Forum discusses health issues affecting Apec nations

THE Life Sciences Innovation Forum was held in Port Moresby yesterday as part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) first senior officials meeting.

It is a body where Apec members discuss and develop solutions to health issues faced by member economies.
National Health Services Standard deputy secretary Dr Paison Dakulala noted how developments in this area led to “healthy economies”.

“The applied life sciences are critical to growth and socioeconomic development because healthy people produce healthy economies, innovations to make patient focused products and services which are efficient, effective and available,” he said.

“For example, (they) can improve a population’s longevity, wellness, productivity and economic potential.”

He also noted what Health and HIV-AIDS Minister Sir Puka Temu said about the forum being a key part of Apec.
Its achievements include:

  • The approval of Apec Life Science Strategic Plan in 2004 that contains recommendations for collective action and implementation schedule;
  • developing enablers investment checklist in 2007 that allows policy makers in Apec economies to assess their investment environment for life science innovation; and,
  • Creating the Health Science Academy for the region to further knowledge of health and health science innovations.



Coconut oil producer sees Apec as road to new markets

HANAMOA Organics, the producer of local virgin coconut oil from Abau, Central, hopes to expand its market opportunities during the Apec meetings.

Hanomoa Organics representative Karo Martin said the company was excited about the opportunity to expose its products through its small and medium-sized enterprise stall at the meeting venue in Port Moresby. The family business processes coconuts into cold-pressed organic virgin oil and soap products.

“We’ve been producing virgin coconut oil, soap and body wash locally for customers in Port Moresby on a small scale,” Martin said.

“We want to introduce our products to the world through Apec, and find someone who can link us to markets and finally get our products launched.
“Bottling the product is a problem because of the cost involved in importing non-lid bottles from Australia and purchasing lids elsewhere.”

Committee of Trade and Investments co-chairperson Julie Wapo said she understood the struggles of local SMEs. “We are looking at ways to assist our SMEs and how we can facilitate their needs, getting the right regulations in place,” she said.

“It will cost an SME K3 million to bottle coconut products and have it available on a world market. We are looking at a right policy that will change the landscape of how people will benefit.”


Vanuatu’s Ultimatum to Investors

Vanuatu Minister of Internal Affairs Andrew Napuat
Vanuatu Minister of Internal Affairs Andrew Napuat

All investors and foreigners who are currently residing and working in Vanuatu have three weeks to ensure they are complying with Vanuatu’s Labour and Immigration laws or they will face the full force of the law.

Minister of Internal Affairs Andrew Napuat gave the ultimatum yesterday afternoon.

“I am appealing to all investors, foreigners, who have overstayed or have issues with their residency visas and work permits to come forward within three weeks to rectify their status with the Vanuatu Immigration Services,” the minister stressed.

He said a major operation will be conducted from March, 19, 2018 through to the first week of April and will be undertaken by Department of Labour, Vanuatu Immigration Services and other enforcement agencies.

The ultimatum is applicable to those who are overstaying in the country and are residing or operating without proper documents.

According to records from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the number of overstayers currently stands at 600, however there could be more.

The ministry has stepped up compliance and will continue to stage major checks from time to time.

Border management and Labour Employment services are important services in this Ministry. Vanuatu has benefitted a great deal from two very important government policies.

 “Whilst Labour mobility is the talk of the town and communities together with citizenship investment program, our focus has shifted from our core business which is protection of our borders and protection of our national labour policies or work, the Minister said.

“Assessing the growth and influences together with issues experienced MOIA has re-aligned itself to focus more on its core functions.”

Minister Napuat said, Vanuatu has enjoyed a relaxed environment for too long and the Ministry of Internal Affairs must step up its enforcement.

The warning also extends to all business houses who have not implemented the new minimum wage rate of Vt160 to Vt200 per hour.

