In brief: Papua New Guinea to receive K4.2 million from the US and other business stories


The United States commits K4.2 million in the fight against COVID-19 in Papua New Guinea, Monoyal project gets positive drilling results and PNG confirms five new cases of COVID-19. The business news you need to kickstart your week.

Prime Minister James Marape addressed the nation last week and confirmed there are five new cases of COVID-19 in PNG, taking the total to seven. Credit: James Marape/Facebook


PNG has confirmed five new cases of COVID-19 – three from Western Province, one from East New Britain and one more is a worker from the COVID-19 operation centre – bringing the total of confirmed cases to seven. Prime Minister James Marape confirmed that the five individuals have been isolated and said that ‘over a thousand tests will be conducted again in Kokopo, Rabaul, East New Britain’. (LOOP PNG)


Prime Minister Marape was tested for coronavirus after a person working at PNG’s main COVID-19 operations centre tested positive. In a statement at the weekend the PM announced that the result was negative. (Post-Courier)


PNG’s Prime Minister, James Marape, announced on this Facebook page that he will commit half of his salary to the ‘Helpim Wantok’ initiative. The initiative seeks to assist those struggling because of the COVID-19 state of emergency. (LOOP PNG.)


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The Emergency Controller, Police Commissioner David Manning, issued the National Emergency Order No. 17 and declared that between 9pm and 6am in the Capital District and Western Province no one can leave their premises unless they are seeking medical help or in case of emergency.


To help PNG in its fight against COVID-19 the United States has committed K4.2 million (US$1.2 million) to help the PNG government. The US committed another US$2.3 million to help other Pacific Nations. US Ambassador Erin McKee said: ‘The US Government strongly supports our partnership with the governments of Papua New Guinea, [the] Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu in a comprehensive, worldwide fight against COVID-19.’ (Post-Courier)


The restrictions put in place because of the COVID-19 state of emergency have affected the sea and air transport service and a freight subsidy could be part of PNG’s economic stimulus package, as per EMTV. Sam Basil, the National Planning Minister, ‘confirmed that State of Emergency Controller David Manning has issued a directive to his Department especially on the fresh food and vegetables freight already.’ (EMTV)


The superannuation fund Comrade Trustee Services Ltd (CTSL) has recorded a negative return of K22 million in the first quarter of 2020. The poor results are because of the impact COVID-19 has had in the economy. CTSL’s Chief Executive, Charlie Gilichibi, reportedly said ‘as trustees, we are doing everything we can but there are some things beyond what we can control … COVID-19 is having a major impact on our investments.’ (The National)


To help savings societies and loans societies during these trying times, the Bank of PNG has ‘relaxed’ its submissions of financial reports. The central bank’s Assistant Governor, Ellison Pidik, reportedly said that the bank would be monitoring and having close discussions with the societies. (The National)


The Office of Immigration and Citizenship Authority will ‘remain open weekly’ to provide essential services including the release of passports and receiving applications for visa extensions. Payments for Migration Services Fees can be done through the ICA online payment gateway. (LOOP PNG)


PNG’s national airline, Air Niugini, has confirmed that starting 20 April all domestic flights are available for sale, however, all departures will be subject to the SOE Controller’s approval. (Air Niugini)


Vessels in PNG Covid-19

Credit: NBC News/Facebook

A vessels tracking and monitoring system, which is used at the National Maritime and Safety Authority, has now come online at the National Operation Centre for the COVID-19 response to help the team track vessels in PNG’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). ‘It should give all Papua New Guineans an added level of comfort that not only are we monitoring our ports of entries and land borders but we are also monitoring vessels movement within our EEZ, this will, of course, allow us to continue to put under surveillance certain ships,’ said David Manning. (NBC News)


Digicel dishes in PNG. Credit: BAI

Digicel has put in place a restructuring plan aimed at wiping $1.7 billion of its debt. The move has been called a ‘distressed debt exchange’.  (The Irish Times)


The oldest food manufacturer in PNG, Paradise Foods, returned to full production last week, with all staff coming back to work, after the company slowed down production during the first two weeks of the state of emergency. ‘We have already returned to full 24/7 production and asked all of our employees to return to work,’ Group CEO James Rice told The National. ‘Only our employees in West Sepik, Western and East New Britain are remaining at home, but we are paying the full salaries of any employees waiting at home during this period.’


Pomio District and the Rural Airstrip Agency signed a Memorandum of Agreement last week to rehabilitate five airstrips in Pomio (Jacquinot Bay, Gonaile, Lele, Bili and Uvol). (Post-Courier)


monoyal project

Monoyal project. Credit: Gold Mountain

The ASX-listed company Gold Mountain Limited has published an update on its drilling program at the Monoyal prospect, part of its Wabag project in PNG. The results show that there could be a large copper-gold system at Monoyal. ‘The sense of anticipation for the assay results for holes MCD005 and 006 inside the company is palpable and we look forward to reporting on the results next month. In the meantime, the company intends to provide its initial review of the core from MCD007 in the near term,’ said Tim Cameron, CEO of Gold Mountain.

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