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Chinese Exim Bank lifts freeze on PNG Government's Pacific Marine Project

The China Export Import (Exim) Bank has lifted the freeze it placed on the government’s multi-million kina Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) at Vidar, Madang.

This follows successful talks held by the bank’s chairman and president, Li Ruogu, and a PNG delegation headed by Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru last week.

The nod was given for the freeze on the loan to be lifted after Mr Maru had not only requested but given his assurance that all prerequisites had been met by the O’Neill/Dion government.

This includes the Government’s counterpart funding of K39 million which Mr Maru had assured would be included in the 2015 budget when it is handed down in November.

Mr Maru stated the loan to be critical for the project as when it was obtained from the bank in 2011, a five-year grace period was given. This lapses in 2016.

“This was critical because the PNG Government needed to start generating income from its investment in the PMIZ project before it can start servicing the loan,” Mr Maru said.

“We now only have three years of the grace period left and need to start the construction as soon as practical.”

Mr Maru assured the chairman that he and his delegation had met the president of the China Shenyang International Economic and Technical Cooperation Corporation Limited, the major contractor to the project, and have already agreed to an action plan.

He said with the strong support of the government, they expect to complete the project within the next 12-16 months.

Mr Maru said the contractor has already started mobilisation and will proceed to complete the geotechnical studies within eight weeks. Design is set to follow and will be presented to the National Executive Council for approval with all eyeing construction for early 2015.

He said the team will now proceed to meeting with stakeholders in Madang, including the impact communities, to ensure all issues they may have are ironed out.

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