Coffee Pulper machine for north Pentecost farmers

Vanuatu Daily Post, By Anita Roberts

Handing over of coffee pulper from DARD to farmers in north Pentecost
Handing over of coffee pulper from DARD to farmers in north Pentecost

It has been brought to the attention of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) that arabic coffee can be grown at Lagatava in north Pentecost, just like on Tanna and Epi.

The Department is providing assistance to increase the potential of growing coffee there as an alternative crop to generate income for locals to meet their basic needs, apart from kava.

It has supplied a pulper to coffee farmers in north Pentecost last week. Farmers will use the pupler for coffee pulping process, through a Small Grant Project soon to be implemented.

DARD also promised to send an Agriculture Extension Officer (AEO) to work with farmers there and give technical support.

The most populated area on Pentecost is in the north.

There is a high demand of resources in the area, with the space to do farming literally running out as more locals look to the Recognized Seasonal Employers (RSE) scheme for survival, said the spokesperson of coffee farmers from North Pentecost in Port Vila, William Ganileo.

“Locals on Pentecost started growing coffee in 2008 as another option from kava to boost livelihood. Seedlings are supplied from Lowanatom on Tanna.

“The beans got dried and wasted on trees. This is because they (locals) lack knowledge on how to harvest and process the beans,” he said.

 The new EAO will help with setting up of the coffee pulper on Pentecost and at the same time teach farmers about the techniques of nursery development, pruning and harvesting process.

The Department of Agriculture has been promoting coffee production on Tanna and Epi, recently extending to Erromango and Santo.

Pentecost is known for supplying the bulk of kava and taro in the country.

With the assistance from DARD, farmers at Lagatava are now planning to expand their production.

Dominasi Ekonomi Tiongkok di Papua Nugini Jadi Perdebatan

Ilustrasi (Foto: ABC News)
Ilustrasi (Foto: ABC News)

PORT MORESBY, SATUHARAPAN.COM – Dominasi Tiongkok dalam pembiayaan pembangunan ekonomi di Papua Nugini jadi perdebatan sengit di parlemen tatkala Perdana Menteri Papua Nugini, Peter O’Neill, menghadiri sidang parlemen untuk pertama kali di tahun 2018 ini, kemarin (06/01).

O’Neill mendapat pertanyaan bertubi-tubi pada saat tanya-jawab dari anggota parlemen Northwest, Sir Mekere Mourata, perihal pengaruh Tiongkok terhadap PNG, tentang perusahaan-perusahaan Tiongkok berkiprah di sektor-sektor yang dilindungi dan utang PNG dari Tiongkok.

Menanggapi pertanyaan-pertanyaan tersebut, O’Neill menegaskan bahwa pemerintah PNG telah memperketat persyaratan bagi masuknya investasi Tiongkok. Di antaranya dengan memastikan bahwa konten lokal harus terkandung dalam setiap pinjaman dan proyek yang mereka jalankan di Papua Nugini.

O’Neill mengatakan bahwa kabinetnya telah memiliki daftar bidang usaha yang dikhususkan untuk pengusaha Papua Nugini, kebijakan yang dalam empat tahun terakhir, menurut dia, tidak diimplementasikan. Bidang usaha yang dicadangkan untuk pengusaha Papua Nugini antara lain toko perdagangan dan bisnis ritel.

O’Neill  mengatakan bahwa pemerintahannya sesungguhnya hanya melanjutkan langkah pemerintahan sebelumnya, termasuk ketika Sir Mekere menjadi PM.

“Ini bukan satu-satunya pemerintah yang berbisnis dengan Tiongkok. Kami mengikuti jejak mantan pemerintah termasuk pemerintahan yang dipimpinnya (Sir Mekere). Dia telah melakukan banyak kunjungan ke Tiongkok, dia telah diterima cukup baik di sana, “kata O’Neill, dikutip dari PNG Today.

