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The PNG Tourism Industry Association (PNGTIA) is expecting over thirty representatives in the tourism industry in Rapopo, Kokopo, this week to participate in the Lukim PNG Nau Tourism Expo to be held from 23rd– 25th September, 2018.

In receiving the K25,000 sponsorship from BSP, PNGTIA Executive Manager Christine Peipul said the event will not only feature PNG tourism industry members but also overseas representatives.

“Weare very grateful for BSP’s support to this annual event that unites the entire tourism industry,” said Ms Peipul.

The events will consist of Training Workshops from 20th – 21st September followed by the Lukim PNG Nau Expo from 23rd – 25th September, 2018.

The Lukim PNG Nau Tourism Expo is aimed at bringing together all tourism operators in one location; showcase a wide range of tourism products and services; invite international agents to enhance and establish business relations and educate the domestic trade and audiences on tourism products and services.
In presenting the cheque, R/Deputy General Manager – Sales & Customer Service

Natasha Sirimai said BSP is happy to support this event to showcase PNG tourism and at the same time assist the tourism industry members in the Training Workshops through BSP’s Financial Literacy of its SME and/or other products where participants need information on.

“The BSP Kokopo Team will also be available at the BSP Booth from 23rd – 25th September, 2018, to assist other customers and be part of the Domestic and International Trade Days.”

Australia eyes PNG military base to curb China's Pacific influence

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CANBERRA, 20 SEPTEMBER 2018 (THE AUSTRALIAN) – Australia is working on plans with Papua New Guinea to develop a joint naval base on Manus Island, edging out Chinese interest in the strategically vital port with a new facility that would be capable of hosting Australian and US ­warships.

The Australian understands Malcolm Turnbull and PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill discussed the proposed defence partnership at a July 11 meeting in Brisbane ahead of this year’s third State of Origin match.

O’Neill was said to be “very interested” in working with Australia to redevelop the Lombrum Naval Base as a joint ­facility, prompting a scoping mission by Australian defence officials.

The PNG Prime Minister, who was briefed on the results of the scoping study, later wrote to Turnbull to formally express his support for the project.

The Turnbull government had hoped to finalise arrangements for the investment before the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation meeting, to be hosted by PNG from November 12-18, which will be preceded by a special summit for ­Pacific leaders in Port Moresby hosted by China’s President Xi ­Jinping.

Australian officials have ­expressed concerns over Chinese interest in the redevelopment of four PNG ports, at Wewak, Kikori, Vanimo and Manus Island, fearing the Asian superpower is working towards gaining a military foothold in the region.

The deepwater port at Manus is considered the most strategic­ally significant of the four because of its sweeping command of the ­Pacific Ocean and the maritime approaches from Asia.

O’Neill and Solomon ­Islands Prime Minister Rick Houen­ipwela, who also attended the State of Origin match, signed a deal with Mr Turnbull on the same trip for Australia to fund a $136 million (US$98 million) internet cable ­between the three countries, ­preventing Chinese company ­Huawei from building the infrastructure.

Plans for the joint facility were under way as Australia moved to block Chinese involvement in ­another regional military development — the upgrade of Fiji’s Black Rock military camp in Nadi. Turnbull led the negotiations with Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama to ensure Australia became the sole foreign donor in the redevelopment of the base, which will be used as a regional training hub for South Pacific ­defence forces.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne declined to comment on the proposed joint facility but said Australia was in frequent contact with PNG officials regarding their development priorities.

“Australia supports the PNG government’s ambitions for greater economic growth and development, including on Manus Island,” she said.

The Lombrum Naval Base has long been the site of close co-­operation between Australia and the PNG Defence Force. Australia operated the base from 1950 until it was handed back to PNG at independence in 1975.

Australia financed the construction of the current Lombrum wharf, and its refurbishment in the 1990s.

More recently, the base was the site of Australia’s Manus ­Regional Processing Centre, which closed in October last year.

Australian Strategic Policy Institute director Michael Shoebridge, a former Defence Depart­ment official, said using Manus as a base for PNG, Australian and US forces “makes good sense … It would help give the US a wider operating and support footprint in the Pacific, and give Australian naval forces a location 2000km away from Darwin and some 1600km north of Cairns — the two closest Royal Australian Navy bases”.

