In brief: Reopening Porgera ‘will have a more immediate restorative effect’ and other business stories


Foreign exchange pressures continue to escalate, the Executive Director of the Institute of National Affairs talks about the ‘restorative effect’ reopening Porgera could have, and Oil Search back on track.

From left: PHAMA Plus Senior National Facilitator Alex Kerangpuna, New Zealand High Commission Port Moresby First Secretary Rachel McCarthy, PHAMA Plus Country Manager (PNG) Sidney Suma, CIC General Manager Steven Tumae, CIC legal officer Wilma Banake and Australian High Commission PNG Program Manager Economics Joshua Kaile after the signing of a MoU in Port Moresby. Credit and caption: PHAMA Plus


Accessing foreign exchange (forex) has become ‘increasingly hard over the past nine months,’ according to Chey Scovell, Chief Executive Officer of PNG Manufacturers Council. He told The National that many members of the council and businesses have found accessing forex harder and that the strengthening of the Australian dollar and the low price of the kina ‘has also exacerbated the situation’. Scovell suggested that the situation will continue until the State takes further action. (The National)


To help boost the exportation – and quality – of PNG coffee, the Coffee Industry Corporation Ltd (CIC) and Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus (PHAMA Plus) have signed a memorandum of understanding to ‘help increase the volume of good quality coffee exported to high-value speciality and differentiated markets’.

Alex Kerangpuna, PHAMA Plus Senior National Facilitator, said that through this partnership PHAMA Plus seeks to strengthen its work with CIC, help ensure regulatory practices to set standards – and implement them – as well as help exporters and farmers benefit from ‘improved coffee prices, particularly in speciality and differentiated markets, and increased exports.’ (PHAMA Plus)


Oil Search’s operations are back to normal after the second processing circuit (SAG-1) that was damaged in December last year during a fire was repaired. It took almost six weeks to restore the second circuit. The financial impact of the incident was about US$100 million (K343.11). One circuit was easier to repair but the damage to SAG-1 was ‘more severe and required two new switching equipment,’ said CEO and Managing Director Musje Werror. (The National)


Paul Barker, Executive Director of the Institute of National Affairs, told The National that although the news of the progress being made towards the start of the Wafi-Golpu project, it would be better short-term to focus on reopening Porgera. He said ‘[Reaching] an immediate and practical agreement between the Government, Barrick and partners over equity and recommencement will have a more immediate restorative effect.’ (The National)

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Amidst recent speculations about the future of the Panguna mine in Bougainville, the members of the Panguna Development Company Ltd, which includes landowner associations and community leaders and chiefs, have said in a statement that they have ‘made steps to begin dialogue with the Autonomous Region of Bougainville regarding the Panguna Mine.’

Michael Pariu, its Chairman, said: ‘Moving ahead in a unified way is crucial and any other prospective partners will need to work hard to win social licence in Bougainville. This is not something that can be claimed or granted by unrepresentative voices.

‘In considering this, we, the PDCL, 8 mine affected landowner associations and Community Governments see value in involving the new Bougainville Copper Limited in some capacity, given the company is now majority owned by the people of Bougainville and PNG.’ (PDCL)


PNG is gearing up to host its first ever virtual fashion runway from 23 to 26 March. The team behind PNG Fashion & Design Week Limited, which is led by organiser Janet Sios, will use different digital platforms to present the inaugural 2020/2021 Virtual Fashion Show. The theme for this year’s show is Strongim Kastom Wokabut, to encourage ‘the youths of today to be proud of their cultures and traditions,’ said Sios. The virtual runway will feature about 12 designers, a combination of established and emerging. (Post-Courier)


Passengers from Australia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Nauru, the Federated States of Micronesia, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Palau, and Niue are now allowed to fly to PNG; the flights, however, are only allowed to land at Port Moresby’s Jacksons International Airport.

Five Airlines have been green-lighted to provide the services including Air Niugini, PNG Air, Hevilift, Tropicair and Asia Pacific Airlines. Those arriving will need a covering letter, approved international air passenger travel, passport biodate page, work permit (if needed), visa, negative PCR test result and e-health declaration. Arrivals must be quarantined at a designated hotel in POM at their own cost. (CH-Aviation)


President Toroama and PM Marape in Arawa during their first Joint Supervisory Meeting. Credit: Prime Minister Office and NEC via Facebook

James Marape hailed last Friday’s Joint Supervisory (JSB) meeting with Bougainville’s President Ishmael Toroama as a ‘historic’ milestone in the Bougainvile-PNG relations; Toroama said it was an ‘honourable moment.’

During the meeting, Marape committed ‘towards fully retiring the K621 million owed to Bougainville in Restoration Development Grants (RDG)’ and reiterated his Government’s commitment to give a ‘separate K100 million every year to Bougainville in Special Infrastructure Funds.’


Palau’s President Surangel Whipps Jr has voiced its intention to leave the Pacific Islands Forum because Micronesia’s request for their candidate, Marshall Islands’ Diplomat Gerald Zackios, to take up the role of Secretary General of the Forum was ignored.

RNZ reports that Palau’s National Congress supports Whipps’s decision to withdraw from the Pacific Islands Forum.

Last week, former Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna was appointed Secretary General. (RNZ)

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