Posted By Staff Reporter
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill today welcomed the decision by the Ombudsman Commission to review the NEC decision to obtain a loan from UBS to pay for shares in Oil Search Limited. In a press statement the Prime Minister said so much much lies, misinformation and innuendos have been spread about this loan since NEC made the decision. “And I welcome this review announced by the Ombudsman Commission “I have said that unlike past practice, all details relating to this loan will be tabled in Parliament by this government for scrutiny. “All these details will be made available to the Ombudsman Commission for the review it is conducting. “As I said before, this loan was obtained so our people, through the government, can own a part of this strategic company Oil Search, and be a direct player in the development of our vast petroleum resources.
“We cannot be mere bystanders anymore. We must partner and partake in the development of our resources, so we benefit from taxes, and in taking profits as a shareholder as well.” Mr O’Neill said debt raising (loan) was a normal thing done around the world, and is a growth tool when applied properly. “The entire PNG LNG project is about 70% debt financed, and our participation (about 17%) will generate about $A30 billion over three decades. “That is securing our future, not selling our country as some commentators are suggesting.
“Oil Search owns 29% of the PNG LNG project. Its profits are set to quadruple when revenue starts flowing. It has made a strategic move on the Elk/Entelope project. “What we have done is simply position ourselves to benefit from the growth of Oil Search, and the continued development of our petroleum resource into the future.” The Prime Minister reiterated that PNG’s debt as a portion of GDP will remain unaffected at 35% by the loan and how it is structured. “In fact our debt position is much better than countries like Japan (debt 227% of GDP), USA 101%, UK 88%, New Zealand 35.9%, Singapore 110%, Malaysia 53%. “The deficit in our budget is being used entirely to drive growth, as noted by the two economic experts from the ANZ Bank who visited PNG last week. “Our economy is growing at around 6% this year. In 2015 our GDP will almost double its size as a result of the LNG export. “We should be proud that our decision to direct interest and become a partner has made this possible, now and for the future. “I want to again assure every Papua New Guinean that the decision by NEC to buy 10.1% of Oil Search is a very good deal for all of us. “We will provide all the information on this transaction to the Ombudsman Commission, and table them in Parliament in May,” the Prime Minister said. PNG facts/post courier
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