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Prime Minister Marape's Erratic Decisions Costing PNG Much Pain

 Papua New Guinea Leader of the Opposition, Belden Norman Namah has called upon Prime Minister James Marape to tell the nation when the “short term pain” he has imposed on the nation might come to an end and the “long term gain” he has promised will commence.

Mr Namah said twenty one (21) months into the Marape administration has seen continued and increasing socio-economic hardships and pains with no reprieve in sight for the people.

Mr Namah blamed this on Mr Marape’s “wild, erratic and ill-thought-out policies and individualistic approaches to important decision making’.

Mr Namah said: “Marape cannot blame everything on the Covid-19 Pandemic which he has mismanaged substantially with no records or reports to show how hundreds of millions of kina has been spent.

“Marape promised a better deal with far better benefits for Papua New Guineans through resources development when he closed the operating Porgera Gold Mine and reviewed the Papua LNG Gas Agreement.

“Instead, the Prime Minister has delivered pain and suffering where ever he has turned. It is clear now that he has no plan, no policy and whatever he announces has just comes out of his head with no consultation, no cost benefit analysis, no due diligence checks and no options or back up plans.”

Mr Namah singled out the the closure of the Porgera Gold Mine, the two year delay in the Papua LNG Project and the Wafi-Golpu deep sea tailings disposal decision as examples of the Prime Minister’s wild, erratic and ill-thought out behavior that is causing much hardships ie

“The closure of Porgera Gold Mine has caused the direct loss of 3,600 jobs at Porgera, the loss of hundreds of millions of kina in revenue to the State, the Provincial Government and landowners and loss of contracts for thousands of contractors and small to medium enterprises which were dependent on the mine.

“He closed the mine on a whim. He did no due diligence checks or discuss the costs or benefits of his decision to the nation. He did not choose the most obvious and available option to discuss the issue of better benefits to the nation with the operator.

“He did not even have an operator to take over Barrick Niugini.

“In the process Marape has created bilateral tension between PNG and two friendly nations - Canada and China.

“Marape then awarded the Special Mining Lease to a local company with no previous mine operating experience. He changed the Mining Act to remove our own landowners on the SML, thereby making nonsense of his announcement to work for bigger benefits for PNG.

“This do not show the actions of a man who has concern for the nation. He has actually put the people and the government in a worse state than before. Secondly, after he came to power in May 2019, Marape announced the review of the Papua LNG Gas Agreement which he had witnessed a month previously as Finance Minister in the O'Neill Government.

“He had no clear objectives in mind, just a desire to review the agreement to ‘ensure the agreement was signed in compliance with all applicable laws’. How this was so when all the State legal apparatus was involved in drawing up and scrutinizing the agreement is a question that the Prime Minister alone now needs to answer together with the findings of his review.

“Marape’s Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua also said there was a need to reform the regulatory environment, in other words, to change the existing laws. A proposed Law entitled Organic Law on Papua New Guinea’s Ownership and Development of Hydrocabons and Minerals and the Commercialization of State Businesses 2020 is now gazetted and on the Notice Paper of Parliament for debate and pass into law.

“This law will drastically reshape the legal and fiscal regime in existence today pertaining to the extractive sector. its “As a direct result of these moves Papua LNG lead venture partner, Total, scaled back all its activities and one venture partner, Oil Search Ltd announced it had lost 10 per cent of its value or K8.5 billion.

“Only last week the Government signed the Fiscal Stability Agreement for Papua with the important proviso that it would operate within the purview of the 2019

Gas Agreement. What then has been gained by the review?

“Mr Marape now owes a duty of trust and care to the people to explain what exactly he has gained for PNG by delaying this project for two years. The delay of the project has already had a ripple effect of delaying Front End Engineering and Design, the Final Investment Decision, Construction and marketing.

“This again shows lack of forward planning or thinking and erratic behavior causing unnecessary hardship.

“Finally, Mr Marape delivers his very own project under his watch as Prime Minister in Wafi Golpu mine project in Morobe. He does so by going against his own Deputy Party Leader and Governor of Morobe, Ginson Saonu and the people of Morobe who do not want a deep sea tailings program as proposed by the mine developers.

“SO we have come around a full circle. Is this the same person who said he would strike a better deal for the people of Papua New Guinea? It would appear the people are against the project and only the Prime Minister is for this project.

He has not announced what additional terms he has secured for PNG in Wafi Golpu.

“This is highly dangerous behaviour and ministers and supporters of this Government should see their way past all the sweet talk to see this erratic behaviour and actions contradicting his words. They ought to dump their support for him and demand he step down.

“If not they are supporters of Marape and his decisions and actions and are guilty of collusion with him in all of these by their silence.”


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