of the Islamic State that has spread in Iraq and Syria. “The murder of American journalist James Foley is another example of the barbarity of these terrorists. “The prospect that businesses in our country could be involved with financing of these deplorable groups is alarming.
“Every country in the global community must do what it can to stop these terror groups and Papua New Guinea joins with our partner nations to do what we can in this fight.”The Prime Minister said he was being cautious in releasing too much specific information as investigations of this nature are delicate and agencies are still conducting inquiries. “I made a statement to Parliament on this issue that provided public assurance, and we will release additional information when this is appropriate and action is taken.”
**** Australia and PNG to ratify treaty to 'reset’ relationship ****
Australia and Papua New Guinea are planning to reset their relationship with a new treaty that aims to move the two countries onto a more even footing. Australian MP and chairman of Canberra's treaties committee, Wyatt Roy, says the agreement will transform the links between the two countries into a strategic economic relationship.
Mr Roy says PNG has experienced 10 years of growth and that is expected to continue. "Essentially what it is about is moving away from a development focussed relationship between Australia and PNG - one where Australia was the aid donor and PNG Government was the aid recipient. We want to mature that relationship to one of greater economic cooperation."
Wyatt Roy says the treaty is at the final stages of being ratified. The treaty would mean the two countries would work together to improve trade, investment and business links.
**** Kuman: Education reforms fruitful ****
The Education sector is achieving some outcomes in reform initiatives in education and training, according to Education Minister Nick Kuman. He said this included the exit of outcomes-based education which he announced earlier this year, the introduction of standardised-based education and tuition fee free education.
The most significant policy introduced and implemented by the government of PNG is the tuition fee free education, which took the form of subsidised school fees for all students from elementary up to secondary and vocational institutions. This policy has provided over 40 per cent growth in enrolment since 2012. Gender equity in education has been achieved since 2007 with emerging evidence.
Minister Hon. Nick Kuman said in his ministerial statement in Parliament yesterday the Education Department is working tirelessly to develop the standardised based education curriculum, whose implementation will begin next year.
In preparation, much training and awareness is being immediately conducted for all teachers at elementary level to lower primary level. He also briefed the Parliament on major policies, strategies and reform initiatives in education and learning detailed in the department’s 2014 report.
Minister Hon. Nick Kuman said the Government was making progress towards achieving its goal in making education accessible to all school age children, improving and retaining quality education on the back of its efforts to implement important policy programs such as national education plan 2005-14, education sector strategy plan 2010-30 and the universal basic education plan 2010-19. He said the tuition fee free education had compromised the quality of education and the department would address it.
**** PM: Midwives to be on payroll nationwide ****
Village midwiferies throughout the 3000 local level government wards in the country will be on payroll by 2016, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
The Prime Minister said during debate time in Parliament yesterday on the report presented by the member for Sumkar Honourable Ken Fairweather on the maternal and Infant mortality rate in the country . He said the parliament will pass a bill before 2016 to rollout village based delivery mothers in the country.
He said those village based delivery mothers will be put on the payroll of the government, an initiative to address maternaland infant mortality rate in the country after statistic from NGOs and donor agencies revealed appalling rate of birth related deaths in the country, especially in the remote communities throughout the country.
Prime Minster Hon. O’Neill said the country has put too much emphasis on law and order and other areas but the important aspect of saving human lives particularly of new born babies and mother should now be given prominence.
“It is about time we train our mothers in the communities to deliver babies in the villages well. Therefore there is a need to roll out the village based delivery mothers in every ward throughout the country. By 2016, there should be a village based delivery mothers in all the 3000 wards throughout the country and put them on the payroll so they attend to births in the villages,” he said.
He added that addressing the falling health standard in the country was important and the government has started addressing the issues through strategic government policies and funding like the National Health Plan that makes sure that the basic health care was given to the people. However he said the bureaucracy in the country was hindering progress like implementing government polices like the National health plan.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said in a recent report he received, hospital authorities at the Angau hospital in Lae were opposing the Ausaid renovation work at the hospital. He said the objection is unacceptable when people are dying and that a complete change in the attitudes of the public servants and bureaucracy is need in the country and take ownership of serving the people.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill promises to change Mt Hagen ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill yesterday promised to the people of Western Highlands of major impact infrastructure projects in the province that would bring Mt Hagen to the next level of a modern city.
During the ground breaking ceremony of a multi-million kina cathedral in Rabiamul, Mt Hagen, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said while construction work on the Kagamuga airport redevelopment and the Provincial headquarters Kapal Haus were underway, work on the four lane section of the Highlands highway from Kagamuga through Mt Hagen City to the Togoba junction would start this year.
The Prime Minister said design work on the road was done with tenders to go out this month. "Major infrastructure work in Port Moresby and Lae are being done this year. In next year’s budget, we will fix Kokopo and Mt Hagen as well as the Highlands Highway. That’s all,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
He said redevelopment and expansion work along the highway considered the lifeline of the country has already began in Lae, contractors would also work down from the Highlands towards Lae to speed up things.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill acknowledged the board and management of the Mt Hagen Provincial hospital for good performance and said the hospital would also be expanded next year as one of the major development projects. "There’s been too much talk about the road and other key areas. Policies were made and were always there but nobody took any ownership and we’re doing it now. PNG is at a level where we always dream about. Let’s take ownership of the challenges because nobody will do it for us.” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
The Catholic cathedral of the Holy Trinity is another major project being co-funded by the government. Once completed, it would become a landmark in the Highlands region. The Prime Minister called on the people to forget about politics and grasped the education, health and infrastructure projects his government embarked on and concentrate on improving their livelihood.
"You elected us to be your politicians. We can play it inside Waigani or outside. Don’t worry about politics and embrace the opportunities the government is providing,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said. Several other buildings by private firms are also emerging in the city.
*** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill Ensures Clarity on Parties in the Government ****
The Prime Minister, Hon Peter O’Neill CMG MP, has written to Kandep MP and Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party Leader Hon Don Polye informing him that the his party is no longer a part of the Government.
Following consultation with Coalition Leaders and Members of Parliament a letter was sent to Mr Polye on 05 September informing him of the decision.
“We thank the members of the THE Party for their support over the past two years,” PM O’Neill said.
“But we need to maintain a cohesive government and the action of THE leaders has not been in the bests interests of the nation.
“The Government differs with the views of the THE Party and it is appropriate that we part ways.”
This decision is in the best interest of the Government and country, PM O’Neill said.
The Prime Minister thanked Mr Polye for his and THE Party’s contributions to government and to the formulation of many of its policies, and to Polye’s leadership in the formulation of the 2013 and 2014 National Budgets.
Leader of Government Business Hon James Marape has been informed of this decision and will make appropriate seating arrangement in Parliament to reflect this change.
**** Family planning way to address maternal death issue ****
Politicians and health service providers are working to increase access to family planning services. A fresh endeavour is taking place in Papua New Guinea to boost access to family planning services. According to Australian Doctors International, PNG's maternal mortality rate of 733 per 100,000 births is the worst in the Pacific region.
It is also estimated that over half of the adult population cannot gain access to family planning assistance. Earlier this month Prime Minister Peter O'Neill told parliament correcting misconceptions about contraception was vital for managing population growth and reducing maternal mortality.
"Mr Speaker, these implants can be removed any time, when they want to start up a family, and the young women are going to be fertile enough to have children,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said in the Parliament that it is not something that is implanted so you will be sterile forever. “Mr Speaker, we want to have population growth in the country but sustainable population growth,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill told the house in one of its Parliament sittings.
Marie Stopes International is one organization which provides a range of sexual and reproductive health services in the country. The director of services for Marie Stopes in PNG, Edith Kariko, said "stigma and lack of education needs to be overcome".
"I totally agree with the politicians that have mentioned that stigma is a challenge for us," she said. "In a country like Papua New Guinea there is a lot of cultural diversity and beliefs that come along with it, as well as religious beliefs, therefore you also have those challenges individually when it comes to making a choice,” Edith Kariko said. Ms Kariko says increasing access, developing better suited plans for individuals and reducing the frequency of visits to clinics are crucial in the long term.
"Usually on coming back women cannot access service or those services are no longer there," she said. Edith Kariko said so we’ve found that to be a problem, but with the use of implant technology that has lengthened the three-month period to four or five years.
**** Government To Work With Universities To Lift Standards ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill announced today that the Government will work with state-owned universities in the country to improve academic and capacity issues that have led to standards declining in some institutions.
The Prime Minister made the announcement after considering the findings of an external audit of the University of Papua New Guinea that identified deficiencies in the academic and teaching capacities. “The findings of the external audit are a wake-up call for educational institutions,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
“We are concerned that a similar situation exists in other state-owned universities in the country and further investigations will be undertaken. “Our university students are our future engineers, doctors, teachers and leaders. We must intervene otherwise the nation will face serious consequences in the future.”
