Prime Ministers Media Releases

PM MARAPE LAUNCHES SEALING OF MENDI-TARI ROAD

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says Southern Highlands and Hela have been producing oil and gas for Papua New Guinea since 1990, however, have not seen the Mendi-Tari section of the Highlands Highway being sealed.

An emotional PM Marape recalled one time in 2013 when his daughter, while they were driving this road, bluntly told him: ‘Daddy, you are Finance Minister and you haven’t fixed this road yet’.

“That’s the cry of many daughters and sons, from Kopiago all the way to Kaupena, where oil and gas flows out to sustain the country.

“So today, even if the rain comes down, I’m willing to stand in the rain to ensure that this project gets off the ground.”

The Prime Minister said this in Mendi on Thursday (January 27 2022) when doing groundbreaking for sealing of the Mendi-Tari Road at a cost of K300 million to be carried out over the next five years.

Construct Oceanic is working from Mendi Towards Margarima while Ipwenz Construction is working from Margarima to Ambua (outside Tari).

PM Marape said the two provinces, when they were one under Southern Highlands, “had carried the economy of the country since 1990 through Hides gas, Kutubu and Gobe oil fields”.

“Today, the road from Poroma to Kutubu, 103km, is unsealed,” he said.

“In 2015, I had to go and ask landowners at Hides to reopen the PNG LNG Project, after they shut it down because of no sealed road to Komo.

“This section (Mendi) to Hides Gas is unsealed.

“We have started to work on these over the last two years because the need and demand is there.


“It (Mendi-Tari) is a road that is necessitated by the (PNG LNG) project, and to give value and a token of appreciation, to the Hela and Southern Highlands people who’ve been good custodians of the projects that continue to bless our country.

“I thank the people for their patience for the last 30 years since oil and gas started flowing.

“I am very pleased to be here today to launch something that is very close to my heart.”

PM Marape appealed to the people living along the road, crucial for delivery of goods and services, not to cause trouble for users.

PM MARAPE REITERATES IMPORTANCE OF TECHNICAL AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has reiterated the importance of technical and vocational training in the country.

He said this today (January 25 2022) when announcing higher and technical education reform initiatives supporting the Papua LNG Project and other major upcoming developments in the petroleum and mining sectors.

These are:

  • Generational reforms in quality assurance, regulation and compliance;
  • Working closely with our development partners;
  • A National Skills Development Plan (NSDP) which was launched last Friday (January 21 2022);
  • National Labour Market Survey (NLMS);
  • Stronger engagement with business and industry; and
  • Industry-funded Higher Education Institution (HEI) places for eligible Grade 12 school leavers.

“Technical and vocational training is an integral part of the higher education sector,” PM Marape said.

“Technical and vocational training is also critically important in skills development and in fostering science, technology and innovation, driving the application, adaptation and use of new technologies.

“A skilled workforce with the capacity to replace current large numbers of migrant workers at the lower end of the PNG National Qualification Framework (NQF) has significant sustainable benefits to the PNG economy and community.”

PM Marape said the Government’s lead agency for higher and technical education, Department of Higher Education Research Science and Technology (DHERST), now had the regulatory power and oversight to provide a positive regulatory framework that reduced

barriers and changed the incentives for both the private sector and training providers.

“This is very timely as Government and Industry Partners collaborate on the successful rollout and implementation of the Papua LNG Project and related upscaling of other commercial projects across other industry sectors,” he said.

“Government regulation of the skills sector has traditionally focused on supply side technical training with a serious disconnect between the training undertaken and its relevance to industry.

“Thankfully, that ‘disconnect’ and out-dated regulatory approach is of the past.

“The recent transfer of Higher Education Institutions (HEI) to DHERST marks a significant turning point in the operation and performance management of these institutions as part of the Higher and Technical Education reforms.

“DHERST has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Total Energies Ltd, one of the world’s largest Energy and Petroleum companies, now pivoting strongly to renewable technologies.

“DHERST and Total Energies are collaborating to undertake joint activities and leverage their comparative advantage to develop solutions which create positive economic and social value for the people of Papua New Guinea.

“To develop and upskill Papua New Guineans, Total Energies are collaborating with DHERST on human resource initiatives that shape both the quality of education received and the capacity of the PNG’s workforce; as well as supporting Total Energies’ ability to access such skilled workers to support the human resource needs of the Papua LNG Project.

