ExxonMobil PNG announces 2018 SME Digital Innovation Awards

• Awards to recognise digital technology innovation usage by micro, small and medium enterprises
• Award nominees to receive complimentary IBM Enterprise Centre business assessment
• Winners announced at ABAC MSME Summit in September

ExxonMobil PNG Limited, operator of the PNG LNG Project, has announced the inaugural SME Digital Innovation Awards in partnership with the IBBM Enterprise Centre that is set to recognise achievements of Papua New Guinean businesses contributing to digital innovation.

The 2018 SME Digital Innovation Awards will be presented at the PNG APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Summit and will be focused on SMEs that utilise digital technology innovation as part of their processes, or that provide a service using technology.

Awards will be presented across three categories including micro, small and medium enterprises.

ExxonMobil PNG Managing Director Andrew Barry said ExxonMobil PNG is committed to recognising and encouraging SMEs that use technology platforms to continue evolving in an ever-growing digital world.

“It is important that we, as a company, contribute to developing capacity, and assist smaller organisations to remain competitive and ensure equal participation in economic activities,” Barry said. “The digital innovation awards will encourage MSMEs to be creative and diversify into operational areas that utilise technology to ensure growth and sustainability across the country.”

The 2018 SME Digital Innovation Awards are sponsored by ExxonMobil PNG and managed by its long-standing partner, the IBBM Enterprise Centre. Through ExxonMobil PNG’s partnership with IBBM, more than 19,000 entrepreneurs and local businesses have been supported since 2010 and 32,000 training days and nearly 500 business assessments have been conducted at the Enterprise Centre.

ExxonMobil PNG continues to invest in local businesses with almost 2.3 billion Kina spent on Papua New Guinean services, including 581.6 million Kina spent with landowner companies since the start of production.

Award submissions are open to micro, small and medium businesses operating in Papua New Guinea. Each business who applies and is nominated for an award will receive a complimentary business assessment by IBBM as part of their submission.

Award winners will be announced at the ABAC MSME Summit being held in Port Moresby from 10 – 11 September 2018. Winners will receive training provided by the IBBM Enterprise Centre and equipment to support future digital endeavors.

Finalists from the 2018 SME Digital Innovation Award will be nominated as finalists in the 2019 IBBM Biennial SME Awards under the digital innovation category.

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Hunters steal late win over Gulls

QRL Media
Sun 13 May 2018,

The PNG Hunters held on against a desperate Wynnum Manly Seagulls outfit to claim an 18-16 win to close out Round 10.

It was an entertaining game that had the result in the balance right until the end; but both coaches would have been lamenting the poor handling that continually gifted the opposition the ball.

In a seesawing game, it was the Hunters – thanks to a two-try effort from last year’s grand final champion Willie Minoga – who were able to prevail.

However, it was the Seagulls who started the game the better, with the Hunters kicking out on the full in the first set. Wynnum Manly went on the attack early and were able to score first when Pat Templeman skipped through the line to open the scoring. Shaun Nona was successful with his conversion and the home side were up 6-0 with just over 10 minutes gone in the match.

However, they conceded a penalty to help put the Hunters in a position to capitalise.

Passing from left to right; they then cut back inside and Minoga was through for his first try next to left posts. Ase Boas slotted the conversion to lock the scores at 6-6 with just under 20 left in the half.

After working their way back down the field, Wynnum were able to hit back soon after, with Mitch Cronin doing some cutting into the line of his own and he was over near the right uprights and they were back in the lead.

But in an end-to-end opening, a kick was chased through by Watson Boas who was able to get it down to score. Ase Boas again converted to again draw the teams level, this time 12-12.

There was more toing-and-froing between the teams with some strong defence on show throughout – forcing errors at either side of the field. Neither side were able to crack the line again and the teams went to the break with honours even.

It was an eventful start to the second half – but unfortunately for the Gulls, they gave up what proved to be a crucial penalty in front of the PNG line and Boas was able to put two more points on the board for his team in the 43rd minute.

Both side have been struggling of late, but there was no denying their effort to win – it was more their execution what was letting them down, and that showed in the game.

The Hunters were happy to play adventurous football; and made some busts through the line after putting in some chip kicks, but the Seagulls were up to the task in defence, shutting down danger.

