PNG Treasury Minister still happy with the country’s economic outlook

THE country’s economic outlook remains positive despite export commodity market performing below expectations, says Treasurer Charles Abel.

Charles Abel- Treasury Minister

The National reported that Mr Abel said private sector activities had also been hampered by the foreign exchange imbalance and restrictions on government domestic expenditure in recent years.
Abel told the PNG Petroleum and Energy Summit in Port Moresby that despite the setbacks, PNG was looking ahead with optimism.
He said total real growth this year was projected at 2.2 per cent.
“Growth will be driven by the non-mining sectors, feeding off the impetus from Apec-related spending across the non-mining sectors,” he said.
He also said continued improvement in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector reflected an expected good year for coffee and increased copra and copra oil production due to higher global copra demand.
Abel said in the medium term, the PNG economy was also conservatively expected to grow at an average rate of 2.4 per cent.
“However, the current projection does not take into account major pipeline projects such as the Papua LNG, P’ynang, Wafi-Golpu, Frieda Mine and Solwara 1, which once in the construction phase will provide a significant boost to the entire economy.
“The challenge I issue to the mining and petroleum sector is to advance your investment appraisal process and to develop these prospects expeditiously.”
Abel said for 2018, prices of key commodities were expected to increase modestly from last year.
“The oil price is projected at an average of US$51 per barrel in the 2018 Budget which is starting to appear conservative,” he said.
“The gold price is also expected to move slightly higher in 2018 due to ongoing safe haven demand resulting from geo-political concerns and potentially higher inflation rates.”


Exxon Mobil MD confident of PNG govt’s financial capacity for Papua LNG project

EXXONMobil PNG managing director Andrew Barry is confident of the government’s financial capacity to take part in the Papua LNG project.

Andrew Barry- Managing Director, Exxion Mobil PNG

The National reported that Mr Barry made the statement when answering a question from Facts Global Energy Group chairman Dr Fereidun Fersharaki during the PNG Petroleum and Energy Summit on Monday.

The government is expected to contribute about 22 per cent equity to the total cost of the project construction.
“That is one of the things that we are collectively working through together and working with the government on different options in the financing activities,” Barry said.
“I am confident that between ourselves and our partners and the government that we will find a solution.”
Barry noted that the upcoming negotiations with the government and partners were important milestones for the project.
“The real next big step for our perspective will be the negotiations around the gas agreement and the fiscal certainty once we get into that FEED. And once you get alignment on FEED, the gas agreements, the fiscal terms, then the FID (Final Investment Decision).
“And there is a lot of work associated with commercial agreements, integration activities and securing markets and sales agreements.”

Satellite images show damage caused by Earthquake in Hela, PNG.

Komo Airfield, Hela, Nov 10, 2016.

Satellite images show the extent of damage in Papua New Guinea after a massive earthquake rocked the country’s remote highlands on March 1, 2018, leading Exxon Mobil Corp. to cease natural gas exports from the nation.

The magnitude 7.5 temblor, which has caused numerous landslides and aftershocks, destroyed about three-fourths of the Komo airport runway, near Exxon’s operations in Hides. The country declared a state of emergency in areas hit by the disaster and Reuters has reported at least 31 people killed.

The images from DigitalGlobe Inc. show landslides that have blocked the Tagari river, which runs through the Southern Highlands province to the ocean, potentially adding a new threat to people and infrastructure downstream, should the river breach the earthen barrier.

Komo Airfield, Hela, March 1, 2018

“In this high rainfall setting, it is likely that these landslide dams will only last for weeks to months,” said Mark Quigley, an associate professor at the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne. “When the landslide dams are breached, this might cause a rapid surge in floodwaters downstream. The landslide dams should continue to be carefully monitored.”

Tagali River, Hela, March 1, 2018

Extensive areas were likely impacted by landslides in the Central Highlands over a distance of about 170 kilometers (105 miles) both northwest and southeast of the earthquake epicenter, according to Eric Fielding, a scientist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who cited data from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.


ISC Preview: Northern Pride v PNG Hunters 

Barlow Park on Saturday, March 17 – 6pm

Head-to-Head: PNG 4 Pride 3
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #PRIDEvPNG

All the attention may have been on Todd Carney last weekend in his return to Australian football – but his young halves partner Jake Clifford impressed with his performance, scoring two tries.

The former Cyril Connell Cup Under 16 captain for the Pride in 2014, he helped lead his team to the nation final that year and knows what it means to be part of the club. The opposing halves pairing this weekend also warrants plenty of attention, with the Boas brothers Ase and Watson having grown with the experience of guiding their team to premiership glory last season. After making a winning start at home, they now have to relaunch their title defence on the road. The Pride will be without lock David Murphy who was found guilty of a dangerous throw by the QRL Judiciary this evening.

