Chamber Commends Minister Maru and Ms Bishop
13 Dec 2022
The opening remarks by President Mr Anthony Smaré, paved the way for strong discussions on bilateral trade, development of the PNG economy, riding off the back of PNG’s trading partners in Australia and the Asian region, as well as a push for more direct investment in the resource and renewable energy sector. A sector that is of growing importance as the industry appreciates the finite resources available globally.
Prime Minister James Marape, in his keynote address assured the audience of PNG’s capacity for an investor-friendly environment, stating “We are a mineral and petroleum nation. We know how to give incentives, embrace and protect investors, and allow investors to make a fair and profitable return on their investments; “
The PM added “our experiences from Bougainville, Ok Tedi and Porgera compels us to ensure we negotiate a fair agreement that allows investors to have a global benchmark return on their investments while PNG parties, including landowners and Provincial Governments have a share in an improved benefit-sharing arrangement.”
As the Prime Minister simply put “And if you may allow me to emphasise that PNG is a fair place for investments. The State always is on the lookout to protect our investors because to not to do so is negligence of our responsibilities.”
From an international trading perspective, the Chamber is particularly pleased with the dialogue that occurred, with representation from the government of Papua New Guinea, by Hon. Richard Maru, Minister for International Trade and Investment and former Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop.
Minister Maru in his remarks expressed gratitude to the chamber stating he was ecstatic in being able to bring a different slant to the conference.
Maru stating that post-independence and with only a single project in 1975 -Bougainville Copper Limited, the operators of the Panguna Mine, Papua New Guinea’s economy had been vibrant, holding a surplus of foreign currency in its reserves. By 2022, only 8 projects are fully operational, and with depleting resources, the Minister for International Trade and Investment stated “we recognize that, that is why we are improving the numbers in the coming weeks, and we will be going all out to bring in incentives to bring in more exploration dollars”
Importantly, the Minister informed the conference that the GPD growth from 1960 to 2022 shows investor partnership has raised PNGs economy from US$5billion to an expected US$101.0 billion by the end of 2022.
“It is a big leap, and thank you very much to the resource sector, you have been such an important part of our journey and you will continue to be” said Mr Maru.
Special commendation from the Chamber to Ms Julie Bishop on a deeply compelling speech, on PNG and Australia’s relationship since independence, offering PNG as an equal economic partner, saying “that is a vision that not only the Australian government has but I know is shared by PNG”
Ms Bishop clear in what she felt Australian businesses could provide invaluable investment into the PNG economy, recollecting her first interaction with Prime Minister James Marape who had said in July 2019, that PNG’s aspirations were that over a 10-year period, PNG would no longer need Australian foreign aid because it would be economically self-sufficiently resilient and economically independent
Ms Bishop adding “and I remember he spoke about embracing technology and Innovation and downstream processing and Manufacturing and building the human capital in PNG so that the people could help the development and modernization of the PNG economy and again in his most recent speech to Parliament after becoming prime minister on the 9th of August this year he spoke about a pledge he would make to the people of PNG that he would achieve that level of economic independence that previous leaders had achieved with political Independence and that is a magnificent Vision that we very much admire and his connect PNG policy is so exciting because he's identified areas of focus where I know Australian business has expertise and will have great interest in partnering with PNG”
The sentiments expressed by Ms Bishop and Minister Maru at the 16th PNG Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference and Exhibition has largely highlighted the purpose of the event. To pull together PNGs policymakers, project partners, and seek potential investment opportunities from the region’s largest market in Sydney. Landowner participation throughout the event was also of paramount importance with Mineral Resources Development Company, pulling together all landowner chairmen from the various Petroleum, Oil and Gas, and Mining project-impact areas to attend the conference.
This incredible opportunity by Landowners especially to be part of the investment and developmental process is unique only to Papua New Guinea.
With the chamber now looking to reach out toward potential investment partners for future project, the Asian region is an enticing market.
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