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James Marape- The 8th Prime Minister. A year in Review

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by GABRIEL RAMOI Twelve months ago who among us would have predicted  the rise of a much under rated James Marape as the 8th Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea putting an end to eight years of tumultuous rule by Peter O’Neill and his PNC Party.  In this article we profile the achievement of James Marape over the last 12 months and lay out the challenges both for Marape as Prime Minister and for the country he now leads and contrast that with the Style and achievements of Peter O’Neill, the man he replaced as Prime Minister. James Marape continues to intrigue and surprise us with the array of tools he is deploying from a Pandora box of politics. Intrigue because from a base without money or support of big businesses or a regional based political party he was able to effect a regime change in PNG, a feat that will be hard to repeat for a long while. Surprised because the man he replaced is no political midget and to successful pull the rug from under   O’Neill’s   feet is a master

PAPUA NEW GUINEA DEVELOPMENT VIEW

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by TONY CHARLES KEROWA Papua New Guinean development aspirations are all jumbled up and not in order. The National Government should invest its resources including Money where it will improve the lives of its people. From my observation and experience, there is more grandstanding on the political level building statuesque and echo more than planning on bringing tangible development to communities and towns by elected representatives from both sides of the house. The following important key development areas should be prioritized. 1. Improving Road and Bridges : Opening up and connecting the rural PNG communities through improved Road and Bridges will give an opportunity for our people to work on their land by converting ideal land to economic value by planting cash crops and livestock on a commercial scale. The Department of Works should be reviewed and upgraded to function independently. The Department should operate as independently as possible 2. Improving and empowerin

Real estate development is the push behind Port Moresby’s growth - Not Government

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by DAVID LEPI Descending into Jackson’s on a hot shimmering Port Moresby afternoon I see the once peculiar sun tanned brown savannah is now replaced by sprawling suburbs after suburbs of modern design of compelling style. The mirage or an optical illusion created by the hot surface below made it look like undulating waves of melting steel and glass cascading into an unforgiving white-hot furnace of the fast approaching tarmac. On the hills to the left, you see excavators carving terraces and flattening land for trenches for foundations, utility conduits, and drainage piping. And swarming with carpenters, electricians and plumbers and all manners of tradesmen eager to pitch in to permanently change the once periphery of National Capital District. This is the growth of a remarkable landmark that is now fast defining the Port Moresby landscape. And who is behind all these concrete pouring and sounds of rhythmic hammers and whining power saws? Is it by some charity group or some long-

Simple Facts on the UBS Loan Arrangement

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by DAVID LEPI Whilst the recent Oil Search share offloading by the government is attracting a vast array of discussions that are now gaining momentum by the day and the Prime Minister said to make public the facts surrounding the share sales perhaps it might be good we go back where all things started and take a look at the chronology of events. IPIC Loan It started in 2009 from what is known as the largest investment decision ever made by any PNG government. The Somare led government was investing in the 11 billion Exon-Mobil led LNG project in taking up equity of 16.8 percent by borrowing 1.68 billion Australian dollars from a little-known fund called International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) in the Middle Eastern oil state of Abu Dhabi. This took place at a time when the economy was feeling the global credit crunch and a dramatic drop in commodities prices that had made finding funds for new resource projects very uncertain. Arthur Somare, the then state enterprise m

PNG’S 100 DAY PLAN – A SLOW KICKSTART WITH SOME POSITIVES

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by PAUL FLANAGAN PNG’s new Treasurer and DPM, Charles Abel, has released the promised 100 Day Economic Stimulus Plan (see  here ). Overall, there are some positives in the plan. But politics is already circumscribing necessary actions to get PNG back onto the right economic path. Starting with the positives, even having a 25 point plan is a useful statement that the new government recognises PNG’s economic challenges. The five elements of the plan are appropriate. There is a focus on raising revenues as well as fiscal discipline. Population policy is given priority.  The plan announces the suspension and review of some scary micro-economic policies in areas such as land, agriculture, bio-security and mining. Some politically brave action is foreshadowed to at least temporarily reduce politicians’ discretionary electorate spending (PSIPs and DSIPs). There seems a commitment to on-going sensible strategic budgetary and planning processes. There is no mention of the absurd “gold bu

DEVELOPMENT AND ‘ECONOMIC HITMAN’ CAN OUR NEW NATIONAL TRADE POLICY ESCAPE THESE ‘LOOTERS’?

