In brief: new export tax levy could break the forestry industry and other business stories


Forestry industry says new export tax could ‘kill’ production, Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture to lay off employees and P’nyang negotiations edge towards deadline. The business news you need to kick-start your week.

PNG scored 132 out of 180 countries in the Transparency Index. Credit: TIPNG


The new round log export tax levy has been set at 59 per cent, an increase from 32.5 per cent. The government is now expecting to generate between K400 and K450 million in revenue from the forestry sector. However, the Forestry Industry Association and the Opposition Leader Belden Namah have raised concerns as the increase in the export tax levy ‘could kill the forestry industry’. (Post-Courier)


The deadline for negotiations between the National Government and multinational oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil over the P’nyang gas project is getting closer. Kerenga Kua, PNG’s Minister for Petroleum, announced last week in a press conference that 31 January is the time limit. He also clarified that the state, rather than provinces, will be in charge of the negotiations. (Business Advantage PNG)


According to The National, Kua also said last week that ‘people should be ready to accept a negative outcome’ on the P’nyang gas project. The Minister for Petroleum told the newspaper: ‘If the developers do not agree with the terms in the agreement, then we don’t mind. We will find another way to keep going and so people have to be ready.’ He has implied that his team is working hard to get a better deal for Papua New Guinea.


The Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) has received the Upstream Environmental Impact Statement for upstream components (gas field infrastructure) of the Papua LNG project. CEPA’s Managing Director Gunther Joku said the environmental impact statement would be available for public review. CEPA will conduct consultations with the provincial governments, district development authorities, local level governments and communities affected by the project and an internal assessment of the statement. (The National)

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Solwara 1 site. Credit: Nautilus Mining

Jerry Garry, Managing Director of the Mineral Resources Authority, said that Nautilus Minerals’ Solwara 1, considered the first proposed deep-sea mine in the Pacific, is now a ‘failed project’.

A project of the Canadian-based company Nautilus Minerals, the mine is about 30 kilometres from New Ireland Province. The State spent US$120 million (K408.8 million) on Solwara, based in the Bismarck Sea. According to Garry, it ‘will probably write it off as debt’. (The National)


Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture (WGJV) is continuing to reduce its workforce at the project site in Morobe Province because of the ongoing discussions between WGJV, the National Government, the Morobe Provincial Government and other key stakeholders.

WGJV will lay off 37 employees at the end of the month. Executive General Manager and Project Director Bryan Bailie said: ‘We are very disappointed with the present situation the project finds itself in. It is difficult to estimate the duration of the permitting delay and stakeholders will be advised when discussions recommence’. (Post-Courier)


Air Niugini has announced that it will further delay the orders of its four 737 Max aircraft that were made in 2014 and expected later this year. The 737 Max delivery has been postponed until at least 2024. (Air Niugini)


Prime Minister James Marape said that PNG needs K20 billion per year to operate and attain positive growth. He mentioned the figure during the launch of the Internal Revenue Commission 2020 work plan, where, he reportedly said: ‘If our economy today is K80 billion, and if we can work diligently to collect not extra tax but what is due to us according to our laws, we will do well.’ (The National)


IRC’s Sam Koim. Credit: Devpolicy

Sam Koim, who was confirmed Commissioner General of the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) last week, said during the launch of the IRC 2020 work plan that to avoid corruption in public institutions, there should be a tax relief for public servants.

During the presentation, Koim also said: ‘under my leadership, apart from raising the revenue needed to fund the national budget, we will also improve our services to reduce compliance burden, know our tax payers better, digitisation of taxation services, staff empowerment and make GST as the number one revenue earner.’ (Post-Courier)


The 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) was published last week and PNG scored 28 out of 100 and ranked 137 out of 180 countries surveyed by Transparency International (TI).

PNG is among the countries that have shown ‘little to no improvement’ on their scores from the 2018 CPI. It also scored 17 points lower than the Asia-Pacific region average.

TIPNG Chairman Peter Aitsi said in a presentation that PNG has taken steps to tackle corruption in the country, such as the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2010–2030. However, he added, having an independent anti-corruption enforcement agency is key to boosting the effectiveness of the NACS and would allow for the effective implementation of the National Budget. (Transparency PNG)

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