PARLIAMENTARY STATEMENT BY PRIME MINISTER HON. JAMES MARAPE, MP On Five Years of Government’s Achievement: 2019-2024


Mr. Speaker,

I rise to place on record the scorecard of my government’s achievements since we took office in 2019. It has been 5 years today. Some say that there have been no achievements. But I beg to differ. Our people must know what we have done and how we are progressing. What we have done is foundational. Its impact will come given time. We are dealing with issues in totality, not haphazardly, so as to achieve one outcome.

We are laying down strong building blocks under difficult circumstances. We inherited an economy that was managed poorly. We do not have short memories. We picked it up and looked at the fundamentals. We made strategic and decisive adjustments. We faced that COVID 19 pandemic head on. We are dealing with the Russia Ukraine ware and the effects of the Israel Syria war directly. 

The 5-Year Anniversary Report is to inform our people about what our government is doing. We are not a new government. Our policies when we took government are the same as those, we took to the 2022 National General Elections. Our people returned us to government with a resounding majority because the resonate with what we are doing. 

I will begin with the state of the economy. I will then work through progress in key economic sectors. Then the scorecard will demonstrate achievements in education, in health, in law and order, in infrastructure, in foreign policy, in climate change, in the environment, and then in our governance reforms fighting corruption. These building blocks tell us that we have turned the corner over the last five years.


Mr. Speaker,

Our people are doing it tough. Our families are struggling to put food on the table. Our parents are struggling to pay for the costs of their children’s’ health and education. Food costs and household good costs have increased quickly over the last two years. From available information, living standards today are 38 per cent lower than at Independence. Anyone would be unhappy with that.

As I set out our economic achievements, let me be clear that these are in the context of turning the ship MV PNG around. We were badly off course from 2012 to May 2019. We are now a long, long way from the destination we wanted. The trip to our destination will now take much longer and be much harder. This is why our people’s struggles continue for much longer than they should.

In this scorecard report, I will set out how we have turned the ship around.

We are now heading in the right direction.

Indeed, we have made good progress. We have made good progress despite the buffeting headwinds of the worst global pandemic in a century, the worst war in Europe since World War Two, and now the uncertainties in the Middle East once again pushing up prices and transport costs.

But as our struggling families know, we are still further away from our destination than we were in 2012, but we are much closer than we were in 2019.

Growth in our economy

The clearest demonstration of turning the ship around is the massive growth in the size of our economy.

PNG has recorded the biggest 5-year growth in its economy, from K79.6 billion in 2019 to K111.00 in 2023, and a forecasted K122.5 billion in 2024, a whopping K43 billion higher.

In 2023 GDP was K31.9 billion above 2018 level; in 2022 it was K31.8 billion above 2018 and in 2021 it was K12.2 billion above 2018. Each of these differences represents additional production, additional earnings that our economy makes each year above what we made in 2018. Over the whole 5 years of this government, it adds up to K127 billion in accumulative gains.

This has been driven by real improvements in the economy.  In the 4 years post-2019 non resource real growth has averaged 2.6%, despite COVID.  In the 4 years prior it averaged only 0.7%, and that’s without COVID.  Since COVID ended, in 2022 the first proper year of post-COVID comparison, non -resource growth was 5.2%.  We estimate this has stayed strong with growth of 4.5% and 4.7% in 2023 and 2024.

This combined extra economic surplus over five years provides new opportunities for jobs and investment. Specifically, for every Kina we have taken out in debt, our economy has increased more than four-fold!

For every Kina in debt, more than 80 per cent has gone directly in infrastructure investment. Investing with returns to the economy of over 300 per cent. And for every Kina in debt, we are financing at costs averaging less than half the costs of the former Government, despite increases in global interest rates.

This strategy of cheap, concessional financing, backed by credible economic policies, means interest costs are a billion Kina less a year than they otherwise would have been. We are re-investing this billion Kina in interest saving back into health and education and law and order and infrastructure. These are powerful gains for our people from our government’s better economic management.

These positive economic growth figures are not denying the struggles still facing our families. But they demonstrate that we have changed course. After heading a long way off to sea, at least we are heading towards our destination again. But still years of hard work to get back to where we were in 2012, and where we need to be as a responsive government to the woes of our people.

Living Standards

Living standards in PNG have turned the corner after hitting a low during the COVID-19 pandemic. Living standards have increased on average by K78 per person during this Government. This is based on the best available measure available in PNG – real non-resource GDP per person.

Under the years of the Grand Chief, our standards of living increased so that by 2012, they had reached K7,522 per person. By 2019, these living standards went backwards by an average of K124 per person by year. They had fallen by 12% down to K6,656 by 2019.

Since then, MV PNG has been turned around. Despite all the headwinds, we are now making progress. In 2024, living standards are estimated to have increased to K7,046 per person. But of course, this is still lower than we had in 2012. Despite the progress in recent years, we are still further away from our destination than we were in 2012.

By staying the course of good economic management, we are on track to exceed the 2012 figure by 2030. Just a demonstration of the hard yards that must be done. Steady progress over many, many years is required to better meet the needs of our struggling families. We must stay on track.

Cost of living pressures

Our people continue to face cost of living pressures. Since Independence, these cost-of-living pressures have kept going up. This happens all around the world, and is known as inflation.