After trying unsuccessfully in previous attacking raids to capitalise via their hand-hand side; the Gulls were finally rewarded in that area when Daniel Ogden went over to score and again put his side in front. However, Nona missed the conversion from out on the left touchline to remain 16-14.

The pressure however didn’t let up in the game, and with only four minutes left in the game; Minoga broke the hearts of the home side’s fans when he threw himself over the line to steal it after a knock on in front of the Gulls line handed over possession.

It was a frenetic final few moments to the game with the Gulls successfully collecting a short kick off before then dropping the ball to concede a scrum with 34 seconds left in the match.

Remarkably, the tension didn’t end there, as the Gulls were able to steal the ball back from the Hunters will the clock winding down, but a kick out to the left could not be collected and the Hunters hung on to claim the hard-fought win.

PNG HUNTERS 18 (Willie Minoga 2, Watson Boas tries; Ase Boas 3 goals) def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 16 (Patrick Templeman, Mitch Cronin, Daniel Ogden tries; Shaun Nona 2 goals) at BMD Kougari Oval.

Inaugural SME Digital Innovation Awards

The inaugural SME Digital Innovative Awards HAS been launched to recognise achievements of Papua New Guinea businesses contributing to digital innovation.

The awards is the result of a partnership between ExxonMobil PNG Limited and the IBBM Enterprise Centre. The 2018 SME Digital Innovation Awards will be presented at the PNG APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Summit. It will focus on SMEs that utilise digital technology innovation as part of their processes, or that provide a service using technology. Awards will be presented across three categories including micro, small and medium enterprises. ExxonMobil PNG Managing Director, Andrew Barry, said ExxonMobil PNG is committed to recognising and encouraging SMEs that use technology platforms to continue evolving in an ever-growing digital world. Award winners will be announced at the ABAC MSME Summit being held in Port Moresby from 10 – 11 September 2018. Winners will receive training provided by the IBBM Enterprise Centre and equipment to support future digital endeavors. Finalists from the 2018 SME Digital Innovation Award will be nominated as finalists in the 2019 IBBM Biennial SME Awards under the digital innovation category.

Inaugural SME Digital Innovation Awards

The inaugural SME Digital Innovative Awards HAS been launched to recognise achievements of Papua New Guinea businesses contributing to digital innovation.

The awards is the result of a partnership between ExxonMobil PNG Limited and the IBBM Enterprise Centre. The 2018 SME Digital Innovation Awards will be presented at the PNG APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Summit. It will focus on SMEs that utilise digital technology innovation as part of their processes, or that provide a service using technology. Awards will be presented across three categories including micro, small and medium enterprises. ExxonMobil PNG Managing Director, Andrew Barry, said ExxonMobil PNG is committed to recognising and encouraging SMEs that use technology platforms to continue evolving in an ever-growing digital world. Award winners will be announced at the ABAC MSME Summit being held in Port Moresby from 10 – 11 September 2018. Winners will receive training provided by the IBBM Enterprise Centre and equipment to support future digital endeavors. Finalists from the 2018 SME Digital Innovation Award will be nominated as finalists in the 2019 IBBM Biennial SME Awards under the digital innovation category.

CASTLEFORD RELEASE LO

PAPUA NEW GUINEA INTERNATIONAL GARRY LO HAS BEEN RELEASED BY CASTLEFORD AFTER MAKING JUST ONE APPEARANCE FOR THE BETFRED SUPER LEAGUE CLUB.

The 24-year-old winger joined the Tigers in the close season on a two-year contract from Betfred Championship club Sheffield Eagles and made his debut against Wigan Warriors in April.

Lo was stood down by Castleford five days later, on the eve of what would have been his home debut, after it emerged that he was voluntarily assisting police with an inquiry.

Now the player has requested to be released from his contract with immediate effect and the club have agreed.

Yesterday the club received a request from Garry Lo’s representative to be released from his contract with the club to allow him to focus on a personal matter.
The club has agreed to this. There will be no further comment from the Club.

In a brief statement, Castleford said: “Today the club received a request from Garry Lo’s representative to be released from his contract with the club to allow him to focus on a personal matter.“The club has agreed to this. There will be no further comment from the club.

”Lo, who was in the Papua New Guinea team that lost to England in the 2017 World Cup quarter-final in Melbourne last November, began the 2018 season on loan with his old club Sheffield, for whom he scored 33 tries in 28 Championship matches in 2017.

