In brief: International Monetary Fund approves Papua New Guinea’s request and other business stories


Papua New Guinea gets help from the International Monetary Fund, Minister for Petroleum explains P’nyang license and the ‘Whistleblower Act’ passes unanimously. The news you need to kickstart your week.

PNG’s Simberi Island.


St Barbara presented its December 2019 half-year report last week. The company declared a statutory profit after tax of US$39 million (K133 million) for the half year to 31 December 2019 and statutory profit after tax of US$39 million (K132 million) for the same period.


After a series of questions by North Fly, MP, James Donald, Minister for Petroleum Kerenga Kua explained in Parliament last week why the gas, oil and petroleum giant ExxonMobil engaged in discussions on the P’nyang project with an expired Petroleum Retention License (PRL). Kua said that under the current legislation holders of a Petroleum Development License (PDL) have the right over a license area even when the PRL has expired. (Post-Courier)


Oil Search’s Apprentice Program Class 2020. Credit: Oil Search

Oil Search’s Apprentice Program has welcomed its 2020 class. Seven men and eight women were selected out of 1,200 applicants and will begin the four-year training program with a one-year course at Malaysia’s Institut Teknologi Petroleum PETRONAS (INSTEP).


To guarantee delivery of the 2020 Budget, PNG requires an extra K3.8 billion loan. After giving his ministerial statement on the PNG economy Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey said that Prime Minister Marape, the Governor of the Bank of PNG, Loi Bakani, and himself have signed a request to apply for the International Monetary Fund’s Staff Monitored Program (SMP) to cover the billion-kina gap. ‘This is a historic request,’ said Ling-Stuckey. ‘There is no quick fix, it will take many years to get out of the economic hole that the government finds itself in.’

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On 20 February,  Managing Director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgiva, approved PNG’s request to join the SMP from 20 February 2020 to 30 June 2021.

In a statement she said: ‘The SMP is designed to support the authorities’ reform agenda. The SMP will be monitored on a bi-annual basis and is intended to assist the authorities in building a track record of implementation of a coherent set of economic and social policies that can facilitate a return to sustained growth with macroeconomic stability.’


EU Ambassador, H.E Sujiro Seam [left] and SPC’s Director-General Stuart Minchin. Credit: Pacific Community

The principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, Pacific Community, has received €3 million from the European Community to fund the project Public Health Surveillance Network Services to Strengthen Health Security in the Pacific. (Pacific Community)


The National Court in Madang has ordered the lifting of a fish ban imposed by the Madang Provincial Government since September 2019. The ban came after a slurry spill into coastal waters of the Rai Coast District, one of Madang’s six administrative districts (Post-Courier).


Parliament Haus. Credit: BAI

The fight against corruption in PNG is gathering momentum: the Whistleblower Act 2020 was passed unanimously in Parliament last week. The new legislation provides procedures for employees to reports suspected improprieties and protects employees from being penalised after reporting an issue. (The National)


Minister for Lands and Physical Planning, John Rosso, announced during a breakfast meeting that new strata title reforms are coming to PNG. The minister said that he hoped the new land reforms, which could hit Parliament in March this year, would help to provide some certainty for business and opportunities for locals to make their land more ‘bankable’. (Business Advantage PNG)


As part of Palau’s Responsible Tourism Education Act, the Pacific Nation has banned the use of certain sunscreens and skin products. Effective 1 January, stores selling ‘prohibited sunscreens’ will face bans of up to US$1,000 (K3,400) and tourists’ sunscreens could be confiscated upon entry to the country. (ABC)


International Container Terminal Services Incorporated (ICTSI) South Pacific Limited has entered into an agreement with two community landowner groups in Lae, Ahi Terminal Services and Labu Investment, to sell 30 per cent in ICTSI South Pacific subsidiary’s South Pacific International Terminal. Each landowner group is set to acquire 15 per cent. (Business World)


Photograph of the week

Prime Minister James Marape and his New Zealand counterpart, Jacinda Arden, at Government House. Credit: PNG Office of the Prime Minister

PNG’s 8th Prime Minister was invited to New Zealand to meet Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden – his first official visit to the Pacific nation. Marape and Arden’s agenda included discussion about diplomatic relations and political representation, immigration, defence and security cooperation, trade and investment cooperation and future cooperation between both countries, among other topics.

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