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by CYRIL GARE One of the greatest challenges for our new first time politicians is to acquaint themselves with and understand the country’s foreign policy among others. It is even challenging for a first-time Minister. In many democracies in the world, a first-time politician does not become a Minister immediately. The reason is obvious. He or she must first understudy and learn the trade skills of the game before taking on a ministerial responsibility in Government. Last week, we boasted about the launch of PNG’s first ever National Trade Policy (NTP). In time, many Papua New Guineans including myself will be able to read and understand the NTP from an available copy. For now, let’s just deduce from information provided in media reports that the NTP now “gives an upper hand to negotiate trade with its partners”. In essence, trade involves supply and demand; i) we supply others with what they do not have, and ii) in reciprocate buy from them what we do not have such as medicine an

2017 BUDGET BLOW-OUT

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PRESS RELEASE by  Rt. Hon SIR MEKERE MORAUTA MP Former Prime Minister and Member for Moresby North-West Sir Mekere Morauta said today that at last some members of the PNC Government have admitted that the Papua New Guinea economy is in difficulty.  Sir Mekere referred to the media statement by Deputy Prime Minister and Caretaker Treasurer Charles Abel, who said that the focus of the government in its first 100 Days would be on “economic recovery”. Sir Mekere noted that this was an interesting admission and use of words by Mr Abel, because the Prime Minister has consistently refused to recognise that the economy is in recession, and has mismanaged public finances in such a way that has allowed the recession to intensify. “My advice to Mr Abel is that before he launches into any “recovery” measures, he needs to repair the budget and reform his Prime Minister and curb his extravagant and uncontrolled spending and borrowing,” Sir Mekere said. “The non-mining sector, on which the

PUNDARI’S BROAD DAY-LIGHT ROBBERIES OF KOMPIAM AMBUM FUNDS REVEALED.

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by PETER BALOS 1. Introduction. My first piece was focused on public funds being covetously diverted to one big bowl. This second piece covers a wide range of alleged fraud now under investigation by relevant public authorities. 2. K8m paid to Tage Pimana Yakin Investment Ltd during the eve of this election. Reliable sources from the Departments of Treasury, Finance and Works had revealed that about K8m was recently paid to Tage Pimana Yakain Investments Ltd 1-63724 (TPYIL). This K8m is one-quarter of the K32m that the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had allocated for upgrading and sealing of Ambum road from Takawas to Monkam in the Ambum LLG, Kompiam-Ambum Electorate, Enga. The Prime Minister publicly announced this in September 2016 during a public gathering at Monkam. Despite directives issued by the Ombudsman Commission (OC) to the abovementioned Departments not to release public funds meant for public services and infrastructures, this money was paid out under the guise of mo

PNG – CHANGE NEEDED TO MEET PEOPLE'S POTENTIAL

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by PAUL FLANAGAN Summary PNG politicians are failing their people. Their poor policies have led to dramatic declines in economic well-being – an extraordinary fall of over one-third since 1980. This is revealed by applying new numbers from the PNG National Statistics Office (NSO) and International Monetary Fund to PNG’s economic history. From 2012 to 2017, under the O’Neill government, average economic well-being for the people of PNG has declined by 2.8%. This reverses positive economic gains of 8.4% from 2000 to 2012. PNG is returning to the poor economic performance it experienced during the 1980s and especially the 1990s – lost decades for development. This is a shame. From 1980 to 2017, economic well-being in PNG per citizen declined by an extraordinary 40.4 %. This is a development failure. In contrast, the resource sector has grown strongly.  It is now 48.1% larger per capita than in 1980. The resource sector boomed by 62% during the 1990s when the no