Over the last five years, PNG’s costs of living pressures have been lower than in earlier years. PNG’s cost of living pressures has also been much lower than the rest of the world.

More specifically, since Independence, inflation has averaged 7 per cent a year. This means that a K3.50 ten-kilogram bag of rice in the 1980s now costs K55. We took government when inflation was an average of 5.3% a year.

We have reduced inflation further down to 4.2% a year. Indeed, last year, overall cost of living increases was 2.5%. This is the lowest cost of pressure increase since 2007. And the latest report on inflation for the March quarter 2024 finally indicates we had negative inflation. Overall, prices moving backwards just a little bit.

Social media does not talk about these low cost of living pressure outcomes relative to PNG’s history, or even the rest of the world. They claim we don’t care and we don’t know. But we do know.

We know that across the country, in the eight towns where the National Statistics Office collects price information across many stores every three months, that on average, rice prices have gone up by over 10% during the last year. In some places they have gone up more, in some less, but an average of just over 10%.

Why is this? Some blame it on depreciation. But we know the primary reason is a 33% increase in international rice prices. The real solution is to grow more rice in this country. And we have been working on this, as part of our agriculture plan to increase domestic rice production.

And for balance to all those on social media, we should also be talking about the reduction in cooking oil prices of 13% last year. We should also be talking about the 20% reduction in mobile phone charges brought about by improved competition between our telcos.

We should also be talking about the school project fee subsidy that reduced our education costs. We should be talking about reducing taxes for everyone that earned over K480 per fortnight. We should be talking about the work of the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission which has been checking on stores and cracking down on many prices gauging practices.

We should be talking about our Household Assistance Packages from 2022 to 2024 that has provided a record K1,597 million in targeted assistance to families, such as tax cuts and school project subsidy relief and lower fuel excises and GST during the peak of the post-Ukraine strike.

No other Government in our history has responded with such a comprehensive level of support to our families for cost-of-living pressures.

Fiscal Repair

This Government has a very credible program of fixing our budget deficits and then paying down debt. We have a 13-year Budget Repair Plan which is being delivered year after year.

In 2019, we had to quickly secure additional financing to cover the K2.3 billion budget deficit blow out that was exposed through the Due Diligence process. It then delivered nearly a billion Kina in cuts to the GoPNG budget while allowing concessional loan projects to proceed.

In 2020, after the global COVID-19 pandemic reduced government revenues by K2.5 billion, GoPNG expenditure was held to the initial budget forecast. This was despite absorbing K508 million in COVID-19 direct expenses, possibly the only country in the world to exercise such fiscal discipline.

In 2021, the fiscal deficit outcome of K6.496 billion was below the K6.613 billion forecast at Budget time, further demonstrating a record of fiscal repair.

In 2022, the budget deficit outcome of K5.854 billion was once again below the budget forecast of K5.985 billion.

In 2023, the deficit forecast was dropped by a billion Kina to K4.985 billion, this was reduced to K4.935 billion in the Supplementary Budget, and the recent 2023 Final Budget Outcome was even lower at K4.804 billion.

In 2024, the deficit forecast has once again been dropped by a billion Kina to K3.984 billion.

Year after year of responsible budget repair, our deficit has more than halved as a share of the economy from 8.9% in 2020 down to 3.2% in 2024.

PNG’s rate of budget repair is ranked in the top 10% of countries in the world. Getting the right balance between repairing the budget, and not causing unnecessary hardship to our families by cutting even harder.

There were those in 2019 that doubted we were up to the task of budget repair. Year after year the actions on budget repair speak for themselves.

Importantly, performance to date provides credibility for the continuing actions under the 13-year fiscal plan, reaching the target of a budget surplus by 2027, and the option for the 12th Parliament to repay all government debt.

Our debt to GDP ratio has already peaked in 2021 at 52.6%. This decreased to 52.0% in 2023, and is on target to fall to under 35% by 2029. And for anyone suggesting that we should also include debt held by our State-Owned-Enterprises, usual global practice would be to look at net debt – so allowing for both debts, but also assets. Our SOEs have large assets, such as our shareholding in the PNG LNG project, or Ok Tedi, or the value of our ports etc. All reports indicate SOE assets exceed their debts. Including SOEs would include our debt position. We are looking at options of doing this.

Foreign Exchange Shortages

The Government knows that foreign exchange shortages are the greatest barrier to doing business in PNG. The problems have become entrenched since a disastrous decision in 2014 to artificially inflate the value of the Kina by 20%.

The Government acted by identifying that a key source of the problem was. This had to be corrected as a critical first step. The Government established in early 2021, an Independent Advisory Group to recommend changes to the Central Banking Act. Its report later that year led to major changes in the Central Banking Act that were unanimously passed by Parliament.

The greatest symbol of progress is having Elizabeth Genia as head of our Central Bank. A woman to provide a vision for young girls to follow. For anyone that has listened to her, she is clearly acknowledging that there is a foreign exchange problem. And now there is acknowledgement of a problem, actions are underway.

PNG’s international foreign exchange reserves are at near record levels, reaching US Dollars 3,956 million at the end of 2023. This is enough to cover 10 months of imports, well above the international benchmark of 3 to 6 months.