The Prime Minister has written to the Minister for Higher Education, Research and Science, Malakai Tabar, to begin negotiations with universities to develop initiatives aimed at reversing the decline. “The government will act to raise standards now and enhance the ability of the university to produce quality graduates for the country and its growing economy.”
In his letter, the Prime Minister has directed Minister Tabar to work with the universities to:
- Design a capacity building program for all National Academic Staff which should include further studies in their respective fields, and secondments to overseas universities that will be funded by the National Government;
- Design an international academia program, whereby universities recruit quality lecturers from overseas to teach at the universities while national staff are undergoing training abroad;
- Review the dual salary policy used by universities with a view to establishing a single salary policy based on academic standard and qualification.
Minister Tabar is expected to develop with a policy initiative by November 2014 for the National Executive Council to consider.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill opens new registry office ****
The Government will support the Registry of Political Party office with their ailing issues as revealed by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill singled out in the official opening of the Registrar’s office in Port Moresby yesterday that countries were managed well when a government was stable but it depended on political parties within the government who must first be stable.
He said many political parties over the years had been formed which had brought the country many defining moments in the country’s history. However, with changes in the society, the political process had also evolved. "As our community and society evolves, the political process evolves as well with the changes that are happening in our community," Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
He said that many prominent political parties have declined in membership numbers with new ones being established and therefore needed an establishment to manage them. "To manage the evolvements taking place including the establishment of new political parties, you need the Organic Law and the commission that will manage.
That is why the OLIPPAC was started in 2001," he said. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill made the comments when he opened the new office complex building for the Registry of Political Parties and the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission (IPPCC) yesterday at Gordon in Port Moresby.
**** Govt to review dual salaries ****
The Government has started seriously addressing the dual salary issue raised in Parliament last week, Minister for Higher Education, Research and Science Technology Malakai Tabar announced.
He said this week that instructions have been issued and the process of screening a budget that will include an increase in lecturers’ salaries was already underway. Mr Tabar said that the office was working on a policy framework which he will table in Parliament and prepare for implementation next year.
"The Government has started addressing this issue and talks are underway for a review into the dual salary. We also have been working on the policy paper which will be presented once completed," he said.
"Some universities have standardised salaries between national and expatriate staff and others have not, but we are working on this structure. "The department is expected to produce a policy statement that will standardise international and domestic market allowances for academics teaching in tertiary institutions, including universities," he said.
Mr Tabar said that the department was already making arrangements to meet with universities to develop an academic program where national staff can go for further studies in their respective fields and also look at other means and needs on this front.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill: Gov’t maintains stable economic growth ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has assured a Business Advantage 2014 Investment and Infrastructure Summit that the government is maintaining stable economic activity in the country and maintains stable economic growth.
The Summit was jointly hosted by Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Business Advantage on Investment and Infrastructure. In his opening address on the occasion yesterday, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said business advantage international is less well known, but it has been doing some fast class in this country where much of it at its own expenses and initiative promoting PNG regionally and internationally.
“It has produced a range of first class publications with annual business and investment guide including the high quality PNG investors Manual now in its third edition,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill is confident that PNG economy is strong despite a number of adverse impacts such as lower mineral prices, which has lead to a deferral of some major investments and the scaling down of some existing projects.
He said most significant economic event this year is the commencement of LNG export which will do more than just deliver substantial revenue inflows to the national government and other levels of government and land owners. “As clearly articulated in the 2014 National Budget, the government’s deliberate interventions in increasing expenditure in infrastructure spending and support for Agriculture,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill stated that the government’s role in Business Partnership is vital for the country’s economy therefore the Public Private Partnership is the way ahead. He thanked the owners of Business Advantage International for their ongoing an unqualified confidence and support for PNG.
**** Westminster system good for PNG politics ****
The Westminster system of government is an ideal form of government for Papua New Guinea, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said yesterday. He said this during the opening of the Governor-General’s new office at Government House in Port Moresby.
"As a Melanesian nation people might question how relevant is the monarch system of government to the people, these are fair questions in any modern democracy. "From my perspective, I see many positives apart from some of the setbacks and a positive aspect is we share a system of government with similar legal and administrative processes,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said. He said as Commonwealth countries, they communicate, share information within these governments to help manage countries better.
"We have a more consensus style of governance that is now being evolved with our Melanesian way of life that is why we see unprecedented number of MPs joining government.
"Our MPs speak very freely even against their own government and sometimes disagree on government decisions while many of them continue to present their opinions.
"After all, we always agree on a way forward to consensus," he added. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said PNG was seeing more transparent and deeper policy debates taking place both with the Opposition and Government. "This Melanesian way of doing things is healthy for any young democracy especially in nation building. This provides a platform for us to work together for our collective interests," he said.
**** Task Force eyes alleged terror links *****
THE Government has officially set up a Task force to investigate the alleged terrorist network and linkage in Papua New Guinea after Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill directed for an immediate investigation.
Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc announced yesterday that the TaskForce will be led by Director General of the National Intelligence Organisation Gari Baki and membership would come from Royal PNG Constabulary, the PNG Defence Force, PNG Customs, and the PNG Immigration Services.
Other relevant agencies will be co-opted as and when required. He said that they have been given 30 days to conduct the investigation, take appropriate actions to dismantle the alleged terrorist network, and report back to him on the outcome of the actions taken.
The specific Terms of Reference (TOR) has been drawn up, which will guide the conduct of the investigations and that all necessary support, including funding have been made available to the Task Force.
On Friday September 5, 2014, Sir Manasupe convened a National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) meeting to discuss the alleged terror links, and further established an inter-agency Investigation Task Force to immediately conduct an investigation into the alleged terror links and take appropriate actions to dismantle the alleged links.
"You are to conduct an investigation into the alleged terrorist linkage, with a view to gather evidences, if any, and institute charges and prosecute all entities and individuals, including foreigners associated with the terrorist network, shut down all business entities associated with the alleged terror links and report back to me, within one month, the outcome of the actions taken to dismantle the alleged terror network," Sir Manasupe instructed Mr Baki and team.
He further directed all relevant agencies to work very closely within the given time frame to get down to the bottom of reports and ensure possible perpetrators be dealt with appropriately and the alleged terror link dismantled. The Chief Secretary also pointed out that the alleged terror link was only commercial in nature and that the media reports and information available to the NSAC was that, "the alleged terror link is principally commercial in nature as such investigations will focus on operations of the commercial entities, and activities of individuals associated with these entities."
He reiterated that at this point in time these allegations were simply that — allegations. "It is the responsibility of the Investigation Task Force to establish if there are any truths behind these allegations," he said.
"If through this investigation, evidences confirm these allegations are true, swift actions will be taken to deal with all individuals and commercial entities associated with terrorist network, including shutting down their entire operations in the country," the Chief Secretary said. "PNG will continue to be an investment destination for regional and global business, and PNG will continue to welcome all our foreign investors with open arms. However, as usual, business will operate within the laws of PNG," he said.
**** Govt-church partnership progresses ****
The Government’s plan to work more closely with the churches in providing services to the people was further emphasised by the National Planning Minister Charles Abel yesterday.
At the launch of the Churches Partnership Program (CPP) Theology of Development Statement at the Parliament State Function Room, Mr Abel highlighted what the government is trying to do to further support the churches, not only those benefitting from the program but others as well.
The PNG’s seven churches that are benefitting from the program also have partners in Australia with whom they are working under this program and is being funded by the Australian government. The program going on for about 10 years now has proven to be successful and the Australian government is being asked to continue it when the second phase ends.
Church leaders and representatives from the seven churches attended the event. Head of the Lutheran Church Giregire Wenge represented the churches and handed over the document to Mr Abel and Speaker Theo Zurenuoc who received it on behalf of the Government. The CPP’s Development Statement which carries seven Christian pillars provides the basis for a holistic approach and a platform for churches in PNG to undertake development work.
These are Incarnation of Christ; The Church living out the love of God for Humanity; Respect for the Dignity of Humanity; Empowering and investing in the people; People as custodians of God’s creation and stewards of God’s economy for the common good; Integral Human Development; and Advocate for the Disempowered.
Also present were National Planning Department Secretary Juliana Kubak and Community Development Secretary Anna Solomon. Under CPP, funding is made available to these churches who are involved in social services such as education, health, HIV and others like gender related programs.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill: message of hope ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has painted a bright future for Papua New Guinea that all citizens should look forward to as they celebrate Independence Day tomorrow.
"When we celebrate our nation this week, we must celebrate both where we have come from and where our nation is going. This is a pride that all Papua New Guineans can share as we move the country forward together," he said in his 39th Independence Day message.
More than previous governments, he said his coalition had achieved more and that was for the people to judge as they look around. "It has been hard work and determination for the nation of Papua New Guinea for 39 years."
Tomorrow, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill will officially raise the PNG flag at Independence Hill in Port Moresby. He said his Government and PNG’s seven million people had everything to celebrate this year, many great achievements so far.
"Papua New Guinea has turned a corner and I hope every citizen takes the opportunity to feel good about our nation,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said. "Everywhere in the country something is happening that is improving the lives of Papua New Guineans".
