In brief: Pacific nations decline signing economic and security deal with China & other news


Pacific nations, including Papua New Guinea, have declined signing a deal with China, PNG Customs expects losses of K200 million and Ihu SEZ commences second phase and gathers interest from several countries. The business news your need.

Henry Puna, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, holds a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Suva, Fiji. Credit: Pacific Islands Forum/AFP/Getty Images via The Guardian


A project founded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations saw farmers in Enga Province harvest 11 hectares of potatoes last week. The Program Coordinator, Tony Sulipin, told The National the farmers expect the total harvest to be 20 tonnes. Sulipin added: ‘We now want to be a seed centre for Enga and the rest of the country.’


Vodafone’s new kiosk at the Rangeview Plaza shopping centre, which is set to open on 1 June, is now the company’s third retail outlet in Port Moresby. (The National)


NASFUND Savings and Loan Society (NCSL) has reported that its number of members grew 5.9 per cent last year, which means deposits grew by 12.8 per cent (K247.7 million). Profits for the super fund was up 4.6 per cent compared to the previous financial year. Dividends paid to its members throughout the year was equivalent to K12.6 million. (The National)


After the Government’s K350 million intervention measures to combat inflation, PNG Customs has said it could lose about K200 million in collections at the end of the year. Some of the measures include lifting of GST (goods and services tax) on targeted household items such as rice, noodles, canned fish and cooking oil, amongst others; lifting of GST on petrol, diesel, zoom and kerosene; bringing forward the reduction in fuel import tariff excise, and subsidy to PNG Power to help with the cost of fuel. PNG Customs’ Chief Commissioner, David Towe, reportedly said: ‘We may not meet our targeted revenue this year because of the reliefs to combat inflation.’ (The National)


The Ihu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) has gathered international attention now that it is in its second phase. Ihu SEZ Project Director, Peter Kengemar, said that they have signed agreements with three Chinese companies that are already working on the current feasibility study. He also mentioned that the United States and Australia have shown interest. Ihu SEZ has also partnered with PNG DataCo, Kumul Consolidated Holdings, PNG Forest Authority, PNG Ports, the Department of Works and Nasfund. (Post-Courier)

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Australia will send more than 100 Australia Defence Force personnel to PNG in the coming months to help combat cyber threats and help with the national election in July. Australia recently signed an agreement with PNG to provide support in cyber security matters, providing support to better detect and fight cyberattacks as well as train cyber experts in PNG. (Sydney Morning Herald)


PNG’s outlook has changed to stable from negative and ‘B-‘ long-term and ‘B’ short-term ratings have been affirmed. The revision comes because of the higher commodity prices. S&P Global Ratings also expects a ‘modest economic recovery of 1.7 per cent in 2021’ and economic growth to pick up further in 2022. (S&P Global Ratings)

Pacific Islands

Pacific countries, including Papua New Guinea, have declined to sign a regional economic and security deal with China after a meeting between Pacific foreign ministers and China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi. It’s been reported that several nations wanted to either defer action or have the draft amended. The deal covered a free trade area, humanitarian and COVID-19 relief and security matters, amongst other things.

Yi said in a press conference: ‘China will release its own position paper on our own positions and propositions and cooperation proposals with Pacific Island countries, and going forward we will continue on cooperation.’ (The Guardian)

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