“Saya mengumumkan untuk mempromosikan bisnis negara ini. Banyak pemerintah di masa lalu meminjam dari Tiongkok. Persayratan yang mereka ikuti dulu, kita pegang juga pada hari ini. Dimana pinjaman lunak yang diterima dari Tiongkok memiliki persyaratan yang ditandatangani oleh pemerintah sebelumnya. Kami adalah satu-satunya pemerintah yang mencoba mengubahnya,” kata O’Neill, membandingkan pemerintahannya dengan pendahulunya.

“Sebenarnya kita dalam perundingan yang sangat sulit hari ini dengan Pemerintah Tiongkok, berusaha memastikan bahwa kita membangun konten lokal ke dalam setiap pinjaman dan tentu saja proyek yang kita dapatkan dari Tiongkok, mencoba naik setidaknya 50 persen,” Kata O’Neill.

“Ketika Menteri Richard Maru menjadi Menteri Perdagangan pada pemerintahan terakhir, dia membawa daftar bisnis yang diproteksi untuk pengusaha PNG. Kabinet telah mengesahkannya, pejabat diperintahkan untuk memberlakukannya, pejabat yang bertanggung jawab untuk ini.”

“Terkadang juga kita mendapati bahwa warganegara kita sendiri tidak hanya mengundang pengusaha Tiongkok tapi juga warga negara asing untuk melakukan bisnis. Terkadang, mereka menyewakan tanah mereka sendiri karena mereka sendiri tidak ingin berbisnis tapi mereka ingin menjadi tuan tanah – ini adalah hal yang harus kita batasi di seluruh negeri, ” kata O’Neill.

“Kami melakukan segala kemungkinan untuk memastikan bahwa kepentingan Papua Nugini sangat penting dan kami tidak meminjam uang seperti pemerintah terakhir – untuk secara harfiah mendanai anggaran.”

“Apa yang kita pinjam dari Tiongkok adalah kita membangun infrastruktur, jalan, jembatan, bandara, pelabuhan dan itulah yang akan dinikmati orang rakyat Papua Nugini selama bertahun-tahun yang akan datang.”

“Jika kita tidak membangun infrastruktur hari ini, kita memiliki populasi yang meningkat, siapa yang akan membangun infrastruktur untuk Anda? Kita tidak memiliki cukup uang dalam anggaran kita untuk mendanai infrastruktur berskala besar.”

“Kelalaian (pemerintah masa lalu) yang ditinggalkan adalah hasil dari apa yang kita lihat sekarang. Kelalaian pemerintahan masa lalu adalah apa yang kita tempuh. Berhentilah merengek terus-menerus sepanjang waktu,” kata O’Neill.

Dominasi ekonomi Tiongkok di Papua Nugini belakangan menjadi sorotan termasuk oleh Australia. Investasi Australia di bekas negara jajahannya itu belakangan stagnan bahkan cenderung keluar.

Ian Chow, seorang pengusaha warganegara Australia berdarah Tionghoa tetapi sudah lama bermukim di Papua Nugini, mengatakan ia mempekerjakan kontraktor Tiongkok membangun usahanya di bidang manufaktur makanan di Papua Nugini karena alasan biaya yang lebih murah. Mendatangkan pekerja Australia ke Papua Nugini, menurut dia, jauh lebih mahal.

Menurut dia banyak pengusaha Australia yang meninggalkan Papua Nugini. “Mereka tidak ingin datang ke sini dan mereka meninggalkan kekosongan besar yang diisi oleh orang-orang Tiongkok,” kata dia.

“Di hampir semua bisnis besar, mereka yang mengerjakan konstruksinya, mereka bahkan telah menguasai bisnis ritel,” kata dia.
ABC News.

Menteri Luar Negeri Papua Nugini, Rimbink Pato, memastikan bahwa kendati pengaruh Tiongkok meningkat di Papua Nugini, negara itu tetap menganggap Australia sebagai sahabat dekat dan dapat diandalkan.

Editor : Eben E. Siadari

Barker on issues with rice market

INSTITUTE of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker, pictured, says plans to restructure the rice market should consider competition issues in a balanced manner for domestic growers and companies which import it.