"I hope all citizens can feel proud when they look at the roads and buildings under construction, when they see children who are in school for the first time, when the health of our people is taken care of and when they feel safer in our streets. "We must celebrate both where we have come from and where our nation is going. This is a pride that all Papua New Guineans can share as we move the country forward together,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
"When people move into their new family home that they have bought through our housing program, I hope they will feel the pride that comes with being a part of our nation’s growth."
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill: Govt House plays vital role ****
Government House plays a vital role in important government decisions regarding the future of our emerging nation, says Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill. Government House hill at Konedobu is the official residence of the Governor-General, the Queen’s representative since independence in 1975. Before that it was the home of colonial Australian administrators.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill highlighted Government House’s historical significance during the opening of a new state-of-the-art Governor-General’s office complex yesterday. "I am honored to officiate at the opening of the new Government House as it is an historic occasion as we celebrate at this site which the first Government House stood in 1886.
"In 1913, Acting Administrator of the then territory of Papua built a house on the other side of this hill, which is now known as the State House. "It was at this house that important government decisions were made regarding the future of our emerging nation.” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said during this transition period, the people referred to the Government House as Government Headquarters.
"A lot of history has been unfolded on this hill by many historical figures therefore as we celebrate our 39th independence, it is a good opportunity to reflect on what great Papua New Guineans have achieved in a place such as the Government House.
"This house will continue to serve our government and our people now and into the future," he added. The new look administration building will be named after the Governor-Generals official secretary Tipo Vuatha as Vuatha Haus.
It is designed by DB ARCH, an architecture company, and constructed by Matrix Constructions. PNG is part of the Commonwealth Countries whose head of State is the Queen.
**** Address By The Prime Minister. Hon Peter O’Neill CMG MP, Flag Raising Ceremony - Independence Day Celebrations, 16 September 2014 ****
Men, Women and Children of Papua New Guinea.
On the occasion of the 39th anniversary of the creation of our Nation, I extend warm greetings to each and everyone - on behalf of my family, the National Government and the National Parliament.
I hope every citizen and guest of our country celebrates this important event in the spirit of national harmony and goodwill.
We have much to celebrate. We are a nation that is diverse in many ways, in languages, in culture, in traditions, and yet unified in one people.
Together, we are building a future, that is secure, that is strong, and that is trying to deliver real benefits to our people.
We do so by delivering higher living standards and real opportunity for all of our people - especially for our children.
Our economy is not just fast growing, but it is transforming our country.
The task your Government faces, and leaders at every level is that we must manage this transformation. We must do this in a way that delivers the maximum benefit to you, our people of this nation.
We have begun that process, and we will manage it with commitment based on good government and service delivery that is local and personal, accountable and readily available.
We have now introduced, right across the nation, our free school education. We have also introduced free basic health care. We are also spending more on infrastructure, such as roads, rural power, water and sanitation, and law and order, than any government has ever done in our history.
We have begun implementing an even more important change for the long-term good government of our nation and communities. We are transferring real decision-making, and delivery of basic services to the levels of governments that are close to you, at the provinces and districts.
More and more decision making, implementation, and the monitoring of government programmes are being managed by district administrations, and by local governments and communities.
This is a just a start, because implementing decision making processes right across more than 89 districts, and hundreds of local communities, is a massive undertaking.
I can assure you we have made giant progress – and the finish line is in our sight.
Our government is now focussing on a number of key areas that will strengthen communities, and enable you to take advantage of the many opportunities we are blessed by a strong economy.
We are implementing our plan to enable Papua New Guineans to start and grow their own businesses. This is very much so for small to medium sized businesses in sectors such as tourism, agriculture, transport, construction, and other services.
Recently we have also launched a 200 million Kina initiative, with our Bank BSP, that will make home ownership more affordable and that is able to take care of their families.
You may ask me now – how can we afford better basic services, better roads, funding to encourage businesses, and funding such as the affordable housing?
We are able to afford this because of responsible management of the economy. As part of our Government’s agenda is to secure long-term revenue inflows from our growing economy. That includes revenue from the completion of our first LNG project, and the export of our vast gas resources.
Your government has carefully secured funds, also at concessional terms, in the certain knowledge that we will have the revenue certainty in the future.
These funds have been brought forward so that we can spend more on vital services and infrastructure you deserve now.
I can assure you that, that as revenue from our first LNG project comes in, we will manage it responsibly. Much of the revenue will be put into an independent managed fund, so we have long-term financial security, so that we can use it to maintain the services that are available to our people. Our Government has now approved the final draft of the Sovereign Wealth Fund, which will be presented to Parliament next month.
We will also ensure that all future projects maximise the use of our own work force – a good example the first project that has been just completed. We will also maximise the delivery of benefits to our landowners that they truly deserve.
The vast gas reserves and the oil reserves need to be developed in a way that maximises the benefits for the whole nation. That includes making sure that we secure the supply of energy to our businesses and to our people.
However, all this continues to be hampered by one major issue in our country.
That is lack of stability in governments since Independence.
If we do not have political stability, if we do not have consistency in policy, if we do not have certainty in government systems – then we will not secure the billions of kina investment that we require to create new jobs and opportunities for our people.
When major project developers and investors evaluate where they should invest their billions, and where they should allocate their resources, they weigh up a number of factors. None is more important than political stability.
I am proud to say here today, that over the last two years since we have been elected to Government we have achieved the greatest political stability than we have seen in many years.
We have a strong majority in the Parliament, a very good coalition, ministers who are working for the good of our nation.
We also have a very good policy agenda, very good Government programs, that has a focus to deliver better services, higher living standards, and greater opportunity for our people.
But there is much, much more to be done. I want to assure you, that our government is committed to doing much more, and doing it better.
In speaking to you today I want to highlight just how much progress we have made and how much we have achieved on the regional and world stages.
I do so because it should give each and every one of us real cause for pride in our nation because our standing is improving at home, and overseas.
We are demonstrating leadership in the South Pacific. We are working closely with our partner island states. The recent election of one of our distinguished citizens, as Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum is a further example of this commitment.
In the coming years our nation will be at the centre of regional and global attention with high-level events taking place in our country.
Next year in 2015, the sporting world will be watching Papua New Guinea hosting the Pacific Games. Bringing together athletes of the Pacific islands, the games will be wonderful spectacle and we all look forward to cheering our athletes to victory.
The games will leave a sporting legacy for our athletes with the new stadiums, sporting centres and training venues serving us many years into the future.
In 2018 we plan to host the most important international event since Independence – the APEC Leader’s Summit. This will bring together the leaders of 20 of our partner economies including the presidents of the United States and China.
What many people do not know is that between now and the Leaders Summit in 2018, Papua New Guinea will host up to 200 associated APEC meetings. This will bring thousands of delegates to our country from as far away as South America and Russia. During 2018 Papua New Guinea will be responsible for guiding the APEC agenda to enhance trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.
There are other ways we stand tall. We continue to contribute with pride, and enjoy wide respect…respect that grows every year.
This time next year we will be celebrating four decades of Independence - Independence that was peacefully and harmoniously.
But we ask ourselves - how did we get here? Yes we have made some mistakes, but we can also be proud of our many achievements.
A proud, united country of people transforming from a traditional way of life to a modern country in one generation.
We have much to be thankful for – even more, we look forward to a brighter future as a nation, and a community.
A Happy 39th Independence Day to all my fellow citizens and our friends!
Thank You, God Bless
**** Australian High Commissioner conveys best wishes to people of PNG ****
Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea Deborah Stokes has congratulated Papua New Guinea on her 39th Independence anniversary. PNG turned 39 years old today. PNG gained independence in September 16th 1975.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Australia, I would like to express my best wishes to the Government and people of Papua New Guinea on the occasion of their 39th anniversary of Independence.” She said the relationship between Australia and PNG is deep and enduring.
She said it is borne of history and geography and covers the full range of interests with close links between the governments, businesses and peoples of our two countries. The visits to Papua New Guinea this year by the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, have reaffirmed the close friendship between our two countries.
“ Australia welcomes Papua New Guinea’s contribution to the Pacific region, including its leadership in the Pacific Islands Forum and other regional mechanisms. PNG’s hosting of APEC in 2018 will highlight its growing economic importance. “Australia appreciates PNG’s strong leadership in combating people smuggling in the region, including through implementation of the Regional Resettlement Arrangement,” she said.
She said through their aid program, they were proud to work alongside PNG to create opportunities for private sector-led economic growth and to strengthen health, education and law and justice for the people of Papua New Guinea. “I convey my best wishes to the people of Papua New Guinea on their Independence Day.”
**** DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER’S INDEPENDENCE ADDRESS IN KURIWINA - Provincial Member for East New Britain & Minister for Inter-Government Relations - INDEPENDENCE DAY, 16 September 2014 ****
Honourable Member for Kiriwina-Goodenough, Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
At the outset, let me thank you Honourable Member for the invitation to visit this beautiful place. I thank you for the warm welcome you have given me and my delegation on my arrival at Losuia yesterday. Thank you very much indeed for your demonstration of great leadership in mobilizing our civil servants, members of the Police Force, school children and the public to grace us with your unique and hospitable welcome. Ladies and gentlemen, I have made a decision to be here with you all at this very special Independence Day to honor an invitation from your own son and Member for Kiriwina Goodenough and Minister for Forest and Climate Change, Honorable Douglas Tomuriesa.
He is vibrant and fearless young leader that I admired about his passion that he so often advocates to me as Minister for Provincial and Local Level Government Affairs about his dream and vision to change things for the better in his entire electorate of Kiriwina Goodenough. As Minister, I am in fact very impressed with the level of progress that your Member is making in translating the Policy of this government to improve service delivery at the provincial and Local Level Government levels. These are visible through development in the health and education sectors, the telecommunication sector, road and general transport infrastructure improvement, policing and general Law and Order as well as economic empowerment sector through your unique culture and tourism that Milne Bay in known for and indeed here in the Trobriand Group of islands. Thank you once more Honourable Member of this Electorate and District for this invitation.
It is 39 years since we gained independence in 1975. Who would have thought that we will make it this far as a united country? For those of you and especially the post-independence generations, the conception of our country was - for lack of a better word – abnormal. Papua New Guinea Independence came very quickly; - from the first national elections for the foundational House of Assembly in 1964 to Independence in 1975. During this time, the Australian colonial territories of Papua and New Guinea were rolled into one. The people from both sides did not see themselves as one people or a united nation under one potential country. The preparations for Independence went hand-in-hand with an elaborate effort to institute a sense of nationalism among the people. In the mean time, the basic essential institutions for a functioning modern state were not present during much of the 1960s. Apart from the House of Assembly, the full complements of a judicial system were not instituted until the early 1970s. The early tertiary institutions such as the University of Papua New Guinea and the PNG University of Technology did not graduate local students until around 1970. The emerging workforce - which was to become the public service – therefore had limited qualified manpower until much later. What was happening was that the nation and state building processes that took hundreds of years in other parts of the world to evolve was actually fast-tracked in just a decade or so in Papua New Guinea.
Perhaps the most critical component of any country has its own story of evolution too, and I am referring to the National Constitution. Papua New Guinea’s had to be framed and substantiated through a preliminary national consultative process with an audience - many of whom were relatively ignorant of the significance of statehood. The constitutional vision was steered in part by inspirations drawn from former colonies particularly from Africa. In essence, what transpired was the development of a “home grown” constitution for a people whose thoughts and aspirations were guided towards a future ideal society that we now called ‘Papua New Guinea’.
Honourable Member, Ladies and Gentlemen
It should be clear by now that we were the country that many people expected to collapse as soon as the Australians were to leave. Hank Nelson, a late professor in History, who got his doctoral degree from the University of Papua New Guinea, was one of the few who sensed that the country had the inner spirit of confidence and determination. In his words (and I quote): “in the long term, it is the people of Niugini who make one confident. They possess a courtesy, imagination and pragmatic strength to provide their own solutions.”
It is now 39 years – and we are still standing. There are many reasons out there that have been used to explain our resilience and continuity as a country. Among them are three key ones, which I often refer to as pillars. First, Papua New Guinea has been anchored on a foundation laid out by the different Christian churches. Just as much they came to evangelize our people, they also brought with them and instilled work ethics and moral standards. Early leaders that came through that church processes more than made up in commitment to work responsibilities than what they lacked in terms of higher education standards. Second, there was sound leadership that went hand-in-hand with firm commitment to community and human development. Leadership in this regard was practiced by those who were traditionally recognized as having such standing in a local or traditional sense, just as those who were recognized as such by their privileges to be educated. In your communities in this part of the country, you have a strong chieftainship system – and that is what I am referring to as leadership qualities at that level. However leadership was sourced, what mattered was how the people and authorities interacted with them, and how they behaved on behalf of the people. Third, of course, are our traditions and cultures. In any organized societies, certain traditions, cultural practices and processes are instituted over time so that peace and order are maintained for the benefit of everyone. Our cultures and traditional are still instrumental today, even though they have been challenged by the forces of change that are sweeping through our societies today – as they do in other parts of the world.
Honourable Member, Ladies and Gentlemen
When we look around ourselves today, we are probably observing the twilight of the political careers of many of our leaders that set the foundation of the country. A few weeks ago I was in the company of the Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare when attending the Mamose Governors’ Conference in Madang. Last week, I was with the Governor of New Ireland, Sir Julius Chan, when I addressed the New Ireland Provincial Assembly. While these icon figures of PNG are our parliamentary colleagues - let me be honest with you Honourable Member – I feel privileged and very fortunate that I am serving with them. Apart from Sir Michael and Sir Julius, there are few others left such as Sir Pita Lus, Sir Rabbie Namaliu and Grand Chief John Momis. Over the past years, we lost the likes of Sir Barry Holloway, Sir Sinake Giregire and Sir Matiabe Yuwi, Sir Danis Young, Sir Albert Maurikiki, Sir John John Guise, Sir Kingsford Debela, Sir Iambaki Okuk, Sir Martin ToVadek and others. We will never ever see the likes of these nation builders again. On this independIndependence Day however, it is important that we must spare a moment to reflect on the examples and the deeds they have done to set the foundation and course to where PNG as a Soverign Country is today.
When we look at ourselves inwardly, the country has been on a threshold in terms of a leadership change over the two decades or so. We are witnessing the last of the founding fathers that have steadied the country for some time now. The burning question is whether or not there are leaders capable to carry forward that mantra of quality leadership. When we think of it, there will always be one Wingti, one Somare and one Chan. Regarding the state building process, you only build a country once. What happens thereafter are instances whether you either tear down what has been erected or to continue rebuilding and fine-tuning the state. Thankfully, PNG is of the latter.
Therein lays the challenge for us as we commemorate the significance of PNG’s Independence. As leaders, community elders and parents; do we live for the sake of our children and their children – or we would rather live for today and deprive younger generations and those to come whom the founding fathers had in mind when they were placing the foundation stones on the dirt?
Honourable Member, Ladies and Gentlemen
When I met the Milne Bay Provincial Assembly in mid-August this year (last month), I noticed three qualities that I believe your leaders did well. First, the quality of leadership under Governor Philemon is quite impressive. Initiatives lead to policies, and policies in turn are translated into plans and projects that get implemented. More revealing also was the manner in which older generation of leaders were sitting alongside the younger generations – as was the case when ‘wise man’ Napoleon Liosi was flanked by younger leaders. Second, there was unity displayed by the leaders as they worked together. It might not be obvious to you in the Trobriand Islands, but provinces today that are split apart by infighting find it hard to adequately carry out their mandate responsibilities. It just goes to show that governments that are not focused on the welfare and needs of the people consistently fails to serve any meaningful purposes – regardless of what the leaders concerned say. Third, your provincial government has an uncanny ability to use meagre financial resources wisely. I was surprised to learn that the new provincial quarters was costing less than what its size and features portrayed. The Good Governor and provincial leaders had discovered what I would describe as a ‘secret formula’ to reduce the cost.
My focus on the qualities of the provincial government is not only to encourage you to aim up and keep up your good work, but it is also my way of letting you know that I will be using your standards as a measure of sorts to compare with other provinces. Of course I count on Milne Bay to make its position clear when the new organic law on the different levels of government become an item in the public domain for in-depth discussions. I say this while stressing that Milne Bay’s strength does not rest with its leaders, but more so on the ability of members of society to organize themselves and meet the pressing demands of the people. Your LLGs are performing well just as most of your wards and church-run groupings. I implore you to continue your good work so that you also become an exemplary province even to those that have been regarded as frontrunners for so long.
Honourable Member, Ladies and Gentlemen
As this is our Independence Day, my last wish once more is for all of us to spare a thought for our children. A line from the National Pledge goes (and I quote): “We pledge to build a democratic society based on justice, equality, respect, and prosperity for our people.” It is bad enough that leaders and older generations have to take wealth and resources from our own dependents because of our deceitful ways of management. But it is worse when we allow the little ones to recite words that might not bear any meaning to them tomorrow. What excuses then do we have today?
In conclusion, let me congratulate the Honourable Member for your initiative to revive the Trobriand Island Kula Masawa which I have a great Honourable on behave of the government to officially launch today as part of the commemoration of our country's 39th birthday. I certainly hope that the Kula Masawa Rally that I will launch today will take a successful journey until we meet again On the 16 September 2015 to celebrate our country's 40th birthday. I also assure that I will discuss with Hon Bokassa Kondra Minister for Tourism to include this Kula Masawa Festival on its official tourism event clandar to become a sanctioned event of the Tourism Promotion Authority.
Thank you, Honourable Member, and everyone for spending this memorable time with you all. This is a day and occasion that I will never forget. God bless you all and our beloved country – Papua New Guinea.
