In brief: Government plans five new highways and other business stories

Government plans to build and open five new highways, Mibank launches women-only credit card, and PNG Power to upgrade two projects in Eastern Highlands and East New Britain. Your weekly digest of the latest business news.

The 2019 National Budget is scheduled to be delivered on the floor of Parliament by Treasurer Charles Abel next Tuesday 13 November.

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The National Government is planning to build and open five new highways linking the country which will open the corridors for economic development. Planning Minister, Richard Maru, reportedly says the proposed highways are the Morobe-Gulf Highway via Menyamya, Kikori-Kerema section of the Trans-Island Highway, Central-Milne Bay continuation of the Magi Highway and the Morobe-Sepik Highway from Wutung, and the Baiyer-Madang Highway.

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MiBank CEO, Tony Westaway, says the bank will be expanding its mobile phone usage in 2019 as it pushes further into remote parts of the country. He also says customers will able to use the ATMs of Westpac, Kina Bank, ANZ, from early next year. The bank has also issued a credit card specifically for women. Manager of Digital Services, Genevieve Daniels, says it’s a way of promoting women’s inclusion in the finance sector.

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PNG Power has signed Asian Development Bank-funded contracts for US$30 million to rehabilitate two projects in Eastern Highlands and East New Britain provinces. Acting Managing Director Carolyn Blacklock, reportedly says the work see a surge tank built at the Yonki Toe of the Dam project and a similar facility at the Warangoi Hydro project.

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Newcrest’s Lihir Gold mine paid K269 million to governments and landowners in the 2017-2018 financial year. The company says it paid around K88 million in royalties, K39m to the New Ireland provincial government and K181 million in taxes to the PNG Government, which included K11 million in community infrastructure under the government’s Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme.

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An IFC global power expert, Stratos Tavoulareas, who has finished a study tour of PNG, says PNG has under-utilised sources of renewable energy including hydro, solar and biomass. He says only a little over one per cent of hydro potential is being utilised.

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Indonesia’s state-owned electricity provider, PLN, says it will expand its operations to supply power to Vanimo, the main town in West Sepik province, close to the border with Indonesia’s Papua province. Radio NZ Pacific reports that an MOU is expected to be signed later this month.

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The PNG Tourism Promotion Authority and Kundu Productions have released a new video to promote the country.

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Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison is reportedly about to announce a new ‘sports diplomacy’ plan to win the hearts of minds of people in the Pacific nations and combat China’s growing influence.

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Papua New Guinea has fallen one place to 109 from its 2016/17 position in the World Bank’s latest Ease of Doing Business Report, according to the Post-Courier.

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Trukai Industries has won the best exhibit and is the grand winner of the 2018 Morobe Agricultural Show. CEO, Greg Worthington-Eyre, said a feature of the exhibit was the company’s ‘100 percent home grown Hamamas rice ‘. Meanwhile, the Agriculture Ministers of PNG and The Philippines are expected to sign an MOU on 16 November to develop rice production for both countries.

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ANZ’s 2018 full-year profit was A$6.4 billion, roughly the same as last year. CEO Shayne Elliott said the impact of the Royal Commission in Australia—which had exposed years of misconduct—resulted in the bank refunding almost $400 million that it charged its customers for bad or, in some cases, no advice. Legal bills arising from the Commission have so far hit $55 million; more are on their way. Around 5000 employees, or 11 per cent of the workforce, left during the year.

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New Caledonia has voted against independence from France, with 56.4 percent choosing the status quo, reports RNZ Pacific. Turnout was 80 percent and in some electorates was as high as 95 percent. The pro-independence side says it is determined to invoke the Noumea Accord which allows for another referendum in two years.

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Photograph of the Week

PNG Customs and the Investment Promotion Authority destroyed six thousand counterfeit bilums in Kimbe last week. They had been imported from China in July this year. PNG Customs says they were imported by Lyz Trading, and were valued at K16,000. Credit: Dorcas Eunice Tindri NBC West New Britain via Facebook.    

 

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