Super League: Castleford Tigers ‘stand down’ PNG World Cup winger Lo to assist with ongoing police inquiry

Castleford have dropped Papua New Guinea winger Garry Lo after revealing that he is helping police with an inquiry.

Castleford Tigers winger, Garry Lo (right).

The 24-year-old made his Betfred Super League debut in the Tigers’ 28-12 defeat at Wigan last Friday and would have been in line to make his home bow in Friday’s derby against Wakefield. Castleford say they have stood the player down but did not go into further details. A statement from the Tigers said: “The club understands from speaking with Garry Lo that he is voluntarily assisting the police with an inquiry. Garry will be stood down for selection today, for Friday’s game. This is not an admission of wrongdoing but simply to ensure that Garry is able to cooperate fully with the inquiry and to ensure the best interests of everyone, including Garry, are maintained.

There will be no further comment at this stage from the club or player.” Lo, who played for his country in the 2017 World Cup, joined Castleford on a two-year contract from Sheffield Eagles last September after scoring 33 tries in 28 Championship matches last season. He returned to the Eagles on loan at the start of the 2018 season but stepped into the side in the absence of James Clare with a fractured tibia. Clare is set for a two-month lay-off, and stand-off Ben Roberts (calf) and forwards Alex Foster (calf) and Nathan Massey (shoulder) will also miss Friday’s game due to injury. Coach Daryl Powell is set to recall second-row forward Jesse Sene-Lefao after a six-week injury absence while academy player Calum Turner gets a first call-up.

COURT THROWS OUT MARAPE’S 11TH HOUR ATTEMPT

Post-Courier – Thursday, April 26, 2018

An 11th hour attempt by Finance Minster James Marape to have the petition against him dismissed just before commencement of trial at the Waigani National Court was thrown out yesterday by the court.

Mr Marape’s lawyer, Robert Leo, through an application, had asked the court to dismiss the petition on the basis of a ground not pursued at the objection to competency hearing.

Trial judge Justice David Cannings and lawyer acting for the petitioner Jonny Pokaya, Justin Haiara, were taken aback, describing the move as an “ambush” and “extraordinary” respectively.

The grounds related to alleged non compliance of Form One of the Election Petition rules and section 208 of the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections on the part of the petitioner’s attesting witnesses.

Justice Cannings said it was bad practice to keep a ground in “reserve” and only use it at trial after Mr Leo was unsuccessful to have the Supreme Court review Justice Cannings lower court decision of March 13 that threw out the objection challenging the competency of the petition.

That decision struck out 10 of the 13 grounds of the petition and allowed only three bribery and undue influence allegations to proceed to trial starting yesterday.

The judge agreed with Mr Hairara’s counter submission that the proper way would have been for Mr Leo to seek leave to vary the earlier court orders and file a new notice of objection.

However, having granted Mr Leo leave to make submission on the issue, Justice Canings had to make a ruling in which he said that the petition generally and substantially complied with the Rules and the Organic law.

The other relief Mr Leo sought in the application for Justice Cannings to reconsider his own March 13 decision was also rejected as there was no “obvious errors,” the judge said.

Putt-ing in the hard yards

Last year PNG legend David Mead named Nixon Putt as one of the Hunters he anticipated would eventually bang on the door of the NRL.

Yet, after a challenging start to the 2018 season for the reigning premiers, 22-year-old Putt is focusing on team goals first.

In a recent interview with QRL.com.au, Putt said that ‘nerves’ were partly to blame for the Hunters being slow out of the blocks.

“A lot of people may not realise that we’ve had quite a lot of players step up from local PNG clubs to Intrust Super Cup this year,” said 175cm, 95kg Putt.

“They’ve only recently come into the coaching system.

“You could tell through some of the opening games that there were players who were nervous.”

Heading into Sunday’s Kokoda Cup game against Burleigh – a regular fixture of Anzac week in the Intrust Super Cup – the Hunters are in 11th spot.

With two wins and five losses from seven starts, they are in a bottom four, where only points differential separates them from Wynnum Manly, Tweed Heads and Mackay.

Meanwhile, Burleigh is charging ahead as one of the pacesetters in the competition, winning all but one encounter to date in 2018.