**** Facts on the State of PNGSDP Finances ****
The Office of the Attorney General is compelled to refute certain untruths perpetuated by Sir Mekere Morauta in a media release issued by the PNGSDP’s dated 14 September 2014 (“PNGSDP’s Media Release”).
It is a matter of fact, and clear from the audited accounts of PNGSDP, that the Long Term Fund was drawn down and used in 2013. In fact, the Long Term Fund decreased substantially by more than US$55 million in 2013 (from approximately US$1.35 billion as at 31 December 2012 to that of US$1.295 billion as at 31 December 2013).
Sir Mekere has failed to date to account for this substantial fall in the value of the Long Term Fund. He simply asserts, falsely, that PNGSDP is entitled to utilise the “investment income” received by PNGSDP on the Long Term Fund for its “operational expenses”.
Sir Mekere has deceivingly failed, however, to highlight to the people of Western Province and the rest of Papua New Guinea (“People”), that PNGSDP received no investment income on the Long Term Fund in 2013, which instead suffered an investment loss of US$4,654,928.
Further, under the Program Rules, investment income received by PNGSDP on the Long Term Fund in the previous years cannot be used to pay PNGSDP’s “operating expenses” in 2013. Instead, any such remaining investment income is to be added to the capital of the Long Term Fund (standing at over US$1.35 billion as at 31 December 2012), which Sir Mekere accepts cannot be used for PNGSDP’s “operational expenses”.
Significantly, Sir Mekere’s latest contrived attempt to justify the use by PNGSDP (under his control) of the Long Term Fund in 2013 was not previously raised by PNGSDP in its affidavits filed in the Singapore Court proceedings (the drawdown was instead attributed to “investments” of doubtful value in Frontier Resources and to the alleged “practice” of PNGSDP to draw on the Long Term Fund for “operational expenses”). The State’s lawyers will be drawing this to the Singapore Courts’ attention in due course.
As the dispute between PNGSDP and the State (representing the People) is pending before the Singapore Courts, the State will elaborate on its position in the relevant Court filings and this Office will reserve further comment, save where it is compelled, so as to protect the interests of the People, to correct falsehoods perpetuated by PNGSDP (as in the case of PNGSDP’s Media Release). This Office therefore urges Sir Mekere to be fully transparent with the People in any future press release; Sir Mekere should have no difficulty doing so, if he truly intends to be transparent with the People (as opposed to withholding information from them and the State).
****Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill: Country will change over time ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has given an undertaking that the country will not change overnight but will change over time.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill visited his Ialibu-Pangia electorate on independence day to pass on his 39th independence anniversary message of hope and to thank his people to giving him the mandate to lead the country as Prime Minister. "This Government is committed to work in the districts, provinces and everywhere else in the country. For the first time in our history we are putting money into the districts," the Prime Minister said.
"We cannot resolve all the issues that we have been carrying for 40 years, it will take time, that is why sometimes work is slow but do not be angry, nobody can do miracles and get work done faster. "But one thing I can promise is that our country will change and will continue to change, It is only two years that we are in government.
"When we went into Parliament, PNG gave us the mandate, they did not give it to another person, they gave us 27 members and under the law, the party with the highest number will form government and it is still going strong with close to 91-92 members in the Government."
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said People’s National Congress (PNC) has 60 MPs , enough to form its own government but decided to work with its coalition partners. He told a good crowd gathered in front of the district headquarters that the visit on short notice was not planned but decided to use the independence holiday to visit some projects in the electorate. "This is not a planned meeting, sorry for the short notice, we came around to look at the projects and it is good to take time off on this holiday to come here and move forward the development of Ialibu-Pangia.
"You elected me to do the job and by 2017 you will assess my performance," he said. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill also brought in a contractor to have a look at some projects in the area.
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**** Speech by The Prime Minister, Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, At the Official Commissioning of The Kanudi Gas Turbine, 18 September 2014 ****
I know that we have gone through many debates and discussions on this issue about this particular power generation facility last year.
Governments deliberate direct intervention about the purchase of this particular power generator has been delivered in the sense that the government continues to recognize the dire shortage of energy in the country.
Many of us on a day-to-day basis experience the Power blackouts. Our country deserves more. Our country deserves to ensure that it secures the energy security of the country so that we can continue to build on the growth of the economy that we are experiencing today. But more importantly we have a consistent supply of power to our people.
If we look around the world today many of the industrial nations that have been successful in building a better standard of living for the citizens would not have done so without a secure and consistent supply of my energy to their own communities and to their economy.
That is why it is important for government to make the decision that going forward without a long-term plan that was insight for the government, we thought that it was necessary for us to intervene. Many times when we are in our own houses, when we are attending international conferences and business discussions, when we are working in our offices - the continuous lack of supply of consistent power to conduct our activities or business is becoming too regular.
It is also important to note that the recent studies that were done by development partners like IFC, have had really indicated to us, to government and the rest of us, that out of our population of seven and a half million people, we are only able to able to supply to one and a half million people in this country.
So while you and I are launching this project, you must imagine that every night six million Papua New Guineans go to bed without power supply to their houses.
That is unacceptable, we must change. That is why government is taking decisions that are not easy, many times we talk about trying to be innovative and trying to meet the challenges that we are facing - there are political opportunists out there who without offering any solution what so ever to what Government is trying to do. The continuously criticize any new suggestions or any new proposals that has been put forward.
Our new proposal to the nation to try and make sure that we invite private sector capital into PNG Power so that we can go out there and build more generation capacity throughout the country so that we can power our nation is something that this country needs today.
It does not needed tomorrow, it needs this today. And that is why government is taking a deliberate decision. It is not easy, but if we do not make a decision today tomorrow we are going to pay the price for it.
Many of us who are you today know PNG Power from about 20 to 30 years ago. It was the pride of the nation. It was the most efficient and effectively in the managed organization in the country.
If it was able to supply power to our people in a consistent matter. Now, that has all gone because governments from time-to-time have not be able to invest money into PG power. We can't blame the board, we can't blame the management, we can't blame the workers of PMG Power. We can blame ourselves
Because we have not been able to put enough money to make sure that we consistently invest in the capital requirements of PNG power.
As a result we are praying the price today. We are paying the price today. That is why I say to everyone, including our critics, it’s not time for political opportunism. It is time for us to offer solutions.
We are inviting private sector money into our country. We are not selling PNG Power to anyone else, we are offering it to our citizens. Our Papua New Guinea business many women to come in and invest the money they have made in a growing economy.
So that they can invest in power generation that will also give them a good return on their investment.
So let us work through this together, with the unions, with the workers, with the management and with the Board. With IBC as a shareholder, Government is prepared to work out a strategy that is going to deliver consistent power for our people, our businesses and of course it will help us grow the economy.
Let us not forget, but only recently we were able to bring in a new player for the telecommunications industry in this country. As a result of that it contributed more than 1% to our GDP. That is a clear example of a good investment in infrastructure that is able to make a positive contribution to the economy of the country.
Power can do substantially more and that is why it is important. Our government does not have enough money to continue to invest in PNG Power. That is a fact.
Even politicians are criticizing the government today – they know very well that the Government does not have enough money to invest in big capital expenditure that is required for us to build big hydro schemes, and to have more generators like this.
That is why it is important that we were together with the private sector - let us be open-minded about our proposal. Let us try and find a solution for the crony problem that we have today. I stress again, and I cannot stress enough, if we do not address these issues today, tomorrow we’re going to pay the price.
Now we have this got this generate power generation facility here, it is time for us to know also upgrade the maintenance of our existing facilities – of course our power generators and the hydro schemes that we have. Next year we must start the construction we have had enough talking, we must start the construction of next year. There must be no more excuses. We will find the money that is needed. We must start the expansion of the Yorkie hydro scheme.
And of course we must continue to make sure that we finalise the conclusion of the discussions that we had and having with our gas producers. We already producing gas in this country, there is no excuse for further delays on why we cannot power of this with gas in our country today.
That is why we must conclude those discussions, conclude those arrangements, so that we can be able to supply our people with cheaper power in this country where it will give even more opportunities.
Cheaper power improves living standards, gives capability to businesses so that they can be able to do more business and be a greater contributor to a stronger economy. That is why give me great pleasure to be here today.
This is a very important occasion. I don’t know when was the last time, maybe 10 years ago when we had a new power generation plant like this.
I know that people always say that this was rushed - I know that people say that we did not follow the process is right. But when you have an Emergency how do you expect your government to intervene. You expect your government to intervene when you have an emergency.
When you go down to Lae City, they have three or four Bacchus everyday. That is why we need to get the new generator in Lae installed immediately, not waiting for tomorrow. When this is completed I appeal to the PG power management board, please move all about technicians and engineers across. So that we can get ready for the 2014 November games, the PNG Games, that is going to be held in city of Lae.
So government has got the right to intervene on occasions like this. This will give us a consistent supply of PNG power - power to our citizens. Those critics I asked them if you if you do not want PNG power supply and just switch it off! Then try and see how you will live in blackout.