BPNG is using this high level of reserves, supported by the Government’s financing program, to inject more foreign exchange into the market. Indeed, in 2023, BPNG injected USD1.6 billion into the foreign exchange market – worth nearly K6 billion.

This is a massive level of funding support in just 2023 to solve the foreign exchange shortages – almost equivalent to our combined budgets in health and education of K6.2 billion in 2023.

By the end of March 2024, outstanding foreign exchange orders more than two months old for traded goods had fallen to K46 million. This is a much better result than expected. We are on track to get rid of backlogs on foreign exchange orders on traded goods by 2025, on dividends by 2026, and return to full Kina convertibility in 2027.

Jobs and Incomes

Supporting the growth agenda, with its target of real growth in the non-resource economy of at least 5% per annum, is a more specific program focused on jobs and incomes.

There has been 7% growth in Formal Sector employment since the impacts of the Global COVID-19 pandemic. After a 10% fall in the BPNG index of Formal Sector employment from 175 in 2014 down to 158 in 2018, and then down to 153 during COVID-19, employment growth has resumed and the index has increased to 164, a gain of 7%.

This is only formal sector employment in the private sector. This only covers one in twenty jobs. Most of our jobs are not nine to five jobs. Most of our jobs are the work done such as my mother selling goods at markets to raise Kina for our family. This is known as the Informal Sector. However, we have little information on how that sector is performing because they do not complete business surveys, and they usually don’t pay taxes or superannuation. We only collect figures on the informal sector during the census. One of our priorities going forward, as part of our jobs and incomes strategy, is to get better data on overall employment.

We do know however that our infrastructure programs are creating tens of thousands of jobs. We do know that we are employing more teachers and health workers and police while cutting back on administrative positions in Waigani. And we do know that we are creating new options for our youth in seeking work in other countries, earning higher incomes, supporting their families, and returning home to invest in small businesses. Over 3,000 have been employed under our labour mobility programs and this program will expand initially to over 8,000 by 2025.

Mr. Speaker,

State-Owned Enterprises

This Government has delivered one of the most transformational State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) restructure programs, since the original corporatization of our assets by the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) Act in 2002. This has triggered a policy-based loan from the Asian Development Bank worth K1.8 billion, which underpins the reform efforts across the SOEs.

These reforms are to improve the SOEs’ overall contract investments which currently stands between K300,000 and K10 million. It has resulted in increased annual financial contributions of the SOEs in 2023 with K643 million in Community Service Obligations, K1.2 billion in Government Tax, and K78 million in Dividend Payments and increased employment base of 6,379 Papua New Guineans.

Mr. Speaker,

Mining Sector

The New Porgera Project has commenced on 23 December 2023. We are proud of the gains achieved for the country, and the outcomes can only ramp up henceforth with steady global world prices for gold. For Wafi-Golpu, the Mining Development Contract is being negotiated. MRA is now in the process of preparing for the Community Development Agreement (CDA) consultations by second quarter of 2024, to be followed by the granting of SML 10. With regards to Ok Tedi, the Project CDA will shortly go before the National Executive Council (NEC) for final endorsement.

On Papua LNG, initial consultations have commenced with TotalEnergies and ExxonMobil in 2023. The Government Team is working on all regulatory approvals. The Final Investment Decision (FID) has been deferred to late 2025 because of changing EPC market dynamics and the climate change debate. But the commitment by the developer is as solid as ever.

Negotiations on financial terms and conditions are underway for Pýnyang project. The timing is right to progress work on the Pýnyang, Papua LNG, Elk and other gas finds with the enactment of the Sectoral Petroleum Content Plan and Domestic Obligation. An exciting prospect, Wildebeest is on the landscape since late 2023.


Mr. Speaker,

In forestry, we have enacted laws that will establish the State Marketing Agency (SMA) and Purchase Option (PO) to buy logs from permitted operators. This cuts down on other unfair trade practices, especially transfer pricing and tax evasion. Downstream processing is the end game out of all of this.


The National Fisheries Authority (NFA) has undertaken significant organizational reform. It’s policies now aims at developing the PNG Fisheries Sector into a globally competitive, diversified and value adding industry. It continues to be a significant revenue generator and has contributed a total of K5.4 billion since 2010, with K1.7 billion paid as dividends. With the Non-Tax Revenue Administration Act (2022) now in effect, K203.9 million has already been collected for 2023.


We continue to place emphasis on agriculture. We must meaningfully empower and engage our rural people. Output contributions to the national economy improved by 35.5% between 2018, 2019 and 2022, and sector performance for 2023 remains steady despite disruptions impacting the global and domestic economy.

Production outputs from major crops during 2023 have remained comparatively flat over the five years but poised to increase as new crop areas established during recent years and rehabilitated areas come into production.

The livestock industry is being revived with efforts placed into refurbishing abattoirs around the country including Livestock Development Corporation (LDC) properties to increase stock, under the National Livestock Development Program, 2024-2033.

There are important legislative reviews and tasks in the oil palm and rubber industries, and policy reviews in the coffee space, that are set to improve and increase production in those key industries.

Mr. Speaker,

Climate Change

We have taken important legislative, policy and regulatory actions in making sure that we address climate change issues, and uncover opportunities and scope for international collaborations in addressing issues going for the future. We have pushed strong international advocacy work, established legal and policy frameworks, and guidelines which will help us pursue important work in carbon trading. We have attracted strong collaborative partnership from the French Government, worth over US$100 million.