Barker was responding to a recent explanation by Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Benny Allan on the delay of the Central Province Rice Project to be operated by Naime Agro Limited.

“This proposal of Naime’s has always appeared to be an exercise in securing a State-endorsed monopoly or near monopoly over rice sales,” he said.
“PNG needs a competitive market for rice and other staples as an essential part of its National Food Security Policy, as well as overall competition and macro-economic policy.

“But it also needs to provide support to those producing and marketing all staple foods, notably through improving national infrastructure to make it easier and more reliable for producers and traders to bring root crops and domestically-grown rice to the market.”Barker said there was a range of other measures to improve the

business environment for all agricultural production, marketing and processing in PNG, as highlighted in the recent National Agricultural Summit.
“It’s long been considered that the Naime proposal has largely been about trying to make money from a trading monopoly or near monopoly, rather than producing and trading domestically grown rice,” he said.

“But they should be welcomed to participate in the trade on a competitive basis, and investing in production – but not at the expense of PNG consumers, through higher prices generated by protective import duties and restrictions on competition.”

Barker said the credibility of the Naime Agro Industries Limited and the reputation of a particular principal owner should be a point of concern for the authorities.

The Price Control Bureau has been reactivated under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management.

After deactivation in 2009, the Ministry of Finance has reactivated it to ensure traders, persons engaged in commercial activities and persons providing services do not take advantage of the recent Value Added Tax (VAT) increase to deprive consumers of the purchasing powers through raising prices of their goods and services on their shelves.

The Bureau was deactivated 8 years ago and left unattended but it was not repealed.

The current coalition Government led by the Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, is reactivating the Price Control Bureau under the Leadership of the Minister of Finance and Economic Management, Gaetan Pikioune.

During the first day of the current coalition partners, as outlined in the 100 Days Policy Plan, Activity 5 under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management medium and long term plan, the Government had mandated the Ministry of Finance to set up the Price Control Bureau.

Following the ongoing development, the Council of Ministers (COM) in its Decision 55 of 2016, sets out the clear mandates which calls for the establishment of a Price Control Bureau under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management Corporate Service. And to immediately set up the Bureau.

The Council of Ministers’ 9th ordinary meeting approved that in the medium term a supplementary budget of Vt10 million be allocated to the Price Control Bureau and 2 Officers be undertaken.

The Council of Ministers also approved that a review of the Price Control Act and the Public Health Act be undertaken with a view to amalgamate the two legislations in order to collaborate in reducing NCD-related health risks from imported and locally produced goods to the population of Vanuatu.

The Council of Ministers in its decision also approved that the composition of the Prices Advisory Committee to be made by the Minister of Finance and Economic Management will be subject to another Council of Ministers (COM) paper.

The Council of Ministers also endorsed the idea to engage a technical advisor during the initial phases of establishing the Bureau with funding to be sourced externally and as part of the Terms of Reference (TOR) to also review other Act(s) relating to the issue of pricing. The Council of Ministers decision at the time agreed that these tasks should be undertaken within the next two months.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the process is now in place to implement and reactive the Price Control Bureau.

The ministry is reportedly mindful of the fact that traders, persons engaged in commercial activities, and persons providing services, are taking advantage of what the Ministry of Finance describes as minor increase in VAT, to deprive consumers.

The Ministry of Finance is now very determined to have the Price Control Office fully operational before the end of this fiscal year, a Ministry of Finance Official told the Daily Post.

He said, in the interim, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management is contracting the services of a prominent figure to operate the Bureau to implement the functions of the Bureau while the Government seeks to find a permanent solution, says the Ministry of Finance official.

The Ministry of Finance official says the ministry wants to protect the people of Vanuatu and all consumers from being taken advantage of by traders, persons engaged in commercial activities and persons providing services in raising prices of their goods and services at the shelves.

THE Labour Department has recognised and is impressed with the industrial award signed between Ramu NiCo Allied Workers’ Union and Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Ltd, an official says.

Madang labour representative Peter Neimani, who was the negotiation chairman between the union and Ramu NiCo, said the registrar of the department was impressed with the quality and component of the award and agreements reached by the parties.

“The labour legistrar is happy and will register the award in the national gazette and make it a legal document in the next three years,” he said.
“I represent our department to congratulate all parties in reaching an understanding after six months of intense negotiation, despite the fact that most of the union members are new in the industrial issues.”

Nemane was speaking last Thursday during a gift presentation by union members to Ramu NiCo management at the company headquarters in Madang for reaching an amicable and win-win outcome.

Ramu NiCo vice-president Wang Baowen said the company strived to ensure its employees were looked after and got the right training and up-skilling.

“Ramu NiCo has received many gifts from the landowners, but this gift is better as it demonstrates a good understanding and working relationship between our employees and the management,” he said.

“The company understands the employees’ expectations on pay increase, training and up-skilling.

“We would like to support that, depending on the project success.

“Our training centre at Basamuk is now launched and KBK Mine will be the same.”

Baowen said the project had reached its designed production capacity in 2016. The employers also contributed to this great achievement.
Union treasurer Gene Mangoa thanked Ramu NiCo for reaching an understanding in finalising the industrial award.

“What the union members need is a fair pay rise, proper training and up-skilling,” he said.

The industrial award negotiation which started in July last year was signed in Madang on Jan 5.



THE first phase of the recommencement of landowner beneficiary identification (LOBID) within PNG LNG Project impact areas has been completed, Department of Petroleum and Energy spokesperson says.

The spokesperson said that the completed areas were for the pipeline segments starting from Kikori, in Gulf, to Beneria, in Hela.

Last November, Petroleum Minister Fabian Pok announced that the LOBID exercise had recommenced.
“Moran PDL 5 (petroleum development licence) was also completed while Gobe and Kutubu are subject to disputes settlement in court,” the spokesperson said.

“Department of Petroleum is preparing for final ministerial determination for Mineral Resources Development Company) to open up bank accounts for the respective impacted clans, so the royalty and equity benefits will be paid to those completed impacted beneficiaries.
“Meanwhile, clan-vetting will resume in February for Hides PDL1 and PDL 7.

Juha PDL 9 will be conducted in Koroba for Hela landowners and in Kiunga or Soabi for Western landowners.

Angore PDL 8 will be subject to alternative dispute resolution (ADR), resuming mediation process to identify the beneficiary clans.

The success of the first phase was dependent on local and provincial leaders and logistical support provided by ExxonMobil and Oil search. The clan-vetting team experienced no issues that may cause delays to the vetting.”

Pok said that following the successful completion of the distribution of royalty benefits in the plan site area last month, DPE had focused on resumption and completion of the landowner beneficiary identification – formerly known as clan-vetting programme) in other project areas.

“This is useful consultative process which enables me to then make an official ministerial determination under Sec 169 and Sec 170 of the Oil and Gas Act (1998) and allow the benefits to be distributed to the beneficiaries,” he said.


Kava exporter: it’s time to take advantage of high prices and grow the industry

A Fijian kava exporter is urging Pacific people to focus on commercial operations rather than small subsistence farming following last month’s lifting of a European Union kava export ban.

Lami Kava director Donny Jason Yee, whose family has been farming kava since the 1970s, said now is the time to take advantage of high kava prices and grow the industry, RNZI reports.

Mr Yee said the local market in Fiji was fiercely competitive, worth $US148 million annually, and the biggest challenge export-wise was competing with Vanuatu.

Currently, Fiji farm gate prices range per kilogram between about $US45 – $60 and kava roots retail at $US50- $75.

While it is still early days for him to see any benefits from the EU, he said there’s no doubt the kava export market is growing.

For example he said one of the kava bars in the US he supplies provides a service to Russian clients.

Posted by  | Jan 19, 2018 | Vanuatu News