Let us be constructive in our criticism, and let us work together for the good of our country.
It gives me great pleasure to officially commission this gas turbine power generation plan.
Before concluding, let me thank the engineers, the PNG Power board and management. Thank you very much for the work that you have put into this occasion.
Thank you and God bless each and everyone thank you.
**** Adult literacy campaign launched ****
Education CSO groups launched a national campaign advocating for policy change and government recognition of adult literacy programs as a strategy for sustainable development last week. The campaign was launched on a high note by the Education Minister Hon. Nick Kuman who assured the CSO groups that "the Government has heard your voice!"
Literacy programs in PNG have been in existence since pre-colonial days and continue to play a crucial role in community development, transformation of lives, promoting social inclusion and contributing to a literate population.
In light of rapid population growth and the high number of children being pushed out of the formal education system, the bulk of the population who are unable to access some form of learning are absorbed by adult literacy programs.
Today adult literacy programs include children as young as four years, learning alongside their parent, and an increasing number of young people between the ages of 12 to 21. To be illiterate is like being in a prison said Maria, a literacy student in NCD. "You cannot fill out a bank deposit slip, read medicine labels, help your children with their school work or communicate effectively.’’
Cecelia is another literacy student in her late 40’s and comes from East Sepik. After attending the school she is now able to do simple things like go to the bank and read her Bible.
Ms Kare described the campaign as successful and said education CSOs will be working with the Minister’s office to develop a collaborative approach to improve literacy for all Papua New Guineans.
**** PNG and World Bank Consider Further Partnership Opportunities ****
Papua New Guinea and the World Bank have reviewed their current and future cooperation that includes lending, technical assistance and analytical advice. They also discussed potential financial support in the order of $175million over the next two years.
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, and World Bank Group Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific, Axel van Trotsenburg, covered the close PNG-World Bank partnership in a meeting in Friday 19 September. The Vice President was accompanied by Ms Steffi Stallmeister, the World Bank’s new Country Manager Posted to Papua New Guinea.
The Prime Minister said the World Bank and Papua New Guinea have a healthy working relationship. “Papua New Guinea’s partnership with the World Bank has been built over many years and delivers tangible outcomes for people around the nation,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
“We thank the World Bank for its offer to provide further technical support in areas where capacity strengthening is required. This includes building the capacity of National Statistical Office for which the World Bank will provide technical Assistance.
“The ongoing and expanded project in the agriculture sector is of particular value to smallholder farmers in the coffee and cocoa sectors, while other projects are also providing support for youth development and other social and economic activities.”
Mr van Trotsenburg highlighted the dedication of both Papua New Guinea and the World Bank to work to common goals for people around the nation.
“The World Bank Group and the Government of Papua New Guinea share a strong commitment to improve the livelihoods of Papua New Guineans and today’s meeting with Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill confirmed that,” Mr van Trotsenburg said. “About half the current program has been committed and today we sought agreement on the potential projects that could benefit from the next US$175million in financial support.”
The discussion further covered a broader range of issues that included long-term challenges that Papua New Guinea was facing and further ongoing cooperative opportunities. The World Bank Vice President shared with Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill details of his recent visit to Mt Hagen to discuss the Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (PPAP). The meeting also discussed the Prime Minister’s commitment to confront gender and domestic violence, and considered further partnership possibilities to further raise awareness in relation to these issues.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill Expresses Gratitude to Chinese Hospital Ship Ark Peace ****
Prime Minister. Hon Peter O’Neill CMG MP, has thanked the Captain and crew of the Chinese Naval Hospital Ship, Ark Peace, for their gesture of friendship towards the people of Papua New Guinea
The Prime Minister made the comments to Rear Admiral, Shen Hao, during a tour of vessel shortly before it set sail from Port Moresby. The Prime Minister said he welcomed the ship’s visit to Papua New Guinea and thanked China’s Navy for extending goodwill.
“Our people thank you for the extension of healthcare that you offered to Papua New Guineans during the visit and for providing support at our hospitals.
“This visit has been an exchange of medical support, friendship and culture. “I hope you come back soon and once again enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Islands. “I thank you for your visit and wish you a safe journey home.”
The Prime Minister told Rear Admiral Shen Hao that he will convey these sentiments of gratitude to the President of China at the APEC Summit in Beijing in November. In receiving the Prime Minister on the ship, the Rear Admiral highlighted the maritime links between Papua New Guinea and China and expressed his satisfaction with the visit.
“The friendship and sentiments between our two countries are boundless and it is the blue ocean that binds the countries together,” Admiral Shen Hao said.
“I enjoyed a cultural exchange visit to the town of Rigo where I was very impressed with the children of the school who were very welcoming. “I will remember the natural beauty of Papua New Guinea and the hospitality of the people.”
The Rear Admiral summed up the visit by saying the presence of the ship was to enhance friendship between the two peoples and he wishes the people of Papua New Guinea healthy and happy lives.
**** Prime Minister Expresses Condolences Following Aircraft Crash ****
The Prime Minister, Hon. Peter O’Neill, has expressed deep and sincere condolences to the families of the passengers and crew of the Twin Otter aircraft that crashed on approach to Port Moresby on 20 September.
“The thoughts of the nation are with the families of the four people who lost their lives, and we pray for the recovery of the five survivors. “To families in Papua New Guinea and Australia who are experiencing terrible grief right now, our thoughts and prayers are with you.”
The Prime Minister assured the families of those involved in the crash, and the public, that the cause of the crash will be full investigated. “The Minister for Civil Aviation, Steven Davies, has ensured that I was briefed on the incident since soon after it occurred.
“Now the Papua New Guinea Accident Investigation Commission is working to establish the cause of this incident. “I commend the response of emergency services and the members of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force. These personnel arrived soon after the flight went down and worked diligently to evacuate the injured, and respectfully remove those who did not survive.”
The Prime Minister asked that members of the public are sensitive to the feelings of the families impacted by the incident and do not engage in rumors particularly on social media. “It is important that people do not jump to conclusions as to what caused the incident and as investigators undertake their analysis based on evidence.” “I urge people on social media to be sensible and sensitive in what they post about the incident.”
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said as a country that relies heavily on air travel, any crash is of interest right around the nation. “Air incidents such as this are close to the hearts of many in Papua New Guinea as we depend heavily on air transport for family and business travel.
“It must be remembered that air travel remains an overwhelmingly safe means of travel. When an incident such as this occurs it is full investigated, and the results of that investigation are analyzed by Papua New Guinean and international experts for further action.”
**** NFA PRESENTS K25m in DIVIDENDS TO STATE ****
The National Fisheries Authority today presented its 2014 dividends amounting K25 million to the State.
The cheque was presented to the Chief Secretary to Government, Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc, by the Managing Director of NFA, John Kasu, witnessed by the NFA Chairman, Job Pomat, at the Moauta Haus Building in Port Moresby.
Sir Manasupe, on behalf of the Government, expressed gratitude and appreciation, for the Authority's compliance in paying the State such an amount and urged other government agencies to follow through accordingly. "Since the inception of the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) in 2000 as an authority, it has continued to pay its dividends dutifully each year to the State.
"Last year, NFA paid an amount in dividends totaling K50 million. Most of its revenue comes from its bilateral and access agreements signed with other countries, giving their fishing companies the right to harvest our marine resources in Papua New Guinea waters,"he said. The Chief Secretary also said NFA has been a successful and an exemplary government statutory organisation, that has brought in considerable amounts of returns to the government.
He said the industry, according to the Chairman however, has certain important issues that need to be resolved and it is up to the Whole-of-Government to back up our fisheries industry, so we can address some of these issues that are being raised by our biggest market - the European Union. Sir Manasupe further thanked the National Fisheries Authority Board for deciding in its Board meeting last week, to pay its K25 million excessive revenue as dividends to the State.
**** Speech by Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, 13th Session of the Codex Committee for the North America South West Pacfic Region (CCNASWP) ****
Gazelle International Hotel, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Monday, 22nd September 2014
Hon. Assik Tommy Tomscoll MP
Minister for Agriculture and Livestock
Her Excellency Mrs. Awilo Ochieng Pernet
Chair of the Codex Alimentarius Commission
Dr. Vele Pat Ila’ava
Chair of the Codex Committee for North America & South West Pacific Region
The Representatives of Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO)
The Secretariat of Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC)
The Heads of Delegations and Delegates
Ladies and gentlemen…
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, Hon. Assik Tommy Tomscoll, for inviting me to open the 13th Session of the Codex Committee for the North America and South West Pacific region.
It is very good that this meeting is taking place in Kokopo. This is a beautiful setting where you can enjoy a wonderful array of fresh seafood.
Considering the subject matter of this meeting, I expect our chefs will be looking after you quite well. Kokopo has a wide range of food with the highest standard of quality that you expect.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The issues before this conference are very important.
The development and acceptance of international food standards saves lives and keeps communities safe.
A further benefit is that developing codes of practice and implementing guidelines that are observed in many parts of the world increases cross-border trade in our food products.
