Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says East Sepik has the potential to become the “economic powerhouse” of Papua New Guinea.
He said that because of this potential, and in memory of founding Prime Minister the late Sir Michael Somare, the next Government would be formed in East Sepik.
Present with the Prime Minister were East Sepik Governor Hon. Allan Bird (National Alliance), Angoram MP Hon. Salio Waipo (National Alliance), Maprik MP and Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Hon. John Simon (Pangu) and Pangu candidate for Wosera-Gawi Ronald Asik.
“Sir Michael was instrumental in the formation of both Pangu and National Alliance. East Sepik has the potential to become the ‘economic powerhouse’ province of our country,” PM Marape said.
“This is why I will bring Government formation to here: Firstly, in memory of Sir Michael, and secondly, in memory of Sir Pita Lus. This will be the 11th Parliament, and the first Parliament without Sir Michael and Sir Pita being alive. This will be symbolic that the nation is now being passed on to the next generation.”
PM Marape said formation of the new Government in East Sepik would also inspire the new generation of leaders to hold on to the lofty ideals of the founding fathers like Sir Michael and Sir Pita.
He said his Government, over the last three years, had passed major laws to fight corruption and promised the people of Papua New Guinea that some prominent leaders would be prosecuted after the elections.
These include the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Whistle Blowers’ Act and Undisclosed Wealth Act.
“What would be the point of Allan Bird and I growing the economy of the country when corruption is still prevalent?” PM Marape said.
“We have managed to stifle corruption in the big way with passage of the three bills during the last term of Parliament.
“Over the last three years, we have spent over K56 billion, which has grown the economy by K30 billion.”
PM Marape said East Sepik’s economic powerhouse potential was in agriculture, through the vast Sepik Plains, and challenged the province to start growing rice on a large scale to reduce the huge K900 million rice import bill.
“Over the next few years, and into the future, we want to grow our own rice for domestic consumption as well as export to Phillipines, Indonesia and the rest if the region,” he said.
“Sir Michael, before his passing, said he had helped groom me up and asked me not to forget East Sepik into the future. The way to achieve this is through economic independence.”
“I want every Papua New Guinean to have money in their pockets: Grow rice, grow cocoa, grow vanilla, look after cattle, bring in tourists, stop consumption of home brew, stop marijuana and other bad habits.
“We are ready to take the country to the next level. I want East Sepik to be an economic powerhouse no longer dependent on Waigani.”
“This is why I ask the people of East Sepik to send Allan Bird, John Simon, Salio Waipo and my Wosera-Gawi candidate Ronald Asik, Ambunti-Dreikikier candidate Richard Rafa and Wewak candidate Jim Simitab to Parliament. “