The Pizzey Park showdown will pit Putt against World Cup teammate Luke Page, who will captain the Burleigh side.

Putt made one appearance at the World Cup – a 64-0 victory against the USA.

“I learnt a lot from Pagey, from Kurt Baptiste, James Segeyaro, Nene Macdonald and David Mead when we were in camp for the World Cup,” Putt said.

“For David Mead to come out and say what he did (that he was “excited” to see Putt in action) was a real confidence booster to me.

“And Pagey is the most fun guy that I know. He’s into his music and was always dancing to rap artists.

“We were under a lot of pressure in front of big crowds at the World Cup, but having someone like Pagey kept it fun.”

Last week’s 20-12 loss to Souths Logan was Putt’s 30th Intrust Super Cup game, meaning that he can no longer be considered a fresh addition.

In fact, with the loss of experience in the Hunters’ squad, his international stripes make him somewhat of a leader among the team.

This season he has averaged a respectable 102.6 in running metres per game, but is coming off his least productive performance (54m v Souths Logan) of the current campaign.

His best was against the competition’s other Gold Coast team, when he punched out 163m against Tweed Heads.

PNG faces Burleigh at 2pm Sunday at Pizzey Park.

PNG look at net-free blockchain to bring banking to masses

Bank of PNG is testing a solar digital device that needs no internet link to provide blockchain-based financial services to folks with no bank account.

Blockchain is a word that is now bandied around with alarming regularity, so when Papua New Guinea (PNG) became the latest country to be associated with it, there were plenty of skeptics.
Contrary to naysayers’ expectations, PNG is exploring how to use blockchain to viably address some of the country’s economic issues. Loi Bakani, Governor of the Bank Of Papua New Guinea, has been vocal about blockchain trials currently underway in partnership with the Australian government-funded PNG Governance Facility and also Abt Associates, an organization working on poverty relief.

According to Abt Associates, the majority of the population in PNG lack access to banking, while mobile-phone penetration is approximately 50%, making blockchain a possible solution to people with limited access to financial services.

“Some of it is noise and some real, but the big proponent of blockchain is actually the Bank of PNG. The governor is interested in financial inclusion and 85% of the population are ‘unbanked’, so he has been keen to try and examine how blockchain is going to help them with the issue,” Jane Thomason, the chief executive of Abt Associates-Australia told Asia Times.

The Bank of PNG also sees blockchain as an ideal way to provide a legal identity for the ‘unbanked’ and the trials with Abt Associates and the Australian government are on a project that aims to create an inexpensive solar-powered digital fingerprint device that could power blockchain-based banking.

The idea is that the device will upload biometric data of a person onto a blockchain and this will allow them to withdraw money without it having to be connected to a power grid or even the internet.

The device, made by IDbox only has to rely on an “individual’s access to a basic analog mobile phone and has the potential to work in areas where there is no electricity, no internet and no smartphones,” its makers say.

It seems an incredible example of how blockchain might be used to further financial inclusion in an area that has complex infrastructure issues. But is it pie in the sky?

“We have taken that to the point where there is a working prototype, it’s been demonstrated that it can work. There is an interest, but whether there is funding or not is to be determined. The bank would like to roll it out into a much bigger pilot,” Thomason adds.

Abt Associates has identified several issues that could be alleviated using blockchain. These include confirming legal identities, land registration and digitization of assets through smart contracts, promoting transparency, and preventing the leakage of funds from the ‘unbanked’.

“PNG is also leading discussions on how to breach the digital divide among APEC economies. They are trying to see if this is something that can solve some of the pretty big problems surrounding lack of connectivity,” Thomason adds.

Elomar brothers in $9 million legal row over PNG deal

Sydney businessmen the Elomar brothers were busy in 2014.

Mamdouh Elomar was publicly decrying the actions of his son Mohamed, an Islamic State fighter in Syria who would go on to be photographed holding severed heads.The Elomar brothers in Papua New Guinea

Mamdouh was also vying for Iraqi construction contracts with his brother Ibrahim, arranging a $US1 million bribe for which they would both be jailed last year.

But the pair struck another deal that year, paying $6 million for a logging company only to end up negotiating a $9 million payment from the previous owners after a dispute.

The case, now before the courts, involves the forests of Papua New Guinea and a development fund meant to help lift locals out of poverty.

And it hinges on claims that another businessman stole more than $10 million in assets belonging to the Papua New Guinean people.

Mamdouh, 64, and Ibrahim, 61, were raised in Lebanon in a family of 12 children and worked manual jobs in Australia before building a large construction company, Lifese.

The firm counted a former Supreme Court judge as its chairman and completed projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

In time, though, the Elomar brothers became better known for the extremist activities of their relatives.

Mamdouh’s brother Mohamed Ali Elomar is serving 21 years’ jail for his role in planning attempted terrorist attacks in Melbourne and Sydney in 2005.

Mamdouh’s son Ahmed was jailed for four years for assaulting a policeman at the 2012 riots in Sydney’s Hyde Park, after carrying a sign that said “our dead are in paradise, your dead are in hell”.

Then his son Mohamed, formerly a promising boxer, travelled to Syria to become one of Australia’s most infamous IS fighters, before he was killed in an airstrike in 2015.

Terrorism headlines were hurting the Lifese business in 2014, shrinking revenue.

But the Elomars found money in February that year to buy a timber operation called Cloudy Bay from the PNG Sustainable Development Program, a charitable trust part-run by Australians.

Managing $US1.3 billion in assets, PNG SDP funds local development projects with proceeds from the Ok Tedi mine that was once owned by BHP, which handed over its stake in return for immunity from environmental lawsuits.

“We commit ourselves to improving the quality of life of the people of Western Province,” the program says on its website.

The Elomars were joined by another Australian, 25 per cent shareholder Nick Roniotis, in buying the Cloudy Bay timber operation – including logging permits, production plants and a commercial building in Port Moresby – for 40 million kina, about $17 million at the time.

They paid $6.5 million up front, but then defaulted on the rest.

As they faced charges over the bribery in Iraq, the Elomars were negotiating hard over the PNG business to strike a new and unusual deal.

It would have allowed them to keep control of the company while receiving millions of dollars more than they ended up paying for it.

The deal, signed last February, was meant to put an end to a murky dispute.

PNG SDP could have taken back all of the timber operations’ assets, but it decided to forgive the $11 million debt in return for the Port Moresby property alone.

On top of this, PNG SDP said it would pay the Elomars’ company $9 million.

Once the property was transferred back to the development program and the money paid, both sides would relinquish any right to sue over the initial sale.

The deal was fair, according to PNG SDP’s Australian chief executive John Wylie, because it compensated the Elomars for a massive theft on the timber operation.

A former public servant and management consultant, Mr Wylie said the theft was committed by someone working within the development fund before the sale to the Elomars and was only discovered later.

“Physical assets” were allegedly stolen and funds siphoned off to pay for personal expenses, including school fees in Australia.

“The validated quantum of the theft was much more than $9 million,” he said.

The alleged thief, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been reported to an anti-corruption body in Singapore, where the company was incorporated, Mr Wylie said.

“The PNG authorities are in the process of being informed,” he said. “This is being done carefully through lawyers and has yet to be fully executed.”

Deeds sighted by The Sun-Herald refer not to a theft but “disputes” between the buyer and seller.

Asked why the $9 million payment was to go to the Elomars personally, not the Cloudy Bay company, Mr Wylie said Cloudy Bay had given a written executed authority for it.

“How they divvied up the spoils, as it were – we didn’t want to get involved in that. None of our business.”

The deal has yet to go through.

The Elomars’ former business partner, Mr Roniotis, claimed he was cut out of the $9 million payment. He launched action in PNG’s National Court of Justice to have the sum paid to the timber company, not the Elomars’ venture.

Mr Roniotis also questioned the idea of compensation for a theft, saying he and the Elomars conducted due diligence on the company before buying it and found nothing untoward.

His lawyer, Stewart Levitt, has questioned the negotiations between PNG SDP and the Elomars, who at the time had been facing foreign bribery charges for more than a year.

“It would be extraordinary for the trustees of a public trust to want to continue to do business with people known to be facing serious criminal charges which had been widely reported,” Mr Levitt said.

The Elomars, who pleaded guilty to the Iraq bribery last July, will be first eligible for release in September next year. Their lawyer at the time of the PNG deal negotiations, Abdul Reslan, did not return calls.

The establishment of PNG SDP and environmental damage from the Ok Tedi mine is now under investigation after PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced a public inquiry in parliament this month.