In brief: Papua New Guinea’s founding father dies and other business stories


Two weeks of national mourning declared after Papua New Guinea’s longest-serving Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare passed away, Ihu Special Economic Zone enters second phase of development, and PNG’s exports to China increase.

michael somare

PNG’s Founding Father Michael Somare. Credit: NBCNews via Facebook


Last week, the Ihu Special Economic Zone (ISEZ) entered its second phase of development (planning and implementation) with the signing of an HR recruitment contract with Human Capital Management Solutions.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Kikori MP Soroi Eoe reportedly said that the signing ‘enables the National Executive Council ‘to turn this project from a Kikori DDA-funded project to a National Government project from this year onwards.’

According to The National, the ISEZ project will be implemented through the government’s Public Investment Program. (The National)


PNG’s founding father and longest serving Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare died last week of pancreatic cancer. Prime Minister Marape has announced a national mourning period, ‘a week of silence, peace and calm.’

Marape said: ‘We pay respect to this one person to whom our country owes much, he is unmatched by any one of us who comes after him.

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‘Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare deserves our unified respect, now and forever into our future as a nation.’

The government declared 1 and 12 March as nationwide public holidays to honour Somare.

On 12 March, there will be a state funeral held at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium. (NBC News PNG)


Deputy PM Sam Basil. Credit: PNG Parliament

Deputy Prime Minister Sam Basil said that PNG’s exports to China have increased by K13 billion in the last two years, from K11.829 billion in 2018 to K13.185 billion in 2020. He also said that the main exports (over 94 per cent) between 2018 and 2019 came from the extractive industry.

Basil said that the three leading recipients of ‘exports based on 2018 figures are China, Japan and Australia’,

The Deputy Prime Minister also said there was ‘potential to do better with other exports and imports.’ (The National)


With the recent spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases in PNG, there have been rumours about a possible lockdown. But this would not be conducive for business recovery, Robin Fleming, CEO of BSP, reportedly said.

Ian Tarutia, CEO of Nasfund, said that another lockdown wouldn’t be ‘conducive’, while Paul Barker, the Executive Director of the Institute of National Affairs, said PNG doesn’t have the mechanisms to provide businesses and households with relief measures and that ‘there’s a limit to how far those institutions can support relief measures.’ (Post-Courier)


COVID-19 cases in PNG continue to rise; 49 new cases were reported on 1 March, bringing the total cases to 1365 and 14 known deaths.

The latest cases were reported in NCD, Morobe, West Sepik and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. (LOOP PNG)


The operator of the Kainantu mine in Eastern Highlands, K92 Mining, has been awarded the Thayers Lindsley Award by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada for the discovery of the Kora North deposit in Kainantu. During the award ceremony in Port Moresby, John Lewins, Chief Executive Officer of K92 Mining, said: ‘We only scraped the surface.

‘We need to find more mines, more companies to come in, which will result in more investments for the country.’ (The National)


Kina Bank has announced its 2020 financial results, reporting an unaudited statutory profit of K76 million, an increase of 25 per cent compared to 2019. Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Greg Pawson, said that the company grew in all areas despite COVID-19. He pointed to the launch of ‘strategic digital strategies’ and the integration of ANZ PNG. (Kina Bank)


The Papua New Guinea Certification Services through the National Institute of Standards and Industrial Technology has awarded the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification to Lae Biscuit Company. The food manufacturing company is now one of 10 certified companies in the country to meet internationally recognised and approved food safety and control measures. (The National)

Photo of the week

Traditional dancers gathered to celebrate the historical flight to Gurney. Credit: AirNiugini

Captain Moses Padigaga and First Officer Bernice Watinga operated the historical flight of Air Niugini’s Boeing 737 to Gurney Airport in Milne Bay Province. The aircraft landed at Gurney last week and will become a ‘regular sight’ in the province with three weekly services from 28 March. This new service is expected to help increase tourism in Milne Bay. (Air Niugini)


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