Monday, May 25, 2015

Low cost weekend packages to the Madang Festival

From Sir Peter Barter (someone who has faithfully promoted Beautiful Madang amidst the deafening howls of the Mad Dogs)

MTS owners of the Madang resort and Kalibobo Village are offering special packages to see the Madang Festival over the Queens Birthday Weekend to coincide with the  spectacular Madang Festival.
The packages offered start at just K699 per person from Port Moresby and K499 from Lae and Wewak, they include return airfares on Travel Air, three nights accommodation in budget rooms at the beautiful Madang Resort, buffet breakfasts, transfers, airport transfers and tickets to see the Madang Festival which promises to be one of the largest festivals in PNG with more than 40 sing sing groups, 20 bamboo bands, sporting events, canoe races and novelty events.
MTS executive Alex Paira said that the packages are made possible in conjunction with the cooperation of the Madang Resort and Travel Air which are expected to attract many residents in PNG to visit beautiful Madang and an affordable rate.  Mr Paira said that there is only limited space. Those interested in bookings should not hesitate and book immediately and take advantage of the special rates.   Apart from witnessing the Madang Festival, the Madang Resort is offering free use of Kayaks, sailing catamarans, tennis and sightseeing tours are available upon request.
Travel Air Depart Port Moresby on Friday afternoon and return to Port Moresby and Wewak on Monday.  There are special conditions which are available upon request and bookings can be made on line or email Tel 4241300 indicating Madang Festival Package.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Importance of tsunami awareness highlighted at PALM 7

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill  has joined fellow Pacific Leaders in commemorating the tragic loss of life that occurred following the Japan's East Coast Tsunami in 2011.
The commemoration was led by Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, near Iwaki in Fukushima Prefecture, as part of the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 7) being held in Japan.
O'Neill made special note of the resilience of the survivors in the town, and said they share a special bond with survivors of the Aitape Tsunami that occurred in Papua New Guinea 1998.
"Our thoughts and condolences go to the families who lost loved ones in the tsunami, and to the survivors who suffered as a result of the disaster," the Prime Minister said at one of the locations where the tsunami struck in Japan.
"While we can see the aftermath of the tsunami and the destruction that it leaves behind.
"Only those people who experienced a tsunami can fully understand the power and the horror of the waves as they destroyed this town in Japan and villages up and down the coast from Sissano Lagoon in Papua New Guinea.
"We remember the lives lost and the lives ruined by these terrible events."
 O'Neill said lessons have to be learned from disasters such as tsunamis, this includes clear planning and strategies implemented to preserve life and property.
"We cannot stop tsunamis but we can work together to develop ways to reduce their impact on communities.
"New technologies are making it easier to ensure that people can receive tsunami warnings and take action.
"People in places that are at-risk need to be ready to act at a moment's notice when a tsunami warning is issued.
"Public education is essential in saving lives in these disasters and Papua New Guinea supports Japan's proposal to have an annual United Nations Tsunami Awareness Day."
Floral wreaths were laid at the disaster area that is now undergoing extensive rehabilitation and defences established to protect against future tsunamis.
PALM 7 was hosted by Prime Minister Abe and the President of Palau, Thomas Remengesu Jr, in Iwaki on 22-23 May 2015.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

PM O’Neill highlights localising development program delivery

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill  has highlighted the importance of tailoring approaches to the implementation of development programs to work in local circumstances.
O'Neill made the comments in his first intervention at the Plenary Session of the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 7) that is taking place in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.
The first session of PALM7 highlighted approaches by countries to facilitate development in their context, and utilising multilateral forums to advance initiatives around the region.
The Intervention by the Prime Minister provided context to core development priorities in Papua New Guinea, and acknowledged Japan's support for Pacific development initiatives

Text of Intervention by Prime Minister O'Neill:

Development in our region is guided by sustainable principles and approaches that should be determined by our individual and collective responsibility.
The region recognises the changing global circumstances that highlight the fragility of the global ecosystem and the additional value it places on the environment, climate security, and food and water security.
Our region has the greatest potential, but we are also faced by some of the most significant challenges in the world today.
The SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action SAMOA Pathway expresses those challenges and priorities. 
We are grateful for the Government of Japan's action to extend support in the Pacific Region to encourage sustainable development.
The region's particular vulnerabilities and strengths are noted in the Sustainable Development Goals and post 2015 Development Agenda.
Too often there is a problem with the definitions used to set development targets.
As an example, the Millennium Development Goals should not be seen as a one-size-fits-all approach.
While Papua New Guinea continues to have challenges in meeting the MDGs as defined in the global criteria – but we are seeing real development in our country through the implementation of core development priorities.
These are in education, healthcare, security and infrastructure.
By providing free education for all children we have been able to increase access to education from just over one million children to nearly two million children in the last three years.
We are extending universal healthcare throughout our country, which has very remote areas, that are challenging to reach.
We have placed a priority on increasing spending on security, the judiciary and corrective services.  We are also building the infrastructure that our people and our SMEs need to trade and to travel.
These are the important elements in the development of our country, and in any country.
In the facilitation of development in any country, again, there is no-one-size-fits-all approach to development. 
I also want to take this time to acknowledge the Government of Japan for the pilot initiative on the Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Fund which addresses key environmental issues and the effects of climate change in the region.
This will indeed bring positive change to the lives of our people.
There is need to progress this pilot initiative, and I call for the Government of Japan to continue to support the PEC Fund and replicate it across the region, particularly those most affected.
We applaud regional programs in dealing with the causes and effects of climate change in our region.
We welcome Japan's Green Climate Fund and the fund that has been announced today.  This will help countries in our region improve energy efficiencies – particularly renewable energy sources.
Thank you.

NB: The conference is co-Chaired by the Prime Minister of Japan, Hon Shinzo Abe, and current Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, the President of Palau, Hon Thomas Remengesu Jr.

Friday, May 22, 2015

PM O’Neill’s first day in Japan prior to PALM 7

Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O'Neill has undertaken a range of high level government bilateral meetings and business consultations in Tokyo prior to the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 7) that begins I today in Japan.
Meetings with the leaders of Palau and Japan provided an opportunity to discuss significant bilateral issues, and with leading Japanese businesses the Prime Minister was provided insight to business and investment opportunities in PNG.
The first bilateral meeting of the visit was with the President of Palau, Thomas Remengesu Jr, where the two leaders discussed Pacific Islands Forum policy issues as Palau prepares to pass Forum Chair responsibilities to PNG.
"President Remengesu has provided clear leadership to the Forum policy agenda and I commend him for his work particularly in the area of marine conservation," the Prime Minister said.
"We look forward to Palau's attendance at both the Pacific Islands Forum Meeting in September, as well as 50 athletes coming for the Pacific Games in July."
Meeting with Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, over a working lunch, PM O'Neill said a number of issues were discussed that were of significant importance to both countries.
"In the areas of tourism, fisheries, development and disaster preparedness, our two countries have shared interests," PM O'Neill said.
"These are matters that will continue to evolve through discussions between our officials, and we expect to reach new agreements at our next meeting.
"Following Prime Minister Abe's visit to Papua New Guinea last year, he has invited me to return to Japan for a State Visit later this year.
"This will also provide an opportunity to bring a large number of Papua New Guinean businessmen and businesswomen to Japan to build on our established commerce and investment ties."
The commerce and investment opportunities in Papua New Guinea were also the subject of discussion with business representatives from companies that included JX Nippon Oil and Sojitz Corporation, Marubeni Corporation.
"There is already a lot of Japanese business interest Papua New Guinea and we want to expand that base.
"Japanese investment in our country continues to grow and this is employing more and more Papua New Guineans.
"There is also increased opportunity for Papua New Guinea exports to Japan.  As one of the strongest economies in the world, Japan is an important market for Papua New Guinea that we will continue to grow."
The first formal day of the PALM 7 Leaders Summit begins today. 

