By Adelaide Kari – EM TV News, Port Moresby
The leader of the New Generation Party, Bire Kimisopa, has questioned the import ban of vegetables by Minister of Agriculture, Tommy Tomscoll.
He said in a press release that he had stated before that the plan of stimulating local production was commendable but the implementation process was appalling. He said that Tomscoll has seen fit to suggest that the reason for the decision is one of bio-security.
Mr Kimisopa says that the suggestion is laughable, as imports have been taking place for years with no impacts of pests and now that the minister has extended the number of countries clearly puts PNG at greater risk of bio-security.
“The granting of an effective monopoly to one importer, from one region, in one foreign country also defied logic and was overturned by intervention of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister’s intervention has engendered some sanity into the situation.”
He said that even though Goroka and Mt Hagen have fresh vegetables, by the time they reach Port Moresby they are costly than the imported goods.
“Let us have some sensible dialogue on how to reduce supply chain costs and improve shipment times. Why not arrange for Air Niugini to operate at cost cargo services from the highlands to Port Moresby as a service to the nation. If a holistic approach to the problem is not adopted, it is a complete waste of time growers planting additional acreage.”
The Party leader said that his party was a part of government until the next election but would like to publicly indicate that his party expect the government to properly consider and debate the new policy and that policies should not be unilaterally implemented by minister.
“I wish however to publically indicate that we expect the Government, of which we are a part, to properly consider and debate new policy and that policy not be unilaterally implemented by ministers. The current situation has arisen as this process was not adequately followed by the Minister and this has necessitated revision of policy on the run. The situation is not conducive to good public administration and is embarrassing to any government.”