He said the PNG Defence Force, which will receive three new Guardian-class patrol boats from Australia, would be a major beneficiary, gaining new facilities and a closer working relationship with Australian and US navies.

If the investment were ready to announce by the APEC summit, it would “send a very welcome message about the deeper intent behind Australia’s commitment”, Shoebridge said.

To ensure the economics of the facility, Australia would need to have naval ships using the facility “almost continually”, he said, while a US presence would add to its economic feasibility.

The Lowy Institute’s Pacific Islands program director, Jona­than Pryke, said despite China’s growing influence in the region, Pacific leaders preferred to work with Australia than China.

“The reality is that the Pacific also wants Australia to be the partner of choice in the region,” he said. “We are more familiar, and they have more power in the relationship. It just needs a lot of work on the Australian side to maintain our position.”

O’Neill, who enjoys close relations with China’s President, agreed on a recent trip to Beijing to allow Xi to host a summit for Pacific Island leaders ahead of the APEC leaders’ meeting.

For Xi, the trip to Port Mores­by will be an official “guest of government” visit, with full red-carpet treatment.

Scott Morrison, who was criticised by regional leaders for failing to attend this month’s Pacific Island Forum, will seek to counter the Chinese charm offensive by hosting an APEC barbecue for Pacific Island counterparts at the Australian high commissioner’s Port Moresby residence.

In last year’s foreign affairs white paper, the government committed to “stepping up” its engagement in the Pacific, as China tries to win over ­regional leaders with foreign aid and soft loans for infrastructure projects under its Belt and Road Initiative.

There has been a surge in Chinese investment in PNG ahead of the APEC summit, with major roads projects funded by China’s Eximbank and awarded to Chinese firms China Railway and China Harbour.

Senator Payne signed a security declaration with regional leaders at the Pacific Island Forum that asserts the right of every member country “to conduct its national affairs free of external ­interference and ­coercion”.

During the forum, she suggested that China, when it made contributions to ­Pacific nations, “should perhaps look at the benchmarks that we adopt … around strengthening security, strengthening stability, and strengthening prosperity”.

“Countries will make their own sovereign decisions about arrangements they enter into … but the benchmark that Australia places on this is one of engagement and partnership,” she said.

The PIF security declaration identified climate change as the biggest threat to the region.

Days later, Morrison said Australia would remain a signatory to the Paris climate change agreement because the issue was “incredibly important” to Pacific nations. “In the Pacific, this issue dominates their thinking and agenda … the Pacific is one of the most strategic areas of influence in our world today,” he said.

Tonga squad announced for Test against Kangaroos

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Cronulla forward Scott Sorensen is the latest NRL star to pledge his allegiance to Tonga and has been chosen in an extended Mate Ma’a squad for next month’s historic Test against Australia in Auckland.

Scott Sorensen . NRL Photo
Sorensen, who has been named on the interchange bench for Friday night’s preliminary final against Melbourne, is the nephew of Kiwi greats Dane and Kurt Sorensen but also has Tongan heritage and is under consideration to make his representative debut in the October 20 Test at Mount Smart Stadium.

The 25-year-old second-rower is part of a strong Mate Ma’a squad, headed by Cronulla teammate Andrew Fifita and North Queensland superstar Jason Taumalolo.

The 29-man squad also includes the Telstra Premiership’s leading tryscorer, David Fusitu’a, along with South Sydney winger Robert Jennings and his Sydney Roosters opposite Daniel Tupou, while Rabbitohs forward Tevita Taola has also been chosen.

Tonga coach Kristian Woolf will have great forward depth at his disposal after selecting Brisbane pair Tevita Pangai jnr and Joe Ofahengaue, along with Roosters prop Siosiua Taukeiaho.

The nucleus of the squad comprises players from last year’s stunning World Cup campaign, in which the Mate Ma’a beat New Zealand and suffered a controversial semi-final loss to England, but Woolf arguably has greater depth to call on for Tonga’s first Test against the Kangaroos.

The squad features five Super League players - Sika Manu (Hull FC), Samisoni Langi, Sam Moa (both Catalans Dragons), Ben Murdoch-Masila (Warrington Wolves) and Ukuma Ta’ai (Huddersfield).

