Papua New Guinea, has been politically independent for 45 years and has gone through experiences like the Bougainville Crisis, the closing of the Panguna Mine, the closing and opening of Porgera Mine, changes in government leadership through votes of no confidence, natural disasters like the Rabaul Twin volcanic eruption of 1994 and now Covid 19 pandemic.
Worse of all is the K7.3 billion dept incurred by the previous government in 2020.
Our inflation rate was predicted by Asian Development Bank (ADB)through its report to increase by 4.2% in 2021 and 4.4 percent in 2022.
This report also predicts slow economic recovery in GDP at 2.5% in 2021and 3.0 in 2022.
All these and others not mentioned, have tested our young nation’s ability to unite as one country and resolved to improve our economy.
WE MUST RESOLVE AS A NATION TO IMPROVE OUR ECONOMY. In doing so we must look at nations that have had an absolute turn around in their economy and learn from them.
Countries like Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand, and Singapore.
There is China with the fastest growing economy in the world and 45 African countries out of 54 are also moving in the same direction.
Then there is Dubai which only had oil as its main source of revenue but today Dubai has sky scrapers where once sand existed and an economy that earned US$330 billion in nine months in 2018.
What do these countries have in common? Rapid income growth.
How do we get there? Papua New Guinea needs to learn the strategy of economic growth from these nations.
Papua New Guinea dreams of rapid economic growth. It has Malahang Industrial Centre in Lae-Morobe Province, Vanimo Free Trade Zone, Port Moresby International Seaport and Napanapa LNG Export Processing Zone.
Projects in various proposal stages are Konedobu Petroleum Park in Port Moresby, Nadsap Special Economic Zone and Labu Special Economic Zone in Morobe Province, Integrated Agriculture Industrial Zone in Goroka-Eastern Highlands, China City and Pacific Fisheries Zone, LNG Special Economic Zone in Ihu-Gulf Province, PNG Free Trade Zone in Emirau-New Ireland Province, Special Economic Region-Manus, China PNG Comprehensive Industrial Park in Aitape-West Sepik Province, Bana Free Trade Zone in South Bougainville in AROB, Finshafen Special Economic Zone in Morobe Province and the halted Madang Pacific Marine Industrial Zone.
As Prime Minister, I hereby announce that the National Executive Council has endorsed the Gazelle Agro – Special Economic Zone and Rabaul Tuna & Coastal Fisheries Export Processing Zone both in East New Britain Province.
These two projects are aligned with our economic growth strategy and conform to Vision 2050, Medium Term Development Plan III, of the Government of PNG.
My government supports the formulation and adoption of a PNG Free Trade Zone Development Policy and Strategic Plan and the corresponding engagement of Development Services International (DSI), an international expert on FTZ with its PNG Partner who will formulate and submit for adoption of PNG FTZ Development Policy and Strategic Development Plan.
The Gazelle Agro-Industrial Special Economic Zone (GAISEZ) Project in the Gazelle District and Rabaul Tuna Export Processing Zone (RTEPZ) Project in Rabaul District as the PNG FTZ Pilot Projects will undertake the formulation of the Project Development Plans.
I convey my gratitude to Gazelle and Rabaul District Development Authorities, their Parliamentary Members Dr. Allan Marat and Minister Jelta Wong, the working technical teams headed by Mr. Sam Manikot with advise and leadership by the Group CEO and Executive Chairman of the East New Britain Development Corporation Limited.
I thank you all for this visionary stance as the way forward for East New Britain Province to progress economically as well as for Papua New Guinea.
The journey ahead is not easy and will test us to resolve as a nation and province, our leaders and our Investment Partners to unite and to achieve the objective.
The people of East New Britain must change their mindset and attitude towards these pilot projects which will provide employment, spinoffs and contribute to the economy of ENB and PNG. I call on the Provincial Administration not to compete with these projects because they are bigger than what you have not delivered over the years.
Gazelle Agro-Industrial Special Economic Zone (GAISEZ) Project in the Gazelle District and Rabaul tuna & Coastal Fisheries Export Processing Zone (RTEPZ) Project in Rabaul District as PNG FTZ Pilot Projects are the first big projects for ENBP after a very long time.
I believe PNG will succeed in economic recovery through FREE TRADE ZONES and we need a Free Trade Zone Development Policy and strategic Plan to guide us.
These two(2) projects will be the biggest investments for the province and I congratulate Hon. Jelta Wong, Member for Gazelle for bringing this two(2) projects this far.
My Government will work closely with East New Britain Province in the coming months to realize these projects.
May God bless East New Britain Province and our beloved Nation of Papua New Guinea.