Our contry recognises the importance of these issues and has enacted legislation to support and facilitate food security and food safety.
We are striving to build a modern and internationally competitive agriculture sector.
Our membership in Codex is something we take very seriously as we strengthen our systems to ensure that we maintain the quality and safety of the food we produce.
We want to have healthy people in our countries who eat safe and nutritious food that provides the quality of life we all deserve, and we want the food to export food that is fresh and safe.
I would like to commend Codex for its strong commitment to establishing standards that are based on sound scientific evidence provided by FAO and the WHO expert committees.
Having food quality and food safety protocols, based on clear scientific research provides a strong basis on which to generate consensus and ensure compliance.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This forum certainly works at a broad regional level with a very diverse membership from Australia and New Zealand - through nine Pacific Island States - to the United States and Canada.
This diversity brings different challenges in relation to the production, processing and trade in food. For example, a famer in a developing Pacific Island state will have different challenges to a famer in Ontario or Western Australia.
For smaller countries in the Pacific – food security, food safety and food trade are development agenda issues.
If we do not get these issues right our people suffer in several ways – in their daily health which affects communities and raises healthcare costs, and the further economic loss if we cannot trade our food overseas.
In the global sense we are also facing challenges. Consumer awareness over the last few decades has brought about greater expectations for safety and quality of foods that are consumed.
As a food-producing nation, we understand in this market we need to meet the demands of the consumer.
At the same time, smaller nations do not expect to be unfairly disadvantaged by unrealistic or unnecessary requirements placed on our food exports. Some of these demands constitute a barrier to our trade with larger economies - and this places unfair and unreasonable demands on smaller nations.
Certainly, the CAC does a very good job at working to set international food standards.
However, for CAC to remain relevant to all members, both small and large, it must do more to ensure the most influential members of the international community adhere to the principles of free and fair trade.
I call on all members of the Codex Committee for the North America South West Pacific, big and small countries, to find innovative solutions to ensure equity and fairness with our trading partners.
I propose that CAC explore opportunities for stronger linkages with the WTO, and other regional and global trade bodies, to enhance compliance to Codex standards.
One option for discussion, that has been proposed by the Papua New Guinea Department of Agriculture and Livestock, could be the introduction of a levy for compliance to Codex standards.
Such a levy could be used to support and sustain the Codex Trust Fund that has contributed immensely in building capacity and elevating the profile of Codex in the Pacific Island Countries.
Food security will continue to be an important agenda item for conferences and forums that will take place in Papua New Guinea over the coming years.
In May next year we will host the FAO Agriculture Ministers meeting in Port Moresby. Beyond this, Papua New Guinea will host a large number of APEC technical level meetings in the lead-up to the APEC Leaders’ Summit in 2018.
Papua New Guinea’s participation in forums, such as the APEC Policy Partnership on Food Security, will continue to be a priority.
As part of our ongoing contribution to forums addressing food security, food safety and the trade in food – I would like to offer to host Codex technical meetings on food labelling and food trade to be held in Papua New Guinea.
I am confident that other Pacific Island countries would like to share this responsibility and also host meetings.
I congratulate the CAC for the Strategic Plan 2014-2019 which provides the platform for Codex to continue the excellent work it began 50 years ago.
It is pleasing to see that the 13th Session of the Codex Committee for the North America and South West Pacific region will finalize and endorse its regional strategic plan.
These two strategic plans complement each other in responding to addressing changes in the global feed and food supply chain system, and innovation in food science and technology.
On behalf of our people and Government of Papua New Guinea, thank you for the honour bestowed upon our Department of Agriculture and Livestock to chair this regional forum.
I have no doubt that this week will be stimulating, exciting and rewarding.
I wish you all well in your stay here and encourage you to venture outside your meeting to sample some of what Kokopo and East New Britain Province offers.
It gives me great pleasure to declare open the “13th Session of the Coordinating Committee for the North America and South West Pacific Region.”
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill Applauds Electoral Processes in Fiji, New Zealand and Scotland ****
Prime Minister. Hon Peter O’Neill CMG MP, has praised the peaceful and transparent democratic process that has taken place in three of Papua New Guinea’s partner countries over the past week.
The Prime Minister has written to the leaders of Fiji and New Zealand congratulating them on their successful campaign outcomes, and has conveyed his satisfaction with the transparent way in which the Scottish independence referendum was undertaken. “The national elections in Fiji and New Zealand, and the referendum on Scottish independence demonstrate the embrace for democratic process in each of these countries,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
“In particular, the global community was pleased to see the peaceful election in Fiji that has resulted in the election of Prime Minister Bainimarama. “This has been several years in the making and Prime Minister Bainimarama has been true to his commitment to hold a democratic election.
“We now look forward to the process of welcoming Fiji back into important international forums including the Pacific Islands Forum and the Commonwealth.”
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill also acknowledged the clear electoral victory of Prime Minister John Key in New Zealand. “Prime Minister Key has demonstrated leadership in domestic and foreign policy issues. “Papua New Guinea has strong cultural and economic ties with New Zealand and we are very interested to see these expand.
“New Zealand provides very welcome capacity building support to Papua New Guinea in areas such as SME development, human resource capacity building, expanding access to renewable energy opportunities and supporting peace and stability on Bougainville.
“We have also received offers from New Zealand to enhance preparations for hosting APEC meetings through to 2018.”
The Prime Minister said the outcome of the independence vote in Scotland is a demonstration of the value of unity in national identity, regardless of differences due to geography or tradition.
“The Scottish people have elected to stay in union with the rest of Great Britain and there is good reason for this. As part of a larger country the citizens have access to economies of scale including better healthcare, education and trade.
“Managing differences within a nation is an issue with which Papua New Guinea is familiar. With such diversity in tradition and culture across our country we have worked to build harmony and to ensure all Papua New Guineans share in our growing economy. “We applaud the people of Scotland for their conduct in this voting process.”
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill shows support for women’s conference ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill presented K200,000 to the 14th Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELC) National women’s conference in Boana station of Nawaeb district in Morobe yesterday.
The token equaled Morobe Governor Kelly Naru’s donation of the same amount from the provincial purse to assist the mothers from the 17 ELC districts in PNG partake in the week-long conference opened on Sunday.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill received the first drafted five year development plan for ELC mothers in the country to be presented to planning Minister Charles Abel who is responsible for the recently approved national Government church partnership program (CPP). In receiving the plan Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said for the past 40 years PNG has come up with many plans and very little tangible results but today this plans must be actioned.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said in the last two years PNG has changed because the Government has showed commitment in the five basis pillars of education, health, law and order, economy and infrastructure. "The number of students going to school has doubled from one million to two million in the last two years alone," he said.
He reminded the men folk that mothers are the backbone of the family and it is they must be nurtured and allowed to grow the society and nation as well. "Family planning is a big issue in PNG, let’s be responsible in creating and managing families giving priority to the wellbeing of the children," he said.
**** City hall launches waste management policy ****
The National Capital District Commission intends to lead in integrated solid waste management in the country with its new waste management policy. The new policy was launched yesterday in Port Moresby and outlines a comprehensive set of decisions and actions that will improve NCDCs managem
This policy will also improve the adverse impacts of wastes on the environment and public health in the city. The NCD waste manager Joshua Sam said effective waste management is very challenging especially in big cities and towns with huge population and increasing demand.
"The commission plans to adopt a strategic approach as set out under seven key areas to sustainably manage waste now and into the future. "The policy will be implemented by individuals and collective actions by all sectors of the community to ensure a safe, healthy, sustainable and sound economic environment," he said.
"It sets the roles and responsibilities that support the Commission in prioritizing waste management strategies for five years of implementation period with arrangements for tracking, progress and monitoring performances.” The policy will also focus on using the three Rs practice that employs reduce, re-use and recycle methods to reduce and manage waste at the source before collection and disposal.
The vision of the policy is to create a clean, green and safe environment for NCD while providing a framework for the effective management of solid waste generation, storage, collection, transportation, treatment and disposal.
It is envisioned that the implementation of this policy will protect public health and the environment from the adverse impacts of solid waste. JICA chief representative Shigeru Sugiyama said he was pleased to work in partnership with NCDC to achieve the waste management policy objectives.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill - Focus on exporting quality food ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill says the country is trying to build a modern and internationally competitive agriculture sector. He told the opening session of the Codex Committee for North America South West Pacific region in Kokopo yesterday that PNG’s membership of Codex was something the Government took seriously to strengthen systems which would ensure food safety.
“We want to have healthy people who eat safe and nutritious food that provide the quality of life we all deserve. And we want the food that we export to have a reputation of being fresh and safe.” More than 50 participants are attending the international meeting in Kokopo, including Canada, Tonga, New Zealand, PNG, Australia, Samoa, USA, Cook Islands, Nauru, Vanuatu, Federated State of Micronesia, Fiji, Switzerland, Solomon Islands and Kiribati.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said having food quality and food safety products based on clear scientific research provided a strong basis on which to generate consensus and ensure compliance. “The diversity brings different challenges in relation to the production, processing and trade in food,” he said. “If we do not get these issues right, our people will suffer in several ways – in their daily health which affects communities and raises health care costs and the economics loss if we cannot trade our food overseas.”