Conservation and Environment

Our government successfully enacted the 2024 National Protected Areas Act. National Waste Management Policy has been completed and will be launched when NEC endorses it. Work is in progress to develop the legislation on National Waste Management and a Bio-Waste Energy Development Program for the country.


Mr. Speaker,

Over the four (4) years we delivered key transport and infrastructure projects under the Phase 1 of Connect PNG Road Infrastructure Program (2020-2026); financed and delivered key On-grid and Off-grid projects such as Ramu, Daru, Finschhafen, Maprik, Vanimo, Aitape, Buka and Arawa Grids under the National Electrification Roll-out Program (NEROP); financed and commenced the upgrade of Ramu Transmission Grid, Kimbe Electrification Project, Port Moresby Grid and Markham Valley Solar Project under the PNG Electrification Program (PEP).

We have completed Tranche 1 of the Sustainable Highlands Highway Investment Pro- gram (SHHIP), successfully delivered the Civil Aviation Development Investment Pro- gram 1 (CADIP 1). Maintained and upgraded 72 airstrips (80%) under the Rural Airstrip Rehabilitation Program. We have signed the MOU on US$580 million (K1.2 billion) to fund the 30-year Port Infrastructure Development Program, successfully completed the 2015-2022 State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) Reforms, established the National Energy Authority, and passed the PNG Digital Government Act 2022.

Connect PNG

Under the Medium-Term Development Plan IV (MTDP IV) 2023 – 2027, the Connect PNG program now includes the development of other enabling economic infrastructure in maritime, aviation, electrification, information and communication technology and water and sanitation.

This is to improve PNG’s aging and poor infrastructure and create a properly integrated economic infrastructure system to improve connectivity and improve services such as health, education and transform PNG into a Middle-Income Economy by 2030.

In 4 years, a total of K4.5 billion was spent, including K700 million in payment arrears for outstanding contracts. About 2,400 km of the existing National Highways, 400 km of Missing Links, 4,450 km of the Provincial and District Roads have been rehabilitated.

These include 93 bridges on National Priority Highways and 70 bridges on rural roads. As part of K4.5 billion expenditure, K3 billion worth of contracts have been awarded to contractors for the construction of the Missing Links and Existing Roads under the Phase 1 of the program in Morobe, Gulf, Central and Madang provinces connecting the Highlands Highway and expected to be completed by June 2026.

In particular, a total of 375.97 km of road contracts have been awarded for the East- West Highway, Halimbo to Koroba Road in Hela, Ramu Highway, New Britain Highway, Magi Highway and Sepik Highway. Overall, the program has achieved 20% of the 50% planned targets, and whilst 30% or K2.4 billion worth of works remain outstanding under Connect PNG Phase 1.

Table below shows the status of the key national road projects.

CorridorContract Value (K’m)Value Work completed (K’m)% Progress to-dateValue of Work Remaining (K’m)% Balance Remaining
Momase1,316.6631,045.76838.1%319.89561.9 %
Highlands1,492.251,326.45235.5 %1,865.79454.5 %
Trans- National170.06753.41831.4 %116.64968.6 %
Southern495.73212.31442.8 %284.41657.2 %
New Britain147.42737.08425.1 %110.77774.9 %
Bougainville470.427359.30476.4 %111.12323.6 %
Manus115.98838.59933.3 %77.38966.7 %
Northern51.3137.45914.5 %43.85485.5 %
Buluminski50.9498.02115.7 %42.92884.3 %
Others255.314138.57254.3 %116.74245.7 %
Overall5,166.5582,077.99137 %3,088.567 

We still have K4.5 billion worth of ongoing capital works which are progressing slowly due to prolonged delays and an additional funding of K3.2 billion is required to meet the K7.98 billion Phase 1 investment target.

We have invested between K400 million to K500 million annually over the past 4 years to upgrade the Rural Roads in 62 of the 89 districts to compliment developments on National Roads.

PNG Ports 30-Year Infrastructure Development Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker,

The Australian Government is providing a K2.5 billion worth of projects for PNG Ports Limited to support its 30-year Port Infrastructure Development Program. We have invested K40 million to develop and upgrade maritime infrastructure to open up missing links and promote connectivity in the Maritime Transport Sub-sector, and a further K48 million for re-development of 4 major wharves which included Vanimo, Wewak, Kikori and Manus.

National Shipping Services Program (NSSP)

In 2021, we established National Shipping Service Program to help improve shipping services to fifteen (15) maritime provinces. A total of K250 million was appropriated to acquire 10 vessels to service the three maritime regions of Momase, Southern and New Guinea Islands, 15 provinces and 37 districts commencing with acquisition of first two vessels for Talasea and North Bougainville districts.

This includes the Inland Waterways Program with a K10 million allocation to provide easy access for transportation between the remote and inland areas in the country. This program is expected to be enhanced in 2025.