Bilateral meeting between Papua New Guinea and Japan Prime Ministers

Trade and cultural exchange between Papua New Guinea and Japan will continue to strengthen through the advancement of issues discussed by the Prime Ministers of the two countries at a meeting in Tokyo yesterday.
Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, met on the eve of the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM7) Summit in Japan. 
During the working lunch the Prime Ministers discussed issues that included tourism, fisheries cooperation, development projects and tsunami awareness.
"It was a pleasure to meet with my honourable friend, Prime Minister Shizo Abe, as he prepares to host the very important PALM 7 Summit," PM O'Neill said.
"Papua New Guinea and Japan have a very rich partnership that creates opportunity for trade and investment, and also tourism.
"We are looking to create new opportunities for Japanese people to visit Papua New Guinea for leisure and historical visits.
"Papua New Guinea is the final resting place for many Japanese war dead.  While this part of our shared history began in a terrible war, as countries that are at peace, we extend the courtesy for relatives of to pay homage to their loved ones and ancestors.
"With Prime Minster Abe we have discussed establishing further memorials at important locations in Papua New Guinea.
"In relation to broader tourism activities, we are discussing work for the upgrade and expansion of Tokoak airport.  We hope this would lead to the possibility of direct flights from Japan to Rabaul.
"This is a perfect tourism destination of Japanese people looking to enjoy relaxing holidays on our beaches and experiencing our culture."
The Prime Minister said Japan and Papua New Guinea have agreed to further cooperation in the fisheries sector. 
"Japan has tremendous opportunity for our fisheries sector and we are looking at options to improve this trade for the good of both countries.
"There are regional considerations we have to take into account in relation to fisheries and marine resources, so this is an ongoing discussion we will have with Japan as well as other island nations."
Japan has again pledged its support to development projects in Papua New Guinea that are helping to rebuild infrastructure and facilitate cultural engagement with Japan.
"I took the opportunity to express our appreciation to Japan for a range of projects that include national road improvements, agricultural capacity building and programs to deal with the affects climate change.
"Japan is providing 27 billion Yen (K600 million) to support ongoing infrastructure projects that include rebuilding work to increase the capacity of Nadzab Airport.
"A further 300 million Yen (K6.5 million) is being provided by Japan to assist in disaster management and preparation in Papua New Guinea.
"Japan has also allocated US$1.5 billion to the Green Climate Fund and is encouraging Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Island nations to utilise this facility in dealing with climate change."
During the meeting, Prime Minister Abe expressed his satisfaction with his State Visit to Papua New Guinea in 2014, and has invited Prime Minister O'Neill to undertake a State Visit to Japan where ongoing issues can be achieved and agreements reached.
The Prime Ministers discussed the possibility of holding the first Joint Committee meeting under the Japan-Papua New Guinea investment treaty as part of the program for this visit. In their discussion, Prime Minister O'Neill also pledged Papua New Guinea's support for Japan's proposal to establish an annual United Nations World Tsunami Day.
"Papua New Guinea fully supports the establishment of a United Nations World Tsunami Day on 25 November each year.
"This day would raise awareness amongst at-risk communities to prepare for the possibility of a tsunami and this will save lives.
"This day would also provide an opportunity to commemorate the lives lost to tsunami's in Japan, Papua New Guinea and right around the world."
The PALM 7 Leaders Summit will begin in Iwaki-city, Fukushima prefecture, today and conclude on 23 May.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

President Joko Widodo concludes State visit to Papua New Guinea

Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O'Neill has expressed satisfaction with the outcome of meetings that that took place with the President of Indonesia,  Joko Widodo, during his State Visit on 11-12 May.
During the two days of meetings, PNG and Indonesia discussed a range of issues that include increasing cross border cooperation for energy production and crime prevention, and deeper engagement in multilateral forums including the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
"We have agreed to provide Papua New Guinea's support for Indonesia having associate membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, which Papua New Guinea will gladly endorse and pursue with the other leaders of the Melanesian group.
"This will enable the five Melanesian provinces in Indonesia to participate in cultural, trade and investment engagement between our Melanesian countries and communities within the region.
"This will also enable Melanesian people to participate in sporting events and other activities of cultural significance.   
"We will further strengthen our own relationship with Melanesians of which 11 million are on the Indonesian side of our border.
"I again salute the President for his courage in ensuring that we take a step forward in the relationship on how we engage with the Melanesians in the Indonesian provinces.
"This is truly a unique understanding that has been reached between the two Governments."
Prime Minister O'Neill said there will be a further enhancement of cross-border trade that ranges from grassroots commerce and SME exchange, through to major utilities trade.
"We agreed to strengthen economic opportunities along the border region where Indonesia is investing in infrastructure that we would like to have access.
"This includes telecommunications, power generation and the road infrastructure that is being built and has a waiting market in Papua New Guinea."
The Prime Minister further highlighted engagement between the two countries in other multilateral forums.  This includes APEC where he said Indonesia was Papua New Guinea's biggest supporter in securing the opportunity to host APEC in 2018, and in ASEAN where Papua New Guinea has Special Observer status.
"Indonesia is also our number one supporter in our engagement in the ASEAN countries and the ASEAN region, and for this we are grateful."
The two countries also signed an MOU on Co-operation in Preventing and Combating Transnational Crime, and an MOU on Co-operation in the Field of Human Resource Development in Petroleum and Energy.

