In brief: Business Council reminds Papua New Guinea government to pay K2.8 billion debt and other business stories

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Business Council reminds government of its K2.8 billion debt, Newcrest to be listed on Canada’s stock exchange and Papua New Guineans open up about the Zhenhua data breach. The business news you need to kickstart your week

Lihir Gold Mine is in Niolam Island, 900 kilometres north-east of Port Moresby. Credit: Newcrest

International

Australia has increased its aid budget to the Pacific and Timor Leste to help respond to the coronavirus challenges in the region by $A211 million (K527 million). Australia’s total aid budget for 2020-21 is A$4.211 billion (K10.65 billion), an increase of four per cent over last year. (The Guardian)

Information & technology

Minister Timothy Masiu. Credit: PNG Parliament

A number of Papua New Guineans in the leaked database from Shenzhen-based Zhenhua Data Information Technology have expressed their concern and surprise at seeing their name on the list. RNZ spoke with some of the ‘big names’ on the list of 138 Papua New Guineans, including Minister for Communication and Information Technology Timothy Masiu, who reportedly said: ‘It’s actually real and it’s happening, some one is spying on you. For me, morally, it’s wrong.

‘I will present to cabinet an information paper on what we found out. There is a lot more things that (are) happening, and I will be meeting with the Chinese ambassador some time this week, as per his request, and see what they have to say. But I know they will deny it.’ (RNZ)

Finance

After comments about the potential devaluation of the kina, Greg Pawson, CEO of Kina Bank, told The National that Kina Bank ‘questions the validity of a devaluation of the currency’. He said that devaluing the kina has the potential to increase inflation and damage several sectors of the economy.

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Kina Securities completed its Retail Entitlement Offer announced on 10 September. Kina received valid applications for about 14.5 million new shares, which represents a participation rate of 35 per cent. The 28.7 million new shares not taken up in this offer will be ‘allocated to sub-underwriters of the Retail Entitlement Offer’. (PNGX)

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Ports

Credit: Swire Shipping

Swire Shipping has announced that it will offer a fixed-day fortnightly service to North Asia from November 2020. The upgraded North Asia Express (NAX) service ‘will enable Swire Shipping’s customers to improve their supply chain efficiency and inventory management from both an import and export perspective,’ said Swire Shipping’s General Manager Jeremy Sutton. (Swire Shipping)

National

The state of emergency and restrictions throughout PNG saw a delay in the rollout of the 5th National Census. Last week, however, the National Statics Office announced that the census will be rolled out on 11 July 2021.(FM100)

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With two more health threats, the African swine fever disease and the fall army worms, looming in PNG, the National Quarantine and Inspection Authority (NAQIA) has said that funding is becoming ‘a major setback for authorities fighting’ the deadly swine fever virus and the plant pest. NAQIA and Phama Plus have been working to contain the spread of the swine fever outbreak in the Southern Highlands and last week they signed a memorandum of understanding strengthening their partnership. (Post-Courier)

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Douveri Henao, Executive Director at Business Council of PNG, at a recent POMCCI Breakfast Meeting. Credit: BAI

Douveri Henao, Executive Director of the Business Council of PNG, has reminded the government of its K2.8 billion debt to the private sector that ‘needs to be paid’. He reportedly said: ‘The almost K3 billion government debt needs to be paid. That in itself is a stimulus package. Once you pay that, then businesses can continue operating from this large debt that the state owes.’ (Post-Courier)

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Prime Minister James Marape has announced K32 million for major projects in Chimbu Province, including work on the road linking Karamui-Nomane with the rest of Chimbu, which could help unlock the province’s potential for agriculture, and the Kundiawa Water Project. (Prime Minister Office)

Resources

Newcrest Mining has announced that it has received conditional approval to list on Canada’s Toronto Stock Exchange. The company will retain its primary listing on the Australian Securities Exchange and its secondary listing on PNGX Markets. The move for a North American listing comes as part of the company’s strategy to pursue growth in the region after its acquisition of 70 per cent of the Red Chris mine in Canada. (Newcrest)

The mining company has also approved the Lihir Front End Recovery Project, which includes the installation of flash flotation and additional cyclone capacity, among other upgrades, to reduce gold losses over the life of the mine. Newcrest Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sandeep Biswas, said in a statement: ‘I am pleased that Newcrest is able to generate well-paying jobs for people in Australia and Papua New Guinea over the next two years … the Lihir Front End Recovery project is expected to generate direct employment of approximately 150 people at its peak.’ (PNGX)

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After Acting Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari’s comments on Porgera’s lack of compliance under the Mining Development Contract and environmental neglect – and him reportedly saying that the National Government is to ‘sue Barrick for Billions of dollars’ – Barrick (Niugini) Limited (BNL) released a statement explaining ‘there are no historical legacy issues, whether under the terms of the Mining Development Contract or otherwise, that would entitle the State or any other parties to seek damages or compensation from the mine operators’.

BNL also noted in the statement Lupari’s comments regarding environmental issues and lack of compliance. The company said ‘BNL notes that the Porgera Mine has always operated in compliance with PNG laws and the conditions of its environmental permits issued by the Government … the mine has never received any notice of serious non-compliance from PNG government regulators, and the environmental management practices at the mine were studied and approved by the Government prior to the grant of the Special Mining Lease (SML).’

 

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