"We are very pleased with the depth in the squad we have managed to name for this very important Test match," Woolf said.

"We feel it is representative of the depth of Tongan rugby league in both the NRL and English Super League, and also rewards players that have made a firm commitment to playing for their country of heritage.

"This will be a huge occasion for Tonga to take on the top-ranked rugby league country in the world, so we need every player we can committed to that goal."

The final Mate Ma’a squad will be announced next month, and will go into a 10-day team camp leading up to the Test.

Tonga squad

Andrew Fifita (Cronulla Sharks)
Addin Fonua-Blake (Manly Warringah)
Mahe Fonua (Wests Tigers)
Moeaki Fotuaika (Gold Coast Titans)
David Fusitua (NZ Warriors)
Siliva Havilli (Canberra Raiders)
Ata Hingano (Canberra Raiders)
Will Hopoate (Canterbury Bulldogs)
Konileti Hurrell  (Gold Coast Titans)
Michael Jennings (Parramatta Eels)
Robert Jennings (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Solomone Kata (NZ Warriors)
Sione Katoa (Penrith Panthers)
Samisoni Langi (Catalans Dragons)
Tuimoala Lolohea (Wests Tigers)
Sika Manu (Hull FC)
Sam Moa (Catalans Dragons)
Ben Murdoch-Masila (Warrington Wolves)
Joe Ofahengaue (Brisbane Broncos)
Tevita Pangai jnr (Brisbane Broncos)
Agnatius Paasi (NZ Warriors)
Leivaha Pulu (NZ Warriors)
Scott Sorensen (Cronulla Sharks)
Ukuma Ta'ai (Huddersfield Giants)
Jason Taumalolo (North Qld Cowboys)
Tevita Tatola (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Siosiua Taukeiaho (Sydney Roosters)
Peni Terepo (Parramatta Eels)
Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters)

Source: NRL.COM

PNG has Huge potential in Agri-Tourism

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The 62nd National Gaming Control Board (NGCB) Goroka Show has displayed a huge potential in agri-tourism.

This was revealed by the NGCB Community Benefit Fund Director, Rayleen Kurua during the opening remarks ofthe Show. Kurua said the Show illustrated the potential Eastern Highlands has to successfully promote the agriculture and tourism sectors in the country.

Kurua said the Show is a great benefit for the economy, with potential for farmers to find their market both locally as well as internationally. “Tourists will want to spend money to come to PNG if they can experience locals, preparing food using indigenous crops,” Kurua said.
She said Agriculture and Tourismwill have to work together and embrace the opportunity which will benefit both industries, the economy and the local community. Kurua said there is a great demand for agricultural tourism in PNG and it will be a missed opportunity if we do not work together to build the industry.

The show took place over the Independence weekend, from the 14th to the 16th of September at the National Sports Institute in Goroka under the theme promoting agriculture and tourism. About 150 cultural groups from allfour regions of the country participated in sing sings and dances.

Traditional crops and farming methods were also showcased to tourists, most of whom travelled in from Europe.

Strong, Effective Public Sector crucial for PNG

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The Government of Papua New Guinea has been commended for rolling out district training for public sector leaders under its commitment to improve districts to drive local development.

Twenty-nine course participants in the Yangoru-Saussia District in East Sepik Province graduated on Friday after two weeks of training in Project Management and Financial Management. The training was facilitated by the PNG Institute of Leadership and Governance.
The newly re-launched institute is a key partner of the Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct which is a partnership between the Governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea designed to support the development of ethical, capable public sector leaders at all levels of the Government, whether in Waigani, in provinces or at the district level.

Secretary for Department of Personnel Management, Taies Sansan, said there is a big challenge for Public Servants to lift their game.

So far there have been six sub-national training's under the district rollout, heldin Ialibu Pangia, Kokopo, Madang, Pomio, Telefomin and now in Yangoru-Saussia District.

“Weint end on reaching out to all the Public Servants throughout the country to give them the tools that are necessary to drive the service delivery in the districts and provinces. The onus is on us as Public Servants on the ground level to make it work. We need Public Servants who are ethical, capable and efficient. This course is a big achievement in the revitalization of the institute and it is also an important milestone in the sub national development of our Public Servants in the district level. It is important that we promote the development of Public Sector leaders throughout the country,” Ms Sansan said.