Monday, May 11, 2015

PM O’Neill launches Divine Word University online programmes

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has launched the Divine Word University's online programmes as well as officially opening a new academic building and the Alessandro Clinic at the Madang campus on Saturday.
The Prime Minister congratulated DWU for its online programme initiative, which he said would contribute and further enhance the delivery of education in Papua New Guinea.
"Education must be at the forefront of embracing technology and this is what Diving Word University is doing.
"Online programs will open up new opportunities for more students to study.
"Through education we can change the country and Divine Word is leading the charge."
In his address to students, faculty and people from Madang, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of education as a top priority for the government since coming to office.
"Each year our government spends more than 3 billion Kina on education alone.
"This is the most substantial investment in education in our history.
"Free education is not a new concept, it has been there since independence but no government has made a serious attempt in delivering the program for our children.
"It is the right for every child in this country to be educated and the only way is to make means available."
"If school fee is a problem then the government must take the problem away so we can get children into school."
The Prime Minister further highlighted the introduction of the 'tuition loan program' for students at tertiary institutions that comes into effect in 2016 academic year.
"Already K200 million has been made available for the tuition loan program to ease the burden of many parents who have difficulties in sending their children to university.
"Similar programs are well established in Australia and many developed nations and have proven to be a success."
"This programme provides the opportunity to ensure you have funding and access to better education opportunities."
The programme works by students taking a loan to complete their tertiary education, then over their working life repay the loan gradually without interest.
PM O'Neill reiterated that education is the key in building human resources in Papua New Guinea and a way forward for the country to achieve its millennium goals.
Accompanied by the Minister for Finance, James Marape and the Minister for Higher Education, Malakai Tarbar, the Prime Minister opened the new academic building, Alessandro Clinic and new staff houses at the campus.

PM O’Neill thanks public for welcoming APEC delegations

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has thanked members of the public for welcoming delegates from around the Asia-Pacific who attended the series of APEC meetings that took place in Port Moresby over the past week.  The Prime Minister further highlighted the relevance of APEC's work at the local level in Papua New Guinea.
As Papua New Guinea prepares to host the broader APEC process in 2018, PM O'Neill said the lead-in meetings provide the opportunity for the public to gain greater insight to APEC and for officials to refine logistics processes.
"The early APEC meetings give the public an opportunity for many people to get a better understanding of unique processes involved in hosting APEC meetings," the Prime Minister said at the conclusion of this week's meetings.
"There was also a great deal of interaction between delegates with business owners and the public, particularly relating to the meetings on women and the economy.
"Business relationships have been formed this week that will continue and stimulate further economic interaction.
"Through these meetings we also have the chance to refine logistical processes and enhance the capacity of officials who will interact with thousands of delegates before the end of 2018.
"Support to APEC meetings will continue to evolve and extensive training undertaken as we build the significant logistical and security operation that will be in place for 2018."
The Prime Minister said the benefits to the nation of hosting APEC are gained at a local level and this was demonstrated during the meetings in Port Moresby last week.
"While most media the attention is focused on the high level APEC events such as the Leaders' Summit, APEC is very much a working level process that gives our country access to knowledge, skills and technical expertise from around the Asia-Pacific.
"In a broad range of areas that includes agriculture, tourism, telecommunications and forestry, engaging through APEC gives Papua New Guinea direct access to information on practices that have worked in other countries. 
"We can then apply that adapt and apply that knowledge in our economy.
"Papua New Guinea has been stepping up policy and technical engagement in APEC over the past few years and is now playing a more active role in the APEC process than ever before."
The two meetings that were held in Port Moresby over the past week were the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy followed by the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Human Capacity Building.
The next round of APEC meetings will take place in the Philippines when senior officials meet ahead of the meeting of Trade Ministers on 23-24 May.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Post PNG pays first dividend in 26 years

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill  has called for Post PNG to continue to do their best to ensure Papua New Guineans in remote locations continue to have ongoing access to quality postal services.
Speaking to workers and management at the Konedobu Post PNG facility yesterday, the Prime Minister officially launched three new Post PNG products and witnessed the first dividend cheque being paid by Post PNG in more than 26 years.
PM O'Neill said postal services around the world are facing pressure as people turn to the Internet for sending correspondence, however, in Papua New Guinea the traditional letters and parcel service remains of vital importance and must be maintained.
"As people now tend to send their mail through email and online services, the first business to suffer is the postal services," the Prime Minister said.
"We all know the challenges that Post PNG has been going through, both in terms of restructuring itself, and trying to establish its business under these challenging circumstances.  It has not been easy.
"As government, we have support PNG Post adapting into this new business environment.
"This is why we placed additional capital into PNG Post, and as a result, can see that postal services and related businesses are starting to deliver better outcomes.
"It is pleasing to note that Post PNG is turning the corner and improving the quality of services that it provides to the people of Papua New Guinea."
The Prime Minister further asked Post PNG employees present at the ceremony to continue to work together in strengthening the level of service they provide to the people.
"We are very proud of what you do. 
"I know it is not easy being in a business that is facing such challenges, but thanks to your efforts, all of you working together as a team, you are delivering new results for PNG Post."
While at the Konedobu compound, the Prime Minister launched the business E-Commerce project, the 2014 Annual Stamp Album, opened an airfreighted bonded warehouse for storage of goods, and witnessed the presentation of the K300,000 dividend payment to the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC).