In brief: Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister announces major cabinet reshuffle and other business stories


Marape shakes-up his cabinet, environmental studies to be conducted in four mine sites in Papua New Guinea and the National Development Bank signs agreement to help fund SMEs. The business news you need to kickstart your week.

James Marape introduces the new members of his cabinet. Credit: Department of Prime Minister and NEC via Facebook


A ‘need for political stability and delivering key government priorities’ are the reasons that Prime Minister James Marape cited when he announced major changes to his cabinet. The new cabinet includes ministers from the National Alliance Party, United Resources Party and United Labour Party. The changes, the PM said, ‘will consolidate stability, enhance leadership at the political level to drive key policy priorities.’

  • Sam Basil will become Deputy Prime Minister and will retain his existing portfolio for National Planning;
  • Jelta Wong is the new Minister for Civil Aviation;
  • Sir Puka Temu will become Minister for Health;
  • William Onglo is the inaugural Minister for Energy (‘a new critical ministry that will coordinate the development and implementation of benchmark policies to deliver power to our villages, regions, towns and cities’);
  • Leka Gure moves from Civil Aviation to Labour and Employment; and
  • Walter Schnaubelt is now the Minister for Culture, Tourism and the National Museum.
  • Prime Minister James Marape assumes responsibilities for Bougainville Affairs.

(Prime Minister & NEC Office)


The Vice-President of the PNG Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ian Tarutia, said that foreign-owned banks departing the retail banking space in PNG could be an opportunity to set locally-owned banks to increase banking services. He told The National: ‘It is timely for smart thinking, innovative local investors, to look at establishing the next successful BSP or Kina Bank story.

‘The PNG Chamber Commerce and Industry acknowledges the contribution of Westpac and ANZ to the country’s development since their establishment over 100 years ago but respects their decision if they wished to leave PNG.’ (The National)


The National Development Bank’s (NDB) Business Incubation Centre at Hohola will close its doors after its lease expires on 17 December. The incubation centre is home to 44 SMEs that have benefited from reduced rental rates, subsidised by the NDB. According to The National, the NDB is closing operations after five years because it ‘has not made any profit from operating the Business Incubation Centre. As such, it has become uneconomical to continue the service.’

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The National Development Bank (NDB) and the State, through the Department of Commerce and Industry (DCI), have signed an agreement to provide K500 million for MSMEs. It has been reported that the funds will be disbursed by K100 million payments per year over the next five years. As part of the agreement, the terms and conditions of the agreement will be reviewed every 12 months. ‘DCI and NDB see the benefits of this MSME credit facility and both parties have a desire to work together with this partnership to implement the facility successfully,’ said DCI Acting Secretary Joseph Vutliu. (Post-Courier)


During its annual general meeting, the Board Chairman of Nambawan Savings and Loan Society (NSLS), John Cholai, announced a net profit of K2.05 million in 2019. The result represents an average growth of 17 per cent since 2017. NSLS made K5.53 million in total income  (Post-Courier)


Environment and Conservation Minister Wera Mori confirmed that the environmental and socio-economic impact of four mines: Ramu Nico (Madand), Ok Tedi (Western), Porgera (Enga) and Sinivit (East New Britain), will be studied. This will include the second phase of investigations into the Basamuk river spillage that occurred last year. (The National)


Eleven United Nations representatives have penned letters to the PNG, Australian and Chinese governments as well as Frieda River Limited expressing their concern about the potential threats of the Frieda River copper and gold mine, which is part of the Sepik Development Project. The letters reportedly address the proposed tailings dam for the mine waste, which would be built in a seismically active area prone to extreme rainfall. If the system failed the consequences for the Sepik river and inhabitants could be catastrophic. Richard Pearshouse, Head of Crisis and the Environment at Amnesty International, said: ‘For 11 UN human rights experts to jointly express their concerns so early in a mine’s approval process is unprecedented. It’s a clear warning to all parties to expect intense scrutiny of this project from the UN and the international community.’ (ABC)

Photograph of the week

This year’s Enga Show was inaugurated last week by Australia’s High Commissioner to PNG, Jon Philp and Governor Sir Peter Ipatas. The annual event took place on 2 and 3 October.


  1. Jockie Tonokun says

    Firstly, National Development Bank and Department of commerce and Industry.
    How can you help the small people to do SMES when you are introducing new policies that has not reached a million people yet?
    Attendees of 266,000 of financial literacy training isn’t enough to apply because we are almost 9 million population, not even half of PNG population.
    Please reconsider your decision in best interest of government 2020 to 2030 GOALS to be achieved.
    Or start conducting financial literacy training in every provinces and districts that won’t be a obstacle.
    Thanks in your capable hands.

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