**** Health Dept addresses medical supplies issues ****
The Health Department has taken steps to address issues which are greatly affecting the management of medical supplies accessibly in the country, says Secretary Pascoe Kase.
He said in a brief statement that addressed key agencies and relevant partners in a two day review of the medicines and cosmetics act 1999 and regulation 2001 that started on Monday in Port Moresby. The workshop is one of the steps forward in addressing the management of medical supplies.
The country is lacking proper and effective authority to overseer the safety of medical products arriving into PNG. During the two day meeting which begin on Monday, the discussions were centred on the establishment of the regulatory authority which has been discussed in the health cycles for a long time.
A first of its kind meeting with stakeholders such as Police, NAQIA, IPA, NARI, PNGDF, Customs, ICCC, office of the State Solicitor, Office of Legislative Council and WHO, senior officers have been tasked to identify and propose relevant provisions for regulation and enforcement.
Mr Kase also said the review of the act is necessary and timely following the NEC approval of National Medicines Policy 2014. Manager medical standards Dr Goa Tau who advocates on issues about availability, affordability, accessibility and quality of medicines and the rational use of medicines, said he believes identifying issues and addressing each appropriately in this legislation will go along way to attaining outcomes for quality health services.
He said partnerships have been bolstered such as the MOU with the police and defence and customs. "I believe more discussions and collaboration are on going with other relevant stakeholders for effective regulations of out pharmaceutical industry to better the quality of health service for our people," Dr Tau said.
**** Poponawa Calls for Media Accuracy: “I am with PNC” ****
Tambul-Nebilyer MP Benjamin Poponawa is very concerned that news outlets are misreporting his party affiliation.
“In July this year, several of my colleagues and I made a collective decision to leave THE Party and join the People’s National Congress Party. “Incorrect reporting on this change has caused anxiety and anger among my people, and I demand that media who have misreported this information immediately set the record straight.
“We joined PNC to ensure stability so the Government can continue to deliver its development programs for our nation. “Stability in Government is vital for a rural electorate like my own that has been neglected for so long.
“The O’Neill/Dion Government is the most progressive in our nation’s history. My colleagues and I left THE Party so that we can be part of development of our nation.
“This was in accordance with the relevant laws, and after full consultations with my people of Tambul-Nebilyer whom I represent in Parliament. “If some members of the media or THE Party find this difficult – they have to accept reality and move on.”
The front page article of the Post Courier (Wed 24th Sept, 2014) makes the assertion that Mr Poponawa will switch to the Opposition when THE Party moves.
“I respect the freedom of the media, but this carries moral and legal responsibility to be accurate in reporting.”
**** Japan envoy: We must not repeat horrors of war ****
Horrors of the war must not be repeated and there needs to be peace on the earth, says Japanese Ambassador to Papua New Guinea Morio Matsumoto. Mr Matsumoto was addressing the 750-plus members of the visiting Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force training squadron who arrived in Port Moresby on Tuesday morning.
The newly appointed Ambassador also reiterated the same sentiments when addressing Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill and hundreds of invited guests who attended the official welcome dinner on board one of the Navy vessels – JS Setoyuki (TV 3518). "We must not repeat the horrors of the war. Yes, we definitely need to establish peace on earth," Mr Matsumoto said.
"In light of the history of the World War II in the Pacific Region, I would also like to take this opportunity to refer to a remark made by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his visit to Papua New Guinea in July this year where he stated that horrors of the war must not be repeated.
"I believe that the visit of the quadroon would become a wonderful opportunity in your training to have better understanding on the history of war in this part of the world. "The more you understand the history, the more determined you are to foster closer relationships and mutual cooperation with your Papua New Guinean counterparts in order to realise the better world."
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill was amazed by the Japanese food, alcohol and everything Japanese on board the vessel, and presented on behalf of PNG, 40 cartons of PNG’s SP beer to the navy trainees and told them that they must taste PNG beer before they leave the shores of the country.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill stressed the bilateral relations Japan and PNG enjoyed and the financial assistance Japan gave to PNG, thanking the Government of Japan for this gesture.
One of the commanding officers, a female captain, CDR Ryoko Azuma, who commands one of the vessels with more than 200 trainees and 20 officers "PNG women can do what she is doing right now – commanding a squadron”.
**** Government to focus more on education ****
The Government plans to allocate more funding to education next year for the development of school infrastructure, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill says.
He said during the launching of Sacred Heart Primary School’s 50th anniversary in Port Moresby the Government was “serious in educating young people in our country”. He said the Government would allocate more funds - on top of the education subsidy paid to schools – for school infrastructure.
“These include the building of new teachers houses and classrooms in all the schools every year,” he said.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said the Government would work with the churches. The Catholic Church has been funding and running the Sacred Heart Primary School in the past 50 years without being acknowledged by the Government.
Head teacher Pokatou Litau said school was privileged to be visited by the country’s leader and the students promised to “perform extremely well in the coming exams”. “For the last three years, this school has topped the country in the Grade Eight national examination and this year is no exception,” Litau said.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill: Partial Privatization best way for management of SOEs ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill says there is a growing need of private sector participation in the management of state own enterprises. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said this on a live interview with Radio New Zealand today where he also said that the government has announced the privatisation of Air Niugini with 49% of the national airline to go on sale as the series of privatisation. “Government does not have enough extra resources and funds available to invest in those companies so that they can improve their efficiencies and expand their services, so we need to get into private sector,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill stated in the interview that the aviation industry hasn’t been doing too well but Air Niugini has managed to keep its costs under control and been able to maintain a high level of customer service that is internationally acceptable. “I encourage our own citizens to take the first chance to purchase the initial issue of shares that are going to be done, and if they are not fully subscribed then we will turn to some of our own companies within the country,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said as he urges citizens in the country
He said we will maintain close to 50 percent shareholding by the state so that they also feel comfortable that the state will continue to have a significant presence in the company. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill also stated that the next in line is our electricity company which is PNG Power where we are now talking with all our stakeholders, including the management, the employees, the board, and of course some of the industry participants, that we will also stage a partial sale of shares to raise capital in order for us to again expand our services in providing electricity to our citizens and businesses in a growing economy.
“To invest in energy generation facilities and infrastructure is quite an expensive exercise and government does not have additional or extra funds that it can invest into maintaining these services, therefore it is important that we encourage the private sector to participate,” Prime Minister Hon Peter O’Neill explained.
He said again it's not only about raising capital but it is also about trying to bring private sector efficiency and management skills into managing the state-owned assets. Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill pointed out that the state-owned enterprises have been mismanaged for quite a while where we have not fully been able to realize its potential and its ability to deliver world class services.
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill raises concern over OC move not to probe Namah ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill has raised concerns that the Ombudsman Commission will not investigate claims made by Opposition Leader, Belden Namah MP, that he spent K50 million on Members of Parliament in the 2012 election.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said Mr Namah himself had made the multimillion kina claim and it raises serious concerns that should be properly scrutinized. However, the Ombudsman Commission has responded by suggesting the matter should be considered by the Registrar of Political Parties and Candidates Commission. In his correspondence with the Chief Ombudsman, the Prime Minister stated that the failure of the Ombudsman Commission to inquire into this claim “casts light on the fundamental question of fairness and impartiality on the part of the Commission.”
“This matter is the subject of great public interest, which warrants Ombudsman Commission investigation under the Leadership Code. “The Ombudsman Commission should not simply ignore the public complaint, which has been lodged and refer it to another Authority for investigation.
Speaking after more recent correspondence from the Chief Ombudsman, the Prime Minister said he remains concerned at the lack of interest on the part of the Ombudsman Commission.
“The people of Papua New Guinea have legitimate questions that they would like answered,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said. “Where did Mr Namah get this K50 million? He was not a successful businessman before he went into politics. “Has he declared this K50 million and paid tax on it? “Adherence to transparency is a responsibility of all holders of public office and this admission of questionable activity by the Leader of the Opposition needs to be fully investigated without fear or favour.”
**** Prime Minister Hon. Peter O'Neill to launch awareness campaign on TB ****
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill is set to launch a National Awareness Campaign today as part of the ongoing fight against Tuberculosis. The campaign targets specific locations around the nation including NCD, Gulf and Western provinces.
The awareness campaign will run alongside current activities to confront TB and this will remind people of essential information relating to TB that is often overlooked and can lead to critical situations for those who contract the disease, as well as expand potential for further transmission.
The key messages on the awareness campaign are that people need to be aware of the symptoms and seek medical help, that there is a cure and it is free, and that people who contract TB must complete their treatment. Posters are being placed around the nation, there will be newspaper, leaflet, and SMS information, and we have already released some early television and radio commercials to enhance awareness sooner rather than later.