Airports and Rural Airstrips

In 2019, we partnered with Japan (JICA) and Asian Development Bank under the Civil Aviation Development Program (CADIP) and rehabilitated and upgraded major airports. JICA funded and built the K578 million Nadzab Tomodachi International Airport. CADIP1 under ADB upgraded Momote, Vanimo, Kavieng, Mendi, Tari, Wapenamanda, Madang, Wewak, Hoskins, Gurney, and Mt Hagen at a total cost of K1.6 billion in 2022. We embarked on an Aviation Modernization Program which is aimed at constructing critical communications, navigations, surveillance, and Air Traffic Management Infrastructure. We have successfully rehabilitated and restored over 100 airstrips under the Rural Airstrip Rehabilitation Program and aim to deliver 500 airstrips by 2027.

Mr. Speaker,

Air Niugini Re-fleet Exercise

We are re-fleeting Air Niugini to compliment the upgrading of our major airports. We are replacing the aging Fokker 100 aircrafts with much bigger and more economical Boeing aircrafts. We have spent US$300 million (K1.1 billion equivalent) and purchased 6 Airbus A220 for Air Niugini over the past 2 years to fully boost and improve its services by 2025. This re-fleet exercise is expected to be completed and launched during PNG’s 50th Independence Anniversary on 16th September 2025.

National Electrification Roll-Out Program (NEROP)

Under the National Electrification Roll Out Program we aim to reach 70% of the households by 2030. We have commissioned Dirio Power, launched the Edevu Hydropower Plant in 2023, and are working on linking the facilities in Highlands, Lae, Madang and Sepik to the main Ramu Power Grid. Similarly, we are setting up higher voltage 132KVA lines from Mt Hagen to Lae to increase the capacity and resilience of the Mt Hagen to Hides Grid (Ramu 2), while provide opportunities for private sector engagements in this space.

PNG Electrification Program (PEP)

Mr. Speaker,

The PNG Electrification Program was announced on the margins of APEC 2018 by Australia, Japan, United States of America and New Zealand, aimed to help connect the rural communities with clean, affordable and sustainable electricity supplies. It includes upgrading electricity grids, capacity building and strengthening policy and regulatory practices in the Energy Sector. More than K375 million have been expended in various critical projects including, six small scale renewable Off-grid projects, Tsak valley electrification, extension of existing grid transmission and distribution lines for 5,500 households and businesses in Enga Province, Ramu Grid Transmission Reinforcement, upgrade of existing grid of 140 km transmission line and new sub-stations in 2021. It also includes critical components in institutional capacity building for PNG Power.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Services

We are focused on updating policies and laws in the ICT Sector. In 2019, we shifted our focus to digital transformation and established the ICT Sector Roadmap and Digital Government Policy in 2020, followed by the enactment of Digital Government Act in 2022 to regulate the implementation of this roadmap. This attracted significant investment into the sector from 2020. We established the 4,700 km Coral Sea Cable System, a high-capacity fibre optic cables connecting PNG with Australia and the Solomon Islands at the total cost of K480 million and invested K879 million into developing the domestic Kumul Submarine and the LNG Fibre Optic Cables at the total cost of K157 million.

Telikom PNG and Bemobile merged in 2021 and Telstra and Vodafone came on shore as a result of liberalisation in the market, and will further lowering delivery costs of digital services. Our plans are now to modernise and increase productivity with Telikom PNG partnering with Huawei Technologies to establish 15 data centres across PNG.

We are strong on managing cyber-security. We created a National Cyber Security Policy in 2021 to protect Government systems, businesses and citizens from cyber threats. Our infrastructure investments over past four years have contributed to 40% reduction in wholesale pricing of internet and communication services in the country. ICT developments has contributed 2.5%, 3.6%, 4.0%, 4.0% and 3.6% to the growth of the economy for five years running since 2019.

Water and Sanitation

In Water and Sanitation, we want to build partnerships with landowners and provincial governments to deliver improved water supply and sanitation services. In 2023, we successfully delivered a National Water and Sewerage Infrastructure Development Program and a District Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Program to be implemented at the cost of K550 million and K210 million respectively, over the next 5 years.

International Relations

Mr. Speaker,

We have the most robust international engagement programs of any government in our history. We have hosted various Heads of Governments and Dignitaries from Australia, India, France, Japan, China, the United States of America and Hungary. My engagement with them has resulted in mutually beneficial outcomes. We open up market access, create opportunities for education, and explore financing opportunities for projects. PNG has now formally joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) based in Beijing and can now draw on this financial institution for assistance to develop infrastructure.

In 2023, I embarked on Official visits to Australia, New Zealand, China, Indonesia as well as undertook multilateral engagements with the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu and addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York. I also participated in Virtual Meetings on Climate Change round-table with the Prince of Wales, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting with Japan including the Political Dialogue Forum where I was the interlocutor on the issues relating to the perceived unfair appointment of the Secretary General of the PIF Secretariat.

Recent Visit to Australia from 07 – 09 February 2024

Mr. Speaker,

Early this year, I was the Guest of Government to Australia. It provided the opportunity for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and I to reaffirmed our commitment on the implementation of Comprehensive Strategic Economic Partnership as well as addressing issues of mutual and regional concerns pertaining to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). It was an opportunity for me to deliver a Parliamentary Statement to the Australian Parliament on behalf of all of us.

Visits by World Leaders to Port Moresby in 2023

We played host to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 14 other Leaders from the Pacific Islands Forum countries and territories for the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC). We also hosted the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, British Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, President Djoko Widodo, and President Emmanuel Macron.

