Posted By Staff Reporter
The Papua New Guinea Government has been advised to relieve the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) from policies that deny the authority from exercising its commercial capabilities, allowing it to move into the world of business.
This was a strategy included in their 10-year Strategic plan 2021 – 2030 and their five-year Corporate Plan 2021-2025, launched last month in Port Moresby.
Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Dr Lino Tom said with its 10-year plan, the NFA was keen to operate as a company, provided it was exempted from the Public Money Management Regularization Act and the National Procurement Act.
“This is not to compete with the private sector,” he said.
Dr Tom said it would encourage more foreign investment and encourage local participation.
“The (fisheries) sector has huge potential and if harnessed properly can bring in billions of kina of revenue into our economy, and help transform the lives of our people,” he said.
“We own the resources yet we become rent-seekers. Our (NFA) hands have been cuffed off by unfriendly government policies and legislations.”
“This plan seeks to unlock the restraining cuffs and allows us to go into the commercial space.”
The country’s fisheries zone of 2.4 million square kilometers is the largest in the South Pacific region, according to the NFA.
The zone includes an extended reef system, numerous islands and an extensive coastline.
These create a huge opportunity but also present an enormous challenge for monitoring and control. The export of fish and fishery products from PNG, in terms of quantity, has continued to increase annually over the last five years.
All fish and fishery exports of PNG comprised tuna in the form of canned, frozen, dried meal; dried sea cucumber (bêche-de-mer), finfish, prawn and shrimp, sharkfin, lobster, and crab.
NFA Board Chairman Mr. Wangatau said the strategic plan shows the full economic growth and surely will move PNG from a coastal state to a fishing state and make it the tuna capital of the world if the strategic plans achieve all its key result areas (KRA) by 2030.
Mr Wangatau said between K600 million and K800 million in revenue was generated from fresh and processed tuna exports annually since 2015.
The country today accommodates six tuna processing plants whose combined investment is estimated to be around US$250 million (about K831 million) and growing.
PM Marape commended NFA and the fisheries sector for the launching of the plans however challenged the fisheries sector to achieve 50 percent of catches in the country and also increase the revenue to 30 percent by 2025.
“By 2025 the fisheries sector has to ensure 50 percent of catches is process in-country and by the time this plan terminates we should be on our way to 100 percent processing.”
He said a review is expected in 2025 to see if the sector has achieved half of its KRAs of the fisheries strategic plan.
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