Week in Review: Marape Resigns as PNG’s Finance Minister

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By Scott Waide – EMTV News, Lae

Until the day he resigned, James Marape was one of the top man in the Prime Minister’s inner circle. As Finance Minister, he was  a major player in the formulation of six national budgets and oversaw various finance related policies by the O’Neill-Abel Government.

While on the surface things appeared smooth, there was a turbulent undercurrent and it was only until April 11 that Marape revealed  publicly what many other  MPs had previously expressed – that the faceless  political hangers-on  were affecting and influencing political decisions in the country. Marape said he had lost trust of the Prime Minister and part of  it was because associates of the Government contributed to that distrust.

With a vote of no confidence looming, political prophets are interpreting James Marape’s resignation and coming up with different results. Behind the scenes, insiders say the numbers  on the fringes of the coalition appear fluid while the core remains largely intact. James Marape says he is remaining with the PNC.

His disagreements with the PM stem from various, what he called, work-related matter including local participation  in the oil and gas projects.

On the day of Marape’s resignation, rumours were rife that the Defence Minister, Solan Mirisim, had resigned.  The next day he told media representatives in Port Moresby that he had no intention of resigning.

Marape’s resignation comes  days after the signing of the Papua LNG project – a deal that again fanned dissatisfaction following  the announcement that landowners would get just 2 percent of the 13 billion dollar project.

Like most political situations involving numbers on the floor, it’s best to read between the lines, study the undercurrent, and listen to what politicians aren’t saying.

The Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill,  said he accepted  Marape’s resignation but work still had to go on. The PNC will be shoring up its numbers with the PM and Party leader talking to his members.

 

Scott Waide

is the Lae Bureau Chief and began his career with EMTV in 1997 as a News and Sports Reporter and Anchor and has been a media professional for over 19 years. Having previously worked as a Producer and Researcher for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Port Moresby Bureau, he is a recipient of multiple awards including the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union Prize in 2005 in Iran for best news feature, the Pacific Island News Association Award and the Divine Word University Media Freedom Award.

Scott Waide