We have massive gains in our Indian and US interactions. President Widodo signed a Grant Assistance Agreement worth K55 million to enhance the existing Intensive Care Unit and the Mortuary at the Port Moresby General Hospital. President Macron offered development assistance for various projects including the Managalas Forest Conservation Project in Northern Province.


Mr. Speaker,

Early Childhood Education (ECE) Policy, 2020

The Early Childhood Education (ECE) Policy (2020) in Papua New Guinea marks a significant milestone in the country’s Education Sector. One of the primary goals of the policy is to ensure increased access to high-quality ECE education. The success of the 2020 ECE Policy in Papua New Guinea hinges on the collective efforts of local communities and all levels of government.

Government Tuition Fee Subsidy Policy (GTFS)

The Government continues to implement the Tuition Fee Subsidy Policy (GTFS). The 2023 Budget Appropriation is K766 million, with K396 million released in the first six months of 2023. There are challenges in timely release of GTFS funds and payments to schools, insufficient funding for infrastructure development projects, and insufficient funding for supplies and curriculum delivery.

K851.1 million was allocated for 2024, with K160 million for school project fees subsidies. This amount covers 2.4 million students in more than 13,097 registered schools receiving GTFS grants, and 62,822 teachers. Total Quarter 1 fees of K431,032,842.85 have been remitted to schools. Quarter 2 fees of K210,678,962.57 million was also released.


National Schools of Excellence (NSoE) Police 2020

The National Schools of Excellence (NSoE) Policy 2020 aims to provide high-quality education for young Papua New Guineans, producing intelligent students capable of entering tertiary institutions and seeking employment in their respective fields.

The STEM curriculum was developed and aligned with PNG’s universities’ STEM-related programs/courses. In 2022, 220 STEM students graduated, and 190 students were selected in local universities. Our students in the US are doing very well. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Chinese scholarships is being developed, with the Chinese Embassy supporting the initiative. We are proud of this achievement.

Flexible Open Distance Education (FODE) Reform and Expansion

Mr. Speaker,

The Flexible Open Distance Education (FODE) Reform and Expansion initiative in Papua New Guinea represent a significant stride towards increasing learning opportunities and fostering educational inclusivity. Numbers don’t lie. In 2020, FODE enrolled 35,513 students; by 2021, this figure had risen to an impressive 53,436 students, and further growth ensued in 2022, reaching a remarkable 82,877 students.

Exit of Outcome Base Curriculum to adoption of Standard Based Curriculum (SBC)

The transition from the Outcome-Based Curriculum to the Standard-Based Curriculum (SBC) marks a significant milestone in Papua New Guinea’s ongoing efforts to enhance its education system. We are working hard to deliver a quality curriculum and support arrangements for our schools and our children.

1-6-6 School Restructure

Under the 1-6-6 School Restructure, the broad approach is to review the Teaching Services Act and the TSC Act. These acts, along with ongoing budgetary support and the pursuit of organizational and technological development, collectively contribute to the country’s commitment to providing quality education and sustaining a thriving teaching workforce.

National Library Archives and Records Services 10 Year Strategic Plan 2016 – 2025

The National Library, Archives and Records Services’ (NLARS) 10-Year Strategic Plan for 2016-2025 stands as a testament to Papua New Guinea’s commitment to broadening access to information, preserving cultural heritage, and fostering educational growth. We are building libraries and archives in Gulf Province (Kerema) and Morobe Province (Lae). Further expansion is planned, with the construction of the NCD Repository also on the horizon.


Mr. Speaker,

Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)

The Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), as directed by the NEC Decision 179/2019, is a pivotal initiative in Papua New Guinea’s commitment to expanding access to higher education.

In the initial half of 2023, HELP processed K36.68 million in loans, benefiting 6,801 students. This is a significant 56% increase in both student enrolment and the total value of loans disbursed. The 2024 Budget appropriation for HELP is K52 million. HELP is extended to post-graduate students commencing this year, 2024.

Higher & Technical Education Capacity Expansion for Access

In higher and technical education, as of 2023, there were 19,459 spaces available across all of the HEIs. This is an increase from 15,141 in 2022. The projected number of available HEI spaces in 2024 is 22,846. The number of available spaces at the teachers and technical colleges since 2019 has been maintained at the 1,000 benchmark and above. The projections for 2024-2027 indicates that the number of available spaces at the teachers and technical colleges will increase.


Mr. Speaker,

TESAS has demonstrated consistent growth in student awards and funding allocation. In 2019, 11,281 students were awarded K70 million. By 2023 the total number of university students on TESAS scholarships was 9,863 and non-university (colleges) students was 8,597. By 2024, the number of students awarded has increased to 19,600, with a total funding of K83 million.

Mr. Speaker,

Higher and Technical) Education Sector Reform -NEC Decision No. NG25/2017

The Higher Education Sector Reform represents a significant step to modernizing and enhancing the governance of Papua New Guinea’s higher and technical education sector. It is poised to revolutionize higher and technical education in Papua New Guinea, fostering an environment conducive to academic excellence and preparing graduates to meet the demands of a dynamic workforce.