The former Cyril Connell Cup Under 16 captain for the Pride in 2014, he helped lead his team to the nation final that year and knows what it means to be part of the club. The opposing halves pairing this weekend also warrants plenty of attention, with the Boas brothers Ase and Watson having grown with the experience of guiding their team to premiership glory last season. After making a winning start at home, they now have to relaunch their title defence on the road. The Pride will be without lock David Murphy who was found guilty of a dangerous throw by the QRL Judiciary this evening.

Papua New Guinea works on digital preparations for natural disasters

Multi-hazard ‘monitoring and warning systems’ best practice is a way forward for Papua New Guinea to prepare for national disasters digitally.

Ruel Yamuni, chair of the Emergency Preparedness Working Group meeting said that this would help in efficient data collection and processing.

Papua New Guinea experiences natural disasters such as draught, flood, landslide, tsunami, king tides, wild fire, frost, cyclone and volcanic eruption that affect the people and finding solution to them is vital.

“That can be achieved through harnessing inclusive opportunities and embracing the digital future.

This will help to identify and document specific digital technologies and procedures, which best practice in communicating warnings lead to impact prevention and mitigation and in doing so it contributes to better preparedness and risk expansion of the scientific knowledge to improve warning through research and technology,” said Yamani.

Yamuna added that with Papua New Guinea’s own experience with the 1994 Rabaul eruption, it had demonstrated that early warning and preparedness is key to successfully dealing with the disaster risk reduction.

He also gave an example of the recent Kadovar Volcanic Island eruption in East Sepik Province after being dormant for more than 400 years.

”It was a small disaster in scale and the impact was reduced by quick action and local knowledge by the affected population and government authorities.”

Allegations of over K2 billion fake revenue in PNG’s 2018 Budget 

The National Alliance Party, which is the second biggest party that forms the Opposition faction in the PNG national parliament are quirying the 2018 National Budget that was passed recently by the PNG government. 

​According to NA member Ian Ling-Stuckey, the 2018 Budget assumes that in these tough times, revenues will increase from K10.5 billion in 2017 to K12.7 billion in 2018!  “This is just fake news.” 

Ian Ling-Stuckey

He says the Government is pretending just K24 million to the Internal Revenue Commission and Customs will produce and extra K755 million in revenue. A return of K31 for every extra K1 in admin costs? Just not credible.
“The 2018 Budget released unfortunately lacks credibility. There is over K2 billion of fake revenues in this 2018 budget. This is a false, crumbling building block which cannot sustain the hopes and dreams of the people of PNG. Unfortunately, both the history of this government in over-estimating revenues, and the specific unrealistic assumptions of this budget means it simply lacks the needed credibility to get this country going again.” 

 “Experience demonstrates that when these K2 billion in fake revenues do not come into government coffers, there will be big cuts in expenditure. While I welcome the big increases in health expenditure, and smaller gains in education and transport, the likelihood is that they will be cut again in the inevitable 2018 Supplementary Budget. 

“My preliminary view of this Abel Budget is that unfortunately:
• fails the people of PNG, 

• is not credible, 

• will not deal with decline in jobs and standards of living of PNG’s people, 

• will not deal with PNG’s crippling foreign exchange shortages, 

• and is not honest enough to actually deal with PNG’s acute budget crisis.

“There has not yet been enough time to fully explore the simplistic games of this budget, the fudges and deceptions throughout this document. We will do so over coming days.
“My alternative government’s philosophy is not just to oppose but to propose. So within my response, I will clearly set out why I oppose parts of this un-credible budget. But I will go further. 
I will propose solutions to the critical issues facing this country – a jobs and standards of living crisis, a foreign exchange crisis and the underlying budget crisis” said Mr Ling-Stuckey.
“My initial concerns about this budget are the un-credible revenue forecasts. From a simple businessman’s perspective, if you don’t forecast your sales correctly, then the rest of your business is at risk.

“The 2018 Budget’s revenue assumptions are, frankly, wrong. Given the state of the economy, you would be an ignorant businessman to assume your revenues were going to increase-by so much as 20%, especially when business conditions are as tough as they are now. The 2018 Budget assumes that in these tough times, revenues will increase from K10.5 billion in 2017 to K12.7 billion in 2018! This is just fake news.
“The starting point is this government over-estimated revenues by K1 billion in 2017. In 2016, they over-estimated by K2 billion. In 2015, they over-estimated by over K3 billion. If this government was a business, its shareholders would have sacked its directors.
“The 2018 Budget has, based on my early analysis, some K2 billion in “fake revenue”. And when you start with a revenue deception, the rest of your budget falls to pieces,” said the Shadow Minister for Treasury.

