PAPUA New Guinea’s economic growth will slow down to 4.5% this year, a marked reduction from the 9.2% of last year and 11.1% of 2011, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
However, ADB vice-president Stephen Groff told The National on Tuesday that the bank remained confident in the future of PNG.
Groff said PNG’s growth over the past 10 years had been very positive.
“If you look back over the last decade, PNG has been one of the fastest-growing economies in the Pacific and in Asia,” he said.
“Last year, we had growth of 9.2%; the year before (2011) you had growth of 11.1%, that’s all been very, very positive.
“There is the maturing of the mineral and oil operations and scaling down of the LNG construction, which are the two main drivers of what we forecast to have a reduced levels of growth this year,” he said.
“We’re quite confident in the general medium-term outlook for the PNG economy.
“We think that the fundamentals are good.
“We think that PNG can grow, but it’s going to be a bit of a different situation for the country.”
Groff, however, said PNG had failed to turn its economic growth into benefits for all people.
“The challenge for PNG has been translating that growth into benefits for poor people and in real change to the lives of poor people in the country,” he said.
“Another word for that is inclusive growth, meaning growth that benefits all sectors of the community.
“Evidence of the growth not being as inclusive as it might have been is not on target to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
“That’s clear indication that the government and donor partners have not been able to sort out how best do you translate this economic growth into inclusive growth.”
The United Nations MDGs are eight goals that all 191 UN member states have agreed to try to achieve by the year 2015.
The United Nations Millennium Declaration signed in September 2000 commits world leaders to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women.
The MDGs are derived from this declaration and all have specific targets and indicators.
Change hasn’t happened quickly enough in the global mining sector, despite prodding from advocacy groups concerned about environmental sustainability and human rights abuses. But when a mining company responds to pressure and makes changes for the better, that should be acknowledged, not dismissed as an empty public relations gesture.
Recent criticism by Mining Watch of Barrick Gold’s initiative to assist the women who were raped by local employees of its mine in Papua New Guinea is short-sighted. It has accused the company of “rushing” the women through the claims process, and of forcing them to sign away their legal rights.
That is stretching the truth. In fact, Barrick, the world’s largest gold-mining company, has done its best to clean up the mess at the Porgera gold mine. Since 2011, it has spent 18 months consulting with human-rights advocates and developed an opt-in program of remediation for the victims, offering them counselling, access to micro-credit and medical care. The program is administered by an independent team, including the former chief magistrate of Papua New Guinea.
The women are free to pursue action against any individuals involved but once they settle the grievance procedure with the company, they cannot make further legal claims against it. This seems fair.
There is no denying that the Toronto-based corporation should have acted before the allegations of gang rapes became public in a 2011 Human Rights Watch report. That is regrettable. However, Barrick has since responded “with vigour,” to use the words of Human Rights Watch. It launched a major internal investigation, facilitated a criminal investigation by the local police and dismissed the employees who were charged.
Sexual violence against women remains a serious problem in Papua New Guinea, due in part to the country’s patriarchal culture. In the Porgera district, many women have experienced trauma and violence. This deeply rooted problem will not be resolved overnight.
Mining Watch, a non-profit advocacy group, is right to continue to monitor this issue in Papua New Guinea and in other countries where governance is weak and corruption a problem. But it should also be prepared to acknowledge change, and to chart the continuing evolution of the mining sector.
Globe and Mail
The Sir Tei Abal Secondary School in Enga province remains close as landowners still insist on meeting with the governor and the provincial administrator on their compensation demand.
The Kalia clan of Wakumale village, which owns the school land, is demanding 150-thousand Kina and 100 live pigs, from the Sakare clan of Liop village in the Laiagaim district, and the provincial government over the killing of a Kalia clansman on the school grounds last year.
A Kalia community leader, John Yombon says, the Office of Mekim Save court system under the Law and Order Division, had ordered the Sakale clan and other parties to settle the compensation demand by December the 28th 2012, however nothing was forthcoming, resulting in the frustrated landowners shutting the gate of the school on Monday.