Investment in New Health Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker,

Investing in new health infrastructure has been a top priority for our government over the past five years. Our goal is to ensure that every Papua New Guinean can access a health center within an hour by any mode of transport, as outlined in the Medium-Term Development Plan IV (MTDP IV).

We have rebuilt the Boram Hospital, a state-of-the-art facility built by the Government at a cost of K200 million. We have completed the new Enga Provincial Hospital in Wabag, Enga Province. We have completed the Angau Memorial Hospital Redevelopment with the help of the Australian Government.

Health Services Sector Development Program (HSSDP): Supported by the Asian Development Bank, this program has completed 41 health facilities, including community health posts, district hospitals, and health centres.

Community Health Posts: Posts are now in locations such as Bulolo, Watut, Mumeng, Umba in Menyamya, Mutzing in Markham, West Taraka Poly Clinic, Ten Siti Level Hospital in Lae, Gaulim in East New Britain, and Bitakora in East New Britain.

District Hospitals: Ambunti and Pomio District Hospitals are completed, with Bogia under construction and Buin District Hospital to commence soon, funded by a US$21.6 million grant from the Australian Government.

Health Centers: Gloucester in West New Britain Province, Agevairu in Central Province, and Koroba in Lake Kopiago, with construction set to begin in Maramuni.

Cancer Services: The PMGH Cancer Centre is on track to be completed in 2025. Additionally, ANGAU Memorial Hospital has renovated its existing Cobalt 60 Source Centre facility and upgraded its security in anticipation of new cobalt radioactive isotopes arriving in 2024.

Mr. Speaker,

The PMGH Cancer Centre represents the focus of tertiary health care that our government wants to deliver to our people. The project financing and construction were divided into three phases:

Phase 1: Renovation of the existing stores and building for the Cancer Centre Treatment facility and construction of the Cancer Bunkers at the value of K6, 886,220.03 million, completed in December 2020. The procurement of a Cancer Radiotherapy Machine was done at the cost of K7.44 million ($2,006,300.00 US), which was assembled and installed in 2023.

Phase 2: Construction of structures is 98% complete due to the integration of additional structures for the Brachytherapy Suite. This phase is funded by Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited at a sum of K7, 362,860.92 million.

Phase 3: Construction of engineering services including the radiations safety shielding is going through the procurement phase. It will cost K55.0 million and is already made available to PMGH.

Mr. Speaker,

Health Workforce: The National Health Plan (NHP) 2021-2030 strategy is to double the workforce from 11,000 to 23,000 by 2030.

Currently, only 18,929 exist as staff on strength (meaning they are actually working) whilst we have a total of 13,135 vacancies which have persisted for several years.

We are addressing serious health sector capacities. The immediate priority for recruitment going forward this year 2024 is to recruit 7,130 vacancies of identified clinical positions (Doctors, nurses, CHWs, and Allied Health Workers). The balance of 7,388 will be prioritized in the coming years.

Medical Supplies Reform: Medical Supply procurement and distribution remains a persistent challenge for the Government and the country. We have progressed the implementation of the Medical Supplies Reform as per the Recommendations of Public Accounts Committee and Special Audits Report. We have to date progressed and achieved the following key milestones:

  • We have instituted the establishment of a Steering Committee and Secretariat to coordinate this reform agenda and report on a regular basis.
  • We have done major improvements in warehousing facilities and stock management at the central, provincial, and hospital levels. The Rehabilitation of the 4 Regional Area Medical Stores were completed in 2022, with ongoing upgrades of Provincial Transit Medical Stores with 12 fully rehabilitated and in operation.
  • Inventory Management Software (mSupply) has been installed at all Area Medical Stores and is in progress to roll out to all Public Hospitals. This will provide data to inform procurement and pipeline management.

Mr. Speaker,


Our government took a decisive step by passing the Organic Law on Independent Commission Against Corruption (OLICAC) in 2020, which provides a robust legal framework to combat corruption. The ICAC is fully operational, with the appointment of a commissioner and two Deputy Commissioners. Legislative amendments are being undertaken to strengthen our anti-corruption framework, including the Whistle-blowers Act, the Un- explained Wealth provisions under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), and the OLICAC itself.

Implementation of Bougainville Post-Referendum Priorities

On Bougainville, the biggest achievement is to conduct the referendum. The Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA), enshrined in our National Constitution under Part XIV and the Organic Law on Peace Building in Bougainville, mandates the Bougainville Referendum. The National Government and the ABG have been engaged in post referendum consultations. The recent Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) has agreed to the engagement of a Moderator to deliberate on the conflicting opinions of both governments in deliberations of the results of the Referendum.

Mr. Speaker,


Our government is working on key policies within the social sector including the National Social Protection Policy, Women & Gender Equality Policy. Other policies include: National Sports Policy (2020-2050), National Youth Policy (2020-2030), National Censor- ship Policy (2021-2025), and National Policy on Professional Volunteerism (2020-2025)

UN International Commitments

We are actively implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Our PNG CRC Country Re- port, completed and endorsed in November 2023, reflects our dedication to child welfare and the promotion of women’s rights.

Mr. Speaker,


Our Government’s priority has been to curb the escalating law and order in the country. This includes building effectiveness and efficiency, establishing political oversight, and addressing juvenile issues, in a multi-agency approach. All agencies under law and jus- tice sector have received generous levels of funding over the last five years.

