Domestic Politics. Papua New Guinea press review

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea (PNG) Hon. James Marape has officially launched the Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Goal 13 Road Map (take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts). Hon. Prime Minister stated that the country recognizes the enormous challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, that 2030 is approaching fast, and Papua New Guinea as a growing economy in the Pacific, must lead by example. « Papua New Guinea’s environmental and climate change legislative framework is innovative and dynamic […] The Climate Change Management Act 2015 is undergoing review to align with the Paris Agreement and the revision of Papua New Guinea’s National Determined Contributions, » Mr. Marape said. According to PNG Prime Minister, this Roadmap focuses attention on climate governance, energy, forestry, agriculture, infrastructure, fisheries, tourism, biodiversity, minerals and health. Authority, in making tremendous effort in identifying new domestic levies and fees to be charged on some of our emission sources. Mr. Marape said that this new funding source will support government and sector agencies to drive implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 13 Roadmap. [1]

On the 26th of August 2020 Prime Minister Hon. James Marape and the Members of the PNG National Parliament also made speeches during the National Prayer and repentance Day. The public holiday was established in 2011. During the speech Hon. James Marape noted that e belief in Christian ideology and teaching should shape PNG today and into the future. Earlier the National Executive Council (NEC) has approved a proposal to formally declare Papua New Guinea a Christian country. [2]

On the 25th of August 2020 also has also begun the regular session of the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea.
PNG Public Service Minister Soroi Eoe says that his Ministry and the Department of Personnel Management (DPM) are working to reform the public service including its payroll system to a manageable level. Among a number of important reforms DPM has undertaken was the retirement exercise which in turn will have an effect on the public service payroll costs. According to Acting Chief Secretary of the PNG Government Isaac Lupari, the public service wage bill was K4.6 billion (US$1,3 billion) per year. In turn, PNG Public Service Minister Soroi Eoe said the Government was reviewing these costs working closely with the Treasury Department as an audit had indicated that there were costs that had to be rationalised. Mr. Eoe said that total costs could be categorised as follows: essential services (K2.9 billion), administration (K1.1 billion), national parliament (K118 million) and others (K482 million). Mr. Minister stated that there was ongoing work to ascertain issues and concerns and he was determined to come up with a clearer and efficient payroll system for the public service. According to Mr. Eoe, the entire public service comprised the disciplined forces (police, correctional service, and defence); teachers; health workforce; law and justice sector, Internal Revenue Commission and PNG Customs (84% of the total number of public servants). At the same time, the only 16% are the balance of national departments and provincial administration staff. [3]

However, former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and Ialibu-Pangia (Sothern Highlands Province) MP Peter O’Neill has called on the Government to allow COVID-19 Pandemic Controller David Manning to concentrate on addressing law and order issues as the Police Commissioner. During the Parliament session, Mr. O’Neill asked Prime Minister James Marape yesterday why the commissioner was appointed the controller when the COVID-19 was a health issue. Mr. O’Neil marked that every year PNG «had 400 to 500 people dying from violence, being murdered, yet COVID-19 has killed only four people». PNG Prime Minister Hon. James Marape said that only one or two lives were lost in a month or two from law and order issues and not 400 or 500 as Mr. O’Neill claimed. [4]

Former PNG Prime Minister has also trashed PNG Government’s claim that the 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit had cost the nation around K600 million (US$170 million). Mr. O’Neil was responding to an audit report released by PNG Finance Minister Rainbo Paita. According to Mr. O’Neil, the K600mil was too high: «Some of the costs were covered by [our] partners. We built infrastructure that people are using now, such as the good tarsealed roads you [Paita] drive on today in Port Moresby, » Mr. O’Neill said. [5]

At the same time, PNG Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has acknowledged the former government under Peter O’Neill for hosting the APEC meeting in 2018: «So whilst it was costly on the part of government in 2018, and we are still carrying the burdens today, the gains from it must not be reduced or diluted, the relevance of APEC […] Our government today is trying to ensure connectivity is restored so that market of our produce is established, and we can ensure we sell our produce to them, mind you that’s 60% of world GDP there in APEC». [6].

The Leadership Tribunal deferred hearing allegations of misconduct in office against Aitape-Lumi (East Sepik Province) Member of Parliament and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Patrick Pruaitch, from the 27th of August to the 1st of September. The deferral, according to Mr Augerea, was because of a judges’ consultation meeting to be held on August 28, which the tribunal chairman Justice Panuel Mogish was required to attend. [7] [1]

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