“Where is this K2 billion in “fake revenue”?

“Playing games by pretending just K24 million to the Internal Revenue Commission and Customs will produce and extra K755 million in revenue. A return of K31 for every extra K1 in admin costs? Just not credible – more fake news.
“Why not credible? The government tried the same trick in the 2017 budget where it claimed K19 million to the IRC would generate K400 million in extra revenue – a fake return of K21 for every extra K1 in admin costs. Instead, revenue has gone backwards by K1 billion” said Mr Ling-Stuckey.
“Why not credible? The government claims it will receive K1,250 million from our struggling State-Owned Enterprises, on top of a surprise K565 million once off payment. This is very suspicious accounting and it is very suspicious forecasting. There is no way that our State-Owned Enterprises can pay such huge dividends. 
“There simply is not enough money in the balance sheets of these organisations for such huge payments – more fake news. 

“Instead, these organisations are having to borrow money to pay these dividends in some pretty suspicious deals. This will simply mean poorer state-run services including our power and water utilities.

“Why not credible? The 2018 budget assumes an increase of over K0.5 billion in GST revenues-up from K1.5 billion in the 2017 Supplementary Budget to K2.0 billion in 2018.
“I have focused on the un-credible revenue forecasts of this budget. The Alternative Government will explore in greater detail the budget. As we go through some of this detail, we will release additional comments. These will be based around the criteria for a successful budget that I released yesterday” said the Shadow Treasurer. 

“My aim is not just to oppose but more importantly, drawing on the vibrant and successful history of the National Alliance and a team of professional shadow cabinet ministers, who were successful leaders in their own fields before entering the national parliament, to propose solutions.

“We had to get PNG out of the mess of the economic crises of the 1990s, drawing on the excellent start made by Sir Mekere. Lessons have been learnt, and we will have even better policies to deal with the current crises facing this wonderful nation.  

“I look forward to presenting these forward looking solutions of PNG’s Alternative Government, the people’s government, in my formal Budget Response on Tuesday 5 December.”


MT HAGEN, dubbed as the third city of PNG has deteriorated with huge crater like potholes in the city roads and uncontrolled littering.

There is literally no sign of any provincial authority on the ground to control and fix the worsening look of the city.
Crime rates have also accelerated and residents are in fear of moving around due to no police presence.

The deteriorating roads in Mt Hagen City. 

A public servant and long time resident of Mt Hagen, Jack Pobia, said the current stage of the city is totally an eye sore for visitors and the travelling public.

“Mt Hagen is the centre of all the seven highlands provinces and used to be a very safe and conducive place to live back then but has fast become deteriorated with accelerating lawlessness,” Mr Pobia said.

He said one of the main reason is due to the failed LLG election that was declared in the Mt Hagen Urban Rural LLG in 2012.

“The Mt Hagen Urban LLG was the authority that looks after and maintains the affairs of the city but due to the failed LLG election declared by the Electoral Commission in 2012, there is no authority to manage the affairs of the city,” Mr Pobia added.

He also blamed the political leaders of the province for too much political infighting among themselves and failing to address the deteriorating state of the city.

PNG Prisons in dire straits

PNG is likely to experience alot of prison breakouts in the near future if the management of the Correctional Institute Services  (CIS) and the government fail to adequately run the facilities. 

The recent mess breakout at the Bumio prison in Lae, Morobe Province, and the current situation of prisoners detained without food for almost a week at the Baisu prison in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands Province paints a bad image on prison operations throughout the country. 

Juvenile detainees at Baisu prison.

Baisu prison commander Timbi Kaugla spoke to News-Link PNG today highlighting challanges faced on daily operations of prison facilities and the lack of support from the CIS management over the years. 

Basing his concerns on shortage of food ration at the Baisu prison, Mr Kaugla said the CIS management failed to pay the company contracted to provide food supplies to the prison and therefore the company ceased supplying food since Friday, February 17. 

“We managed to provide food supply using our limited prison funds but fell short since Monday up until now.”

He addmited that the prisoners totaling more than 170 were detained without food since Monday.

“We begged the supplier to at least supply some food rations due to the situation we were facing but the supplier refused,” Mr Kaugla added.

Whisky Fresh Limited, the company contacted to supply food to the prison maintained that it won’t supply food until it’s dues are paid.

Managing Director of Whisky Fresh Ltd, Berry Maip, said he could no longer supply food ration to the prison because the CIS owned his company over K1 million.

“I have exhausted my own funds to supply food for the prison without being paid for almost three months now.”

“I cannot go on supplying food because I don’t have adequate funds to continue,”Mr Maip said.

He said the CIS owned him alot and it was their (CIS management) failure which had resulted in the current situation.

He called on the CIS management to address the situation promptly and pay up his dues for him to restore food supply to the prison.

Father wants justice for his daughter’s death

“My daughter, Ruby-Anne Laufa, died in a very violent and suspicious circumstance. I, my families and Ruby-Anne’s friends demand justice for her.  It is the duty of the police to assist in our demand for justice.”

Those are the words of the father of former Miss PNG, Late Ruby-Anne Laufa, who tragically died on Saturday, February 11, 2017.

Late Ruby-Anne Laufa (right) and her dad Maurice A Laufa

The actual cause of her death has not been established as yet but police claim she died after jumping out of a moving vehicle allegedly driven by her boyfriend.

However, her father Maurice Andrew Laufa, who is a senior Lawyer and a Lecturer at the School of Law at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) raised concern that the cause of his daughter’s death was yet to be establish.

He blamed the police for failing to investigate the matter promptly to uncover the actual cause of his daughter’s death.

Late Ruby-Anne Laufa

“I express serious concern about the questionable and apparent lack of urgency in police investigation into the tragic death of my daughter,” Mr Laufa said.

He said on the afternoon of Saturday, February 11, the suspect was detained at 4 mile traffic police station for about 4 hours and then released without any charge.

The police then recorded the cause of death as ‘suicide’ in the police occurrence book.

This did not go the well with Mr Laufa, who expressed dismay over the manner in which police was handing the matter.

“To date, 10 days after the tragic death of my daughter, the police have not spoken to any of the witnesses who volunteered their names and details, nor invited them to go to the police station to provide statements.”

“They never contacted me or my other daughter to provide statements concerning the circumstances leading up to the tragic death of my daughter Ruby-Anne.”

“The police have my contact details and know where I reside (UPNG Waigani Campus) but rather have submitted to reaction in their investigation,” a concerned Mr Laufa said in a press-statement.

“I believe that initial information available to police suggest that the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of my daugther is highly suspicious which should prompt any experienced and competent police officer to take proactive steps to conduct further enquiries and investigations into her death. In this case they have elected to wait,” Mr Laufa further stated.

He said as a senior lawyer, he always believed, trusted and confided in the integrity, fairness, honesty and competence of the nation’s criminal justice system – including police criminal investigations.

However, he said his belief, trust and confidence in the criminal justice system – specifically police criminal investigations, was tested in the 10 days since the passing of her beloved daughter.

MP assault young lawyer

A young lawyer has alleged that he was physcally  assaulted by a member of Parliament. 

Lawyer Laken Lepatu claimed that he was confronted and punched on the face by Wabag Open MP Robert Ganim at a bus stop near Wabag Town on Thursday, February 16.

Lawyer Laken Lepatu

Wabag MP Robert Ganim

Lepatu claimed in his social media post that he was carrying out awareness on election in the Highlands to educate the people when he was assaulted by the particular MP. 

“MP for Wabag Open Mr. Robert Ganim punched me and I threw him into Wabag Police Cells but the police station commander released him,” Lapatu said in his post.

“I parked my vehicle at Wabag Town (Porgera Bus-Stop) & MP Ganim parked his vehicle opposite me. 

“Mr Ganim shouted at me and asked me why I was conducting awareness campaign which I politely replied to him that if he thinks I breached a law(s), we should sort it out at the Police Station,” Lepatu stated.

He said the MP  without paying attention, shouted the same words twice, stepped out of his vehicle & ran towards him. 

Lepatu further claimed that three of the MP’s boys armed with bush knives followed the MP and confronted him face to face with swearing words and the MP punched him on the face. 

“His boys almost murdered me but the public stopped them. 

“Ganim and his boys then got into their vehicle fled,” Lepatu stated.

He further stated that he drove to the police station and placed a formal complaint against the MP for police to arrest the MP.

 “When I stepped out of the police station, I saw Mr. Ganim parked his vehicle and stepped out.

“I quickly grabbed his hand and dragged him into the police cells and ordered the police officers there to arrest him but the police station commander refused and released the MP,” Lepatu stated.

Lepatu who recently assisted students with free legal assistance and won several cases stammed from the UPNG student and police standoff last year said he will pursue the matter  until justice is done.

“I will continue my awareness campaign until I complete Enga. The Constitution provides for freedom of speech, association, thought, beliefs & religion. This is a democratic nation, a free world,” Lepatu stated.

Several attempts to get the MP to comment failed.