A government delegation yesterday failed to get the Kalia landowners to open the school gate.
The government delegation consisting of Deputy Provincial Administrator Social Services Joel Kisu and Lower Kuda advisor Nelson Lea appealed to the clans to open the gate before the school should resume its 2013 academic year.
The government officials told the clan that they will take the issue up with the Enga Governor Peter Ipatas and the Enga Provincial Administrator Dr.Samson Amean, because the two leaders who were away from the province.
However Kalia clan leaders repeatedly say it would be more appropriate for them to talk face with the two leaders before they open the school gate.
Enga police try to despatch the landowners to clear the school gate, however the teachers told the police personnel not to do that as the school is located outside of Wabag and is well protected by the Kalia clan.
Canadian mining company, Nautilus Minerals says it's dedicated to resolving the financial issues with the government of Papua New Guinea, so that the work on its Solwara One Project resumes.
Nautilus Mineral's country Manager, Mel Togolo, made this known reiterating the company's commitment to developing the country's first seabed mining..
Nautilus has a license to mine copper and zinc under the floor of the Bismark Sea, in waters off East New Britain, New Ireland and Manus provinces.
However, the construction of equipment for its Solwara One Project remains terminated as a result of a disagreement with the P-N-G government, which is yet to pay more than 23-million US-Dollars, or more than 50-million kina for its 22-percent equity in the project.
Radio Australia reports Togolo saying, they look forward to achieving a resolution to ensure the project goes into production successfully.
Mr. Togolo says that the project has many environmental advantages compared to land-based mines, as it is working towards a zero tailings system, and that no people need to be relocated.
PAPUA New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has warned that the government may not approve the extension of the mine life of the nation's biggest single taxpayer, Ok Tedi, unless BHP Billiton agrees to amend the terms of the copper-gold mine's ownership.
Mr O'Neill told members of the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday that he was "not in a hurry" to grant an extension to the mine -- whose permits expire later this year -- even though it provides a quarter of the country's export receipts.
Following a series of environmental problems, BHP -- which built the mine in the then-remote Star Mountains in PNG's Western Province in the early 1980s -- pulled out of the venture.
Through an agreement with the PNG government of the day that involved a form of indemnity over environmental damage, BHP placed 63.4 per cent of the ownership in the hands of PNG Sustainable Development Program, a trust that was chaired by leading economist Ross Garnaut.
Vanuatu Opposition leader says the liaison between the Foreign Minister and two controversial diplomatic representatives in Papua New Guinea has cast his country in a poor light.
The Minister, Alfred Carlot’s visit to PNG coincided with the transit of a private plane carrying two Vanuatu diplomatic passport holders, Pascal Anh Saken and his brohter.
Saken is the owner of the super yacht Phocea which has been detained in Vanuatu since July due to false documentation.
PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has denied Alfred Carlot’s claim that he visited PNG at the invitation of the PNG Government.
Edward Natapei says the opposition believe Mr Carlot was there to meet the Sakens.
“The real concern is that the two brothers were travelling with Vanuatu diplomatic passports. Now there’s a big question about the diplomatic passports of Vanuatu and the credibility of that and our involvement as a country with people like the Sakens who are involved in other crooked deals around the world.” RNZI
THE Acting Papua New Guinea High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Sakias Tameo has been recalled by Ministry of Foreign Affairs on January 4th.
This came after he came to Honiara to replace Brian Yombom-Copio after involving in a vehicle accident at Mataniko bridge, Chinatown.According to PNG government’s policy, appointments and revocation of appointments of high commissioners and ambassadors, or heads of missions, is the prerogative of the National Executive Council (cabinet).
As such Yombom-Copio still remains as the high commissioner of Solomon Islands to represent PNG until such time Cabinet revokes his appointment.
When Solomon Star contacted Yombom-Copio to comment, he said he had no interest in the issue but want to concentrate on his New Year’s programme.
One of the main programmes is establishing the failed PNG chancery project.
Meanwhile, PNG Government currently have more than 50 companies investing in Solomon Islands. Solomon Star
AFTER a few years when Australia's closest neighbour, Papua New Guinea, seemed to have drifted far from our thoughts, in recent weeks the relationship has intensified immensely.
Prime Minister Peter O'Neill last month spent a week "down south", during which he delivered three especially stimulating and constructive speeches about the economic relationship with Australia. Before coming, he had barred economist Ross Garnaut, one of Australia's leading public intellectuals, from entering PNG.
Garnaut consequently quit the chairmanship of PNG's biggest- earning company, Ok Tedi Mining. Partly as a result, O'Neill became embroiled in a fierce debate with BHP-Billiton. And the Australian government's new Pacific Solution for asylum seekers has been thrown into jeopardy by a legal challenge from PNG's controversial opposition leader Belden Namah.
What's triggering such willing events?
After 12 years of consecutive growth, Papua New Guinea (PNG) started the new year by focusing its attention on facilitating a broader and more inclusive model for driving the economy forward. While PNG’s recent fortunes have been fuelled by the $19bn Exxon Mobil-led liquefied national gas (LNG) project, completion of the construction phase is set to change the economic dynamic this year by halving annual growth to an anticipated 4%.
The government plans to use the slowdown as an opportunity to accelerate the rolling out of national development projects and wider economic reform initiatives, with the agricultural sector and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to be given priority.
Fiji and New Zealand handed Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) a severe blow in their 2012 profit results with both countries noticeably losing sales and demand for alcohol and beverages due to economic slowdown.
But the world’s largest beverage producer has had its accountants scratching for answers in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia as the two boosted their sales to compensate for losses in Fiji and New Zealand.
So high is Coca-Cola’s optimism in PNG that it has invested in a new A$28 million warehouse in Lae, the country’s second largest city and home to an ever-growing industrial estate.
CCA anticipates the PNG expansion will yield dividends over the long-term with significant growth in the next 10 years.
“The acquisition of this warehousing facility is strategically important for our fast-growing PNG business as it adjoins our existing manufacturing and distribution operation,” said Coca-Cola group managing director, Terry Davis.
“The acquisition provides us with much needed warehousing space to guarantee future expansion for both manufacturing and distribution in PNG for the next 10 years.”
After acquiring former San Miguel assets and breweries in Samoa and Fiji last year, Coca-Cola moved to pick up new San Miguel assets in Jakarta with plans for a further A$45 million expansion in the region to cater for West Papua.
Coca-Cola noted that the new Paradise Beverages (Fiji) Limited (new name after Foster’s Group Pacific was acquired) “is delivering ahead of expectations” with new product launches and increased production capacity.
Since the full acquisition last September, Coca-Cola has commenced marketing Fiji Bitter Draught in Fiji, launched a new low-carb beer Vailima Pure and introduced new premium rum and Bounty Mojito from the Fiji Rum company.
Coca-Cola noted that whilst production capacity and output achieved in Fiji has been exceptional over the last quarter of 2012, the same cannot be said about sales of its products.
“We are delighted with the opportunities created by the acquisition, its potential exceeds our initial plans for the business. The upgrading of the facilities will give us more production capacity and the ability to produce export quality beer. We have also launched a number of new products in the local market already.”
Davis said a new premium beer Corona was being introduced in Fiji for sales through the Coca-Cola distribution network and two others—Coors Light and Blue Moon—in New Zealand.
The new acquisitions in the South Pacific of old Fosters and Miguel assets—have helped Coca-Cola lift its earnings by 4-5% before significant items.
He said that while the trading environment in Australia remains challenging, Coca-Cola maintained its edge and lead over competitors with innovative range of products.
“CCA has continued to outperform its peer group and we expect to again deliver increased group revenue and volume growth in 2012.” Island Business