“Working across partner networks, there are mutual benefits for improving the productivity and competitiveness of PNG’s present workforce in ways that deliver economic and social value.

“It is Government’s hope that other large corporate and multinational companies, as well as SMEs, will follow Total Energies’ lead in partnering with DHERST across a range of education and research initiatives.”

 

WORK PROGRESSING ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF INDEPENDENT COMMISSION AGAINST CORRUPTION

Work is progressing into the establishment of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) with the second meeting for this year held by the ICAC Appointments Committee in Port Moresby yesterday, Wednesday 26 January 2022.

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape called attention to the absolute need for the Government to address the “cancer of corruption” in the country and hastened the Committee to immediately move the process along before Parliament rose for the National General Elections this year.

Hosted by the Department of Justice & Attorney General (DJAG) at its WNB Haus office and chaired by the Prime Minister, the meeting discussed the composition of the Commission, its check and balance and administrative mechanisms, its reporting structure, and various other administrative and legal requirements, including recruitment for its composition.

Prime Minister Marape also pointed out the Undisclosed Wealth Act and the Whistle Blowers Act – the supporting legislation that will assist to operationalise the work of the Commission when it is up and running.

A very stringent process has been agreed to by the Committee, details of which will be released at a later date when the Commission is ready to launch.

These efforts by DJAG continue at the back of a record number of legislation sponsored by the department and passed by Parliament last and this year which have contributed to an improvement in PNG’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) by Transparency International, report of which was released recently.

ICAC Interim Chairman Thomas Eluh, while providing a brief, said PNG has dropped from 142nd placing out of 180 countries to 126th place in the 2021 Corruption Perception Index.

"This is a massive drop in one year, highlighting the positive and strong efforts of the Marape Government in tackling rampant corruption in the country, " said Eluh.

"The full operationalisation of ICAC will further improve PNG’s grading on the CPI."

Prime Minister Marape encouraged the Appointment Committee, the ICAC team, DJAG and other integrity organisations to strive to reduce PNG's ranking on the CPI to double digits, adding that the 2021 CPI ranking is very encouraging for the Government and the country.

He also urged DJAG to use the three years before the country turned 50 in 2025 to strengthen the legislative and administrative mechanisms to “clean up the country” in time for the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

The meeting was attended by the Chief Justice Gibbs Salika, ICAC Interim Chairman Thomas Eluh, Attorney-General Dr Eric Kwa, and various key members of DJAG.

PM MARAPE SAYS K65.1 MILLION TO HELP STUDENTS IN 2022

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says the Government has allocated K65.1 million in the 2022 Budget to the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) to continue supporting students who need financial assistance.

He said this today (January 25 2022) when giving an update on higher education in the country.

“This Government is fully-committed to ensure quality education is accessed by all students in an affordable manner,” PM Marape said.

“The HELP is a signature programme introduced by my Government in 2019 when we took office, and was first implemented in 2020

“This is a loan scheme for the students who cannot afford school fees in tertiary institutions.

“It has been managed and coordinated by the Department of Higher Education Research Science and Technology (DHERST).

“The HELP remains a successful programme since its inception in 2020.”

PM Marape said the programme would generate its first dividends in 2022 when the first post-graduate students who had applied last year (2021), and would graduate this year (2022), commence repaying the loan.

“The dividends will be saved in what is called Higher Education Endowment Fund,” he said.

“This facility will generate return and in turn self-sustain the programme in the long run.”

PM Marape commended DHERST Acting Secretary Dr. Francis Hualupmomi, who under the political leadership of Minister Hon. Wesley Raminai, had introduced new mechanisms to transparently manage the HELP.

“Dr Hualupmomi has extended the HELP to post-graduate students in 2021,” he said.

“This decision will now result in payment of first dividends by the working class post-graduate students.”

PM Marape said another important positive outcome was an increase in spaces available for 2022 school-leavers.

“The number of spaces available for Grade 12 school-leavers in all tertiary institutions in the country has increased from 11,000 in 2021 to 15,171 in 2022,” he said.

“This is largely attributed to a participation of some new institutions in the higher and technical education system in the country.

“Technical education is another of my Government’s policy initiatives in skilling up the labour force for the upcoming extractive industry projects.”