I want to emphasise to the nation that forming a government is a matter of great seriousness. It involves structuring an alternative policy programme aimed at outperforming the current government’s achievements. Those aiming to govern should cease their smear campaign against me. While you can critique me — I have thick skin — you should, at the same time, present your substantial alternative policies.

For instance, my government has introduced a Christian identity into our Constitution and focused on gaining more from our natural resources, resulting in a larger return from Porgera. We are working with our project partners to secure bigger returns from Wafi-Golpu, achieve a 62 percent stake in P’nyang LNG, and are collaborating with ExxonMobil to obtain a similar share in the new Wildebeest LNG. We are enabling Papua New Guineans to more actively participate in forestry, fisheries, and agriculture, and providing more support to SMEs to ensure their economic empowerment. These programmes are not just for today but for the long haul.

The ‘proposed alternate government’ must cease their character assassinations and negative personality attacks in the public space. Instead, be constructive and present your alternative policy outlook. For example, the alternative prime minister, Allan Bird, speaks of job creation. I challenge him to disclose how many jobs he has created in East Sepik as governor over the last seven years. My government has supported the East Sepik Provincial Government with substantial funding of K340 million secured from the European Union. Has he accounted for how many people his provincial government has helped transition into the SME sector or the agriculture sector?

Enough of this smear campaign, which has become obvious to everyone. It emanates from individuals lacking depth in core policy options for the country. Leading a country is not a fantasy that one can simply wake up to. It requires deep commitment and vision.

Former ministers should showcase their achievements. The composition of the Cabinet must be based on teamwork, not convenience. I want to highlight that the core team I have comprises Members of Parliament who have supported me since the government’s formation, fighting for greater ownership and benefits sharing from our resources. This team has remained united since May 2019, overcoming our first vote-of- no-confidence in December 2020, winning the National General Election in 2022, and still standing strong in 2024.

The Pangu Pati, which I now lead with 58 MPs, recently welcomed the former Opposition Leader, Hon. Joseph Lelang, a learned economist and former Secretary for National Planning. His joining is a significant vote of confidence in our economy and governance.

Last year, during a debate on the economy at the University of PNG, Mr. Lelang affirmed most of our economic interventions, including tax removals for lower-wage earners. His decision to join us, amidst a political smear campaign by opportunistic politicians, underscores the strength of our policies.

Allan Bird and Kerenga Kua, once bitter critics of Peter O’Neill, are now aligned with him. I wish them luck but advise that if they aim to govern, they must present better policy options than those of the current Pangu Pati-led Coalition.

We have not wasted time; we have been actively working. Our achievements include reintegrating over 100,000 school dropouts into second-chance learning programmes, creating over 100,000 new jobs in the past four years, and significantly supporting SMEs. Our fight for our resources has resulted in favorable outcomes, such as the Porgera project, which now has a 51/49 percent ownership split in favor of Papua New Guinea.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is now operational. In healthcare, we’ve made significant strides, including the establishment of cancer, heart, and kidney facilities at Port Moresby General Hospital, and the opening of Wewak Hospital with counterpart funding. Each Provincial Health Authority has received K45 million for planning new provincial hospitals, funded by the government.

We’ve ensured that provincial governments, including Allan Bird’s East Sepik, receive unprecedented support. It’s crucial that results are shown at the provincial level before aspiring to national leadership. Leadership must be grounded in tangible results and integrity.

The last four years have been challenging, with the impacts of COVID-19, the Ukraine War, and political upheavals. Despite these challenges, we have diligently worked to stabilise and grow our economy, ensuring service distribution at all government levels and investing in infrastructure, telecommunications, and electricity.

If the alternative government aspires to lead, it must end the smear campaign and clearly present its policies for the betterment of our country. We remain committed to our projects and policies, focusing on empowering Papua New Guineans and enhancing our nation’s prosperity. We are undeterred by the vote- of-no-confidence and remain dedicated to our work, including the development of the Papua LNG Project, Wafi-Golpu Mine, and the enhancement of our agriculture, forestry, and fisheries sectors through downstream processing and Special Economic Zones.

Our vision for Papua New Guinea is clear and unwavering. We will continue to open up all parts of our country with infrastructure and  we will continue to support education, health, and improve law-and-order, ensuring our nation moves forward without letting politics hinder our progress.

God Bless Papua New Guinea.