Minister for National Planning and Member for Yangoru-Saussia, Richard Maru, said the district had co-funded the program with K40,000. He reminded all present that districts are where 80 per cent of the country’s population lives. He said the upcoming Medium Term Development Plan III will show that the focus of Government expenditure is on the districts.

His message to the course participants; “make it happen on the ground. You need to apply yourselves, perform and deliver results. Create value and add value to your organizations in the districts. You must have the passion and the heart to deliver to the people. There must be a change of attitude, no chewing and smoking and turning up to work late.”

Minister Maru said with the recent NEC Decision to approve the multi million Chicken,Grain & Cocoa Project in the Yangoru-Saussia District, he looked forward to the support of the graduates. His vision is to see Yangoru-Saussia be a model district in terms of the public service mechanism and service delivery. But there is much to be done.

Minister Councilor, Australian High Commission, said since 2015, PNG and Australia have worked together through the precinct to support the development of ethical,capable public sector leaders.

“Our collaboration recognizes that a strong and effective public service is crucial for any nations stability, for its economic progress and social development. To the twenty-nine course participants, you have now joined 4,000 Papua New Guineans who have benefited from the precinct in some way. Whether that be through short courses, diploma and degree programs or participating in public policy discussion events. These are opportunities created to support you the current and emerging public sector leaders. To support you in building the skills needed to be effective in your work, to continue shaping the future of PNG. Indeed, to help you create the local solutions to your local challenges,”he said.

Participant Marie-Therese Sammy, said the training's were timely management tools they could now apply in their respective organizations. She hoped more similar training's could be offered in the future in the district.

The Australian Government has assured it will continue to partner the Pacific Institute of Leadership and Governance to roll out short courses in practical subjects which meet the needs of district level public service.

They recognize that it’s the districts who shoulder the great responsibility of working with their communities, delivering vital services and empowering them for economic and social development.

BSP reduces fees for transaction lendings

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Bank South Pacific has announced reduction to service charge and bank fees on a number of transaction and lending products, allowing affordable access for its customers.
Effective as of September 14, over a million BSP customers will benefit significantly from various reduced service charge and bank fees on transaction and lending products.
These changes will see everyday transaction account fees for dormant accounts, Branch deposits, Branch withdrawals, deposits at agents, and mobile banking alerts, statement mailing and duplicate statements all waived leaving customers with zero service fees.
Other transaction fee changes will include mobile banking- Easipay top ups and bill pays fees reduced from K1.00 and K1.50 to K0.50 respectively.
BSP has also removed few lending service fees, which include BSP housing loan service fee, personal property and investment loan service fees and BSP Personal loan settlement fee.
Over the last 5 years, the bank has removed fees from many of its other products; more recent fee reduction is the BSP EFTPOS fee for merchant by eliminating the minimum fee of K0.50 to K0.00.
BSP will continue to make banking more accessible, cheaper and safer for its customers through its products, electronic channels and extensive network of 42 branches, 44 sub-branches and agents across PNG.

Infrastructure Development and Chinese Debt Traps in PNG

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Commentary  by  Eric Mumson Piuk

It is very interesting to see and read about infrastructure developments in our country especially in Port Moresby with Chinese loans, with more than K1 billion in debt to China, Papua New Guinea handed contracts to companies owned by the Chinese government. 

Beijing encourages dependency using opaque contracts, predatory loan practices, and corrupt deals that mire nations in debt and undercut their sovereignty, denying them their long-term, self-sustaining growth. Chinese investment does have the potential to address developing nation like PNG’s infrastructure gap, but its approach has led to mounting debt and few, if any, jobs in most developing countries.

A debt trap is a situation in which a borrower is led into a cycle of re-borrowing, or rolling over, their loan payments because they are unable to afford the scheduled payments on the principal of a loan. These traps are usually caused by high-interest rates and short terms.

A situation in which a debt is difficult or impossible to repay, typically because high interest payments prevent repayment of the principal. An incentive structure that lures individuals into accepting long-term debt obligations under conditions that strongly favor the lender

Some call this “debt-trap diplomacy“: Offer the honey of cheap infrastructure loans, with the sting of default coming if smaller economies can’t generate enough free cash to pay their interest down. In Papua New Guinea, acrimony remains around projects like “APEC developments.

China has characterized its “Belt and Road "a initiative as a win-win for its aspirations to become a global trade leader and developing economies’ desire to fund transportation infrastructure. It has certainly filled the vacuum created by a shrinking Australian Aid presence in PNG institutions.

China is supporting infrastructure projects in strategically located developing countries like Papua New Guinea, often by extending huge loans to their governments.

As a result, some of these countries are becoming burdened with debts, leaving them even more susceptible to Chinese influence on their economy.

If there is one thing at which China’s leaders truly excel, it is the use of economic tools to advance their country’s geostrategic interests. Through its $1 trillion “one belt, one road” initiative, China is supporting infrastructure projects in strategically located developing countries and thus the loans.

Now extending loans for infrastructure projects is not inherently bad but the projects that China is supporting are often intended not to support the local economy like APEC developments currently under constructions in Port Moresby, but to facilitate Chinese access to natural resources, or to open the market for its low-cost and cheap export goods and to ensure it’s presence in the surrounding area is of strategic importance to China. In many cases, China even sends its own construction workers, minimizing the number of local jobs that are created.

Several of the projects that have been completed are now bleeding money. For example, locally, Nazab four lane highway in Lae and internationally Sri Lanka’s Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, which opened in 2013 near Hambantota, has been dubbed the world’s emptiest.

Likewise, Hambantota Port remains largely idle, as does the multibillion-dollar Gwadar port in Pakistan. For China, however, these projects are operating exactly as needed: Chinese attack submarines have twice docked at Sri Lankan ports, and two Chinese warships were recently pressed into service for Gwadar port security.

Also Sri Lanka Ports Authority agreed to sell a 70 percent stake in the Hambantota port to China Merchants Ports Holdings last week, Sri Lanka finally concluded its $1.12 bn agreement with the state-run Chinese firm to operate the port in the southeast of the country. Now the stage is set for China Merchants Ports Holdings to run the workings of the newly constructed port over a 99-year lease.

So by this “debt trap diplomacy,” China is now forcing smaller states like Papua New Guinea to abide by its dictates. This will have pernicious consequences for these states and is likely to bounce back on China. But for India, China’s growing presence around its periphery will continue to pose challenges.

Getting ready to challenge China’s profile by enhancing its own regional role as an economic and security actor is the need of the hour for India. At a time when China is strangling India in the north with its attempts to change facts on the ground, it is imperative for India to strategically think of using the maritime sphere to break Beijing’s growing dominance in its periphery.

Fund infrastructure and other assets creation with loans, knowing fully well the cash flow will not be enough to service the debts. Then move in and take over the assets.

Let me remind and also warn all our beloved fellow citizens of the beautiful nation, that current developments undertaking with Chinese Funds especially within Port Moresby in preparation of APEC is part of debt trap projects in which Chinese Government and people of China are winner and people of this nation are losers. Look at current economic situation in Afghanistan. Chinese has apply that same tactic and made that country suffer economically and PNG is the next country. We are building HIGHWAYS to NOWAY. 

To be continued in part II..

Photo credit: City of Port Moresby, O2 Visuals PNG

More bridges for Momase : Nali

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Works Minister Michael Nali has announced that nine new bridges will be built at a cost of more than K10m for Madang and Sepik coastal highway linking East and West Sepik provinces.

Mr Nali announced the good news in Parliament on Wednesday when answering questions from Sumkar MP Chris Nangoi in relation to the collapse Banab bridge, the deteriorating Karkar Island ring-road and what plans he had for the aging bridges in Madang. He said the government wanted to promote local businesses on taking such task but had faced challenges. “Banab bridge, we engage a local contractor and gave some money but the contractor found it hard to start and because of that we terminated the contract and gave it to East-west Constructions, based in Lae and they are starting work now. Like all roads in the country, for Karkar ring-road we have little money coming in but there are many roads to fix. Karkar has big population so when funds are available I will help. Under a program with some development partners have committed money to build bridges in Momase which Madang will get six new bridges and East and West Sepik coastal highway headed by Haiwain, will get three new bridges,” Mr Nali said.

“The department has received no- objection letter already and thanks to European Investment Bank which gave Works clearance this week to work on submission to tenders board who should seat next week and because the project is worth more than K10m, I will take the submission to National Executive Council (NEC) and as soon as it’s approved we will award contract for the bridges.”

France congratulates PNG on 43rd Independence Anniversary

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The Governor General, Grand Chief Sir Bob Bofeng Dadae, today received a congratulatory message from the President of the French Republic, His Excellency Emmanuel Macron, on the occasion of our nation’s 43rd Independence Anniversary.

The French President wrote, “On the occasion of the National Day of Papua New Guinea, I am pleased to extend my warmest congratulations to you, both on my own behalf and on behalf of the French people.

“As a Pacific country through the presence of its local authorities in New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna, France shares a common vision of the challenges in Oceania with Papua New Guinea, particularly on the issue of combating the effects of climate change.

“As I recalled during the High-Level Dialogue on Climate Change and Biodiversity organised by the Pacific Community in Noumea on 4 May, France will continue to actively engage with island States to help them address the challenges of climate change.

“In this regard, I would like to tell you how pleased I was to exchange views on these subjects with Hon. Rimbink PATO, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Papua New Guinea, on the occasion of the Noumea meeting.

“Beyond climate issues, bilateral relations between our two countries have intensified in recent years. I particularly welcome the development of the liquefied gas plant project exploiting the natural gas fields of ‘Elk’ and ‘Antelope’ by the Total Group, whose potential is particularly promising.

“France, as you know, attaches great importance to the promotion of multilateralism. In this regard, I wish you every success in organising the APEC Summit to be held this year in Papua New Guinea in November.”

Sir Bob said the relations between PNG and France, through people to people contact, cultural and educational exchanges are being greatly enhanced through the recent interest by French companies to be involved in the resources development sector in Papua New Guinea.

He said France is a Pacific nation and PNG looks forward to consolidating the existing constructive relations that both countries enjoy as partners in the region.

“I express our gratitude to France for its continued association and support to the Pacific Islands Forum as a dialogue partner and the contribution of France in achieving some of the development aspiration in the region is much valued,” the Governor General said.

(French President Emmanuel Macron – Picture: fri.ro)

Kanaks urged by West Papuan body to vote for independence

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The West Papua National Committee has urged New Caledonia's indigenous Melanesians to vote for independence during the upcoming referendum.

In November, New Caledonia is to hold a referendum on possible independence from France.

The Committee, a pro-independence organisation based in Indonesia's Papua region, said Kanaks should reject all French propaganda to maintain the territory's status quo.

Its chairman, Victor Yeimo, claimed it was important that the Kanaks took up the opportunity of decolonisation which he said West Papuans had been denied.

“I just want to tell something to the people of Kanaky (New Caledonia), to please choose yes for your future. Because if you don't choose yes for your future, it means you allow your people, your land to be extinct. Our people in West Papua will all support you to choose yes, so you can become a nation, a freedom nation,” said Victor Yeimo.

Yeimo credited France with allowing a referendum to go ahead, pointing out that it stood in direct contrast to the situation in Indonesian-ruled Papua region.

“Democratically, it was good of France to realise that they give the space for the people of Kanaky to choose what they want for their future,” he said.

“But in Indonesia, we can't do that, because Indonesian colonialism is not like European colonialism, like they didn't know about democracy.”

Yeimo said West Papuans were an example of the disastrous consequences of colonial manipulation. He cited the lack of participation by Papuans in the 1962 agreement between Netherlands and Indonesia which led to the former Dutch new Guinea being taken over by Indonesia.

“We are victims of a failed decolonisation process,” Yeimo said, adding that no matter how difficult, independence was better than being colonised.

“France should... know about the spirit of decolonisation. They have to give the opportunity for the Kanak people to develop their country by themselves.

“If they can give them feedom, it means the process of decolonisation is final. The referendum is not final if people, under the French provocation, still choose to stay with France, it doesn't mean that it's final.”

New Caledonia's independence referendum will be held on 4 November, with voters to be given the choice of remaining a part of France or becoming an independent country.



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