By Delly Waigeno – EM TV News, Port Moresby
The 2015 PNG Mining and Petroleum conference began today in Port Moresby, with a focus on opportunities in challenging times.
Hosted by the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, the annual conference brings together companies and stakeholders of the mining and petroleum sectors, as well as policy makers and investors.
Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, officially opened the three-day conference, with close to 700 participants in attendance.
Also present was the Minister for Mining, Byron Chan, Minister for Petroleum and Energy, Nixon Duban, and Minister for Public Enterprise and State Investments, Ben Micah.
In his opening remarks, President of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Gerea Aopi, pinpointed the struggles of the mineral and energy sectors with the sharp fall in prices and low revenue levels. Aopi said the industry will face tough times in the coming years.
Keynote speaker and Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, admitted that the PNG economy and other economies of the world are experiencing challenges because of an uncertain international economic environment. He said that in PNG it was important to remain positive about the future, adding that the government was carefully managing the challenges.
“Many of you know that our government is trying its best to ensure that our economy remains sound so that we can emerge out of this global conditions in a stronger position than we were at before,” O’Neill said.
“To achieve this, it is important that macroeconomic stability is paramount. Fiscal discipline is the key to achieving these outcomes. The recent 2015 Supplementary Budget and the 2016 Budget, reflects our government’s commitment to a fiscal discipline. It is certainly a budget for the current economic times,” he added.
The Prime Minister said the government was proactive in ensuring the right climate is maintained for ongoing investment in our economy, particularly in the resources sector.
“Uncertainty in global markets will remain a concerning factor for industry and the Government. We need to be innovative today. We have to focus beyond exporting raw product and expand focus to the downstream processing of our resources. The government will encourage and offer incentives to gas projects that include downstream processing and the development of affordable energy supplies to our business community and to our citizens. This will broaden our oil and gas sectors”, the Prime Minister said.
The conference will continue on Wednesday and Thursday alongside the trade exhibition, showcasing companies from the mineral and energy sectors.