The Table below shows the increasing support we provided to the law and justice sector over the last five years.

Source: Department of Treasury, 2018-2024 Annual Budget Books

The Justice Department and services represent some of the more progressive actions undertaken during the time of this Government. There have been numerous legislative reviews, policy and increased activities right across the different levels of the justice system.

Magisterial Services

Mr. Speaker,

We significantly increased the appropriation to the Magisterial Services from K51 million in 2022 to K91 million in 2023.

We have 1,680 Village Court Areas and 18,480 Village Court Officials throughout the country, with K55 million allocated in 2023 for Village Court Officials’ allowances and added a further K26 million because of increased numbers.

NEC approved funding to increase the number of judges from 40 to 60, with an enhanced allocation of K232 million in 2023 and an additional K310 million slated for 2024. This allocation will significantly contribute to the resolution of the backlog of cases.

Mr. Speaker,

Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC)

To enhance training and welfare of its members, the RPNGC entered into a partnership arrangement with the Somare Institute of Leadership and Government (SILAG). The RPNGC is committed to increasing its manpower size to meet its national target of 10, 000 uniformed officers by 2030.

The current police to citizens ratio in PNG are 1:1845 citizen, whilst the contestable UN recommended police to citizen ratio is 1:341 – 450 citizens. In August 2023, RPNGC recruited a total of 509 to undertake basic police and cadet training. These numbers are expected to increase in 2024 going forward.

The First police Recruitment Drive commenced in 2023 after 6 years of no recruitment and training of constable and cadets. The Police Recruitment drive will continue later in September 2024. Our data shows 481 were Normal Recruitment of probationary constable and 66 were the Recruitment of Cadet Officers.

The First Batch of 2023 recruits saw 222 recruits trained, and of the total, only 217 graduated this month (May) 2024. 66 Cadet Officers have graduated this month (May) 2024 and are in the process of secondment to Queensland Police for on-the-job training. They will continue other areas of training for the next two years. Cadet training is a 3-year program.

The Second Batch of 2023 recruits will see total of 256 police personnel trained at end of June 2024.

The Australian Government has and continues to fund the infrastructure for the Bomana National Centre of Excellence at a cost of K24.4 million. The work is in progress on the infrastructure development for this institution due to capacity issues in training and infrastructure.

Mr. Speaker,

The 2nd Recruitment Drive takes place in September this year and is expected to have over 500 new intakes. The RPNGC is well on track to increase its manpower from 6000 baseline to reach the target of 10,000 by 2030. It is also worth noting that, while the government is trying to increase the police manpower, it is also attending to its retired police manpower, dismissals and deaths. To adequately address this, the RPNGC will increase its capacity to have more training instructors and regional training centres to absorb enough number to reach its target.

Admin Sector, Provinces and Districts and Public Sector Reforms

Mr. Speaker,

The administration and provincial sector consume about K3.37 billion, whilst the total budget for all provinces is at K1.76 billion which constitutes 16%. This massive investment must equate to improved service delivery and livelihoods for the rural populace.

We establishment the Bi-Partisan Committee on Autonomy and Decentralization, we operationalized 7 new electorates approved by Parliament through the acceptance of Electoral Boundaries Report 2021, we conducted District Verification for new electorate – Middle Sepik (split from Angoram and Yangoru), we completed the consultation and report on the Constitutional Directive No. 4 on “forms and systems of Government”, we paid K26.4 million in outstanding allowances for Ward Councillors out of the K30 million for 2022 and 2023, we conducted the cost of delivery of services for ABG, implemented the one-line budget item system (OLBIS), rolled out the Ward Recorders Book rolled in Gulf, Eastern Highlands, Western Highlands and East Sepik, we conducted fiscal de- centralization study through the intergovernmental Financing Review for the provinces including the National Service Delivery Framework.


I have presented the scorecard of my government’s achievements since we took office in 2019. It is a statement of what we have done. And we have done a lot. We have identified the challenges of arresting an ailing economy. We designed a specific plan to resuscitate and stimulate recovery of the economy, independently evaluated. We have focussed on the essential building blocks. We have established key priorities that we have to pursue. We work hard on unlocking the potential of our primary industries, and argue for more benefits on our extractives sectors.

We will never use COVID 19 as an excuse, but PNG was not alone in terms of facing those challenges. If we take away two and a half years from the five years, then you must judge us on the basis of doing so much in the short time. We have not shied away from the life and death issues before us.

There are some investments which will bear fruit in the short term. There are some investments whose returns are long term. We cannot expect a bountiful harvest without planting, watering and weeding. It’s a process that you must also appreciate. Infrastructure, law and order, education and health are long term investments.

We are never afraid to address welfare issues. Our household assistance speak for itself. We have uplifted the tax thresholds. We will continue to carry our people’s education and health costs. We will continue to open up market access through investments in district and provincial roads.

But we must never lose sight of the big picture. Build an economy that will provide opportunities for everyone. Build an economy that provides the opportunities for our people themselves to thrive and prosper. We are planting the garden. When you later enjoy the harvest, whether it is now or in the future, remember that someone planted the garden. We have placed our country at a critical growth trajectory to build an upward journey. The inevitable growth will come as long as we maintain the trajectory without disruption.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker,