by Adelaide Sirox Kari
Prime Minister James Marape has thanked Australia’s announcement of further funding for the electrification and health programs, but also stated that their aid allows Australian business to thrive in PNG.
According to the Prime Minister there are over 5000 registered Australian businesses in PNG with a combined K17 billion in investments in the country. He made it clear that while Papua New Guina does receive a large amount of Aid from Australia, it was the PNG market that provides the investment opportunities these businesses to thrive.
“And so over time, that reciprocal benefit setting has been happening for some time, and the propensity for PNG to grow into an economic powerhouse is great, and I take this time also to sell my country as a good investment destination.”
Prime Minister James Marape stating that PNG and Australia have similar governments and that should allow both countries to benefit.
“We are looking at German investors in the area of downstream, in the areas of downstream in agriculture, in the areas of downstream in forestry, in the areas of downstream fisheries. Currently, our fish find a market in the European markets. We would like to sell more of our tuna into Australian markets, so to speak. So these areas where I’m using the opportunity, Prime Minister, if you don’t mind to sell my country as a very good greenfield investment destination.”
while both Prime Minister have been questioned on China’s investment, Prime Minister James Marape responded first that business was not by country but by individual who are willing to invest.
“We are friends to all, enemies to none, so to speak, in the greater foreign policy context. But we are in the business of attracting genuine business into our country. In fact, our local target, as we have said now into the next two or three years we want to bring in over 200 new investors, foreign investors into the country. Whether they are from Chinese or Australia or right across the world, is inconsequential and irrelevant to us. We will have an equal playing field for every investor, so long as they subscribe to the rules and regulations of our country.”
Australia Prime Minister Morrison responding that Australia is only ensuring an independent sovereign group of nations by assisting pacific islands nations’ economies.
“Papua New Guinea as with all countries in the Pacific region is simply to have the objective of ensuring each and every one of those nations are as independent and as sovereign and as much in charge of their future as they possibly can be. That’s always been our objective. That’s what we’ve always done. We’re not new players in this region. Our investment each year in Papua New Guinea in ADA is over $600 million a year now. The overwhelming bulk of our ADA is in the Pacific region and that has been the focus of our Pacific Step-Up. It’s about ensuring an independent sovereign group of nations, which we both look forward to meeting again with at the Pacific Island forum which is coming up in Tuvalu very shortly.”