In brief: Papua New Guinea’s foreign exchange reserves up and other business stories


Head of bank comments on foreign exchange improvement at the end of last year, alluvial mining reserved for Papua New Guineans. and Santos reports record profits. The business news you need today.

Prime Minister James Marape, Australian High Commissioner Jon Philp and other government representatives during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Australian and PNG. Credit: Office of the PM and NEC


PNG Ports is set to receive K1.5 billion from the Australian government to rehabilitate the main ports in Lae, Kavieng, Kimbe, Oro Bay, Vanimo, Wewak and Lorengau. The majority of the funding will come from a concessional loan of US$365 million repayable over 35 years and an interest-free grant of US$70 million. This  loan is considered the ‘biggest single investment by Australia in any sector and project in the history of the Australia Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific.’

The Memorandum of Understanding between Australia and PNG was signed last week by Prime Minister Marape and Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a televised livestream. (Minister for Foreign Affairs & PMNEC)


Fego Ota Kiniafa, Managing Director of PNG Ports Ltd, outlines the master plan for the nation’s ports here. (Business Advantage PNG)

Oil & gas

In its 2021 Q4 report, Santos reported record numbers – record annual production of 92.1 million barrels of oil, record quarterly sales revenue of US$1.5 billion (up 34 per cent) and record annual sales revenue US$4.7 billion (up 39 per cent). The data in the report includes Oil Search assests from 11 December 2020 onwards.

Of the merger, Santos’ boss Kevin Gallagher said: ‘Our merger with Oil Search delivers increased scale and capacity to drive a disciplined, low-cost operating model and unrivalled growth opportunities over the next decade – with a vision of becoming a global leader in the energy transition.’ (Santos)

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The acquisition of Digicel Pacific by Australian telecommunications giant Telstra is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2023, a spokesperson reportedly told the Post-Courier. The acquisition of Digicel’s PNG business still needs to secure statutory approvals from the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission, the National Information and Communications Technology Authority and the Bank of PNG. However, a meeting at Waigaini between Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey, Telstra’s Andy Penn and Oliver Camplin, and Australia’s High Commissioner Jon Philp took place last week. (Post-Courier)


An Alluvial Mining Bill will be tabled at the next parliament sitting, according to Minister for Mining Johnson Tuke. Alluvial mining, he said, is an activity reserved for Papua New Guineans and one of the aims of the new bill is ‘to give more benefits to Papua New Guineans, so all the alluvial gold produced must go through a refining process and be exported.’ (The National)


The Chief Executive Officer of Bank South Pacific Financial Group, Robin Fleming, has told The National that PNG had ‘high levels of foreign exchange currency’ at the end of last year. This, he reportedly said, was due to strong commodities prices, end-of-year dividends and donor funds for several projects. ‘FX market turnover rose by 7.4 per cent from a year earlier,’  Fleming said. (The National)


Fully vaccinated international passengers can now fly into Queensland, Australia, with no requirement for any quarantine on arrivals, as of 22 January. Passengers will be required to self-conduct a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) within 24 hours of arriving in Australia. At present travel remains restricted to Australian citizens, permanent residents and New Zealanders normally residing in Australia, but Air Niugini expects travel to be extended to other visa holders such as tourists in early February. (Air Niugini)

Picture of the week

Nurse Angelin Labau giving Prime Minister James Marape his AZ booster shot yesterday at the Manasupe Haus in Waigani, NCD. Credit: COVID-19 Media

Time to roll up those sleeves. Prime Minister James Marape is leading by example and has received his COVID-19 booster shot. Fellow Members of Parliament Ministers Kerenga Kua and Jelta Wong and East Sepik Governor Allan Bird joined him and receive their booster this week.

‘People the world over are lining up for booster shots and it is incumbent on my Government to give our people access to leading science and research in so far as COVID-19 vaccines are concerned.

‘The direction from the Pandemic Controller was clear, and was supported and reiterated by the Secretary for Health last week. The vaccines are here for our benefit – I urge all our people to get vaccinated,’ said Prime Minister Marape in a statement.



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