Reflection And Round Up Of The International SEZ Summit

The recent International Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Summit was very successfully delivered and as the Minister for International Trade and Investment I praise God for the overwhelming success of the Summit beyond all our expectations.

I also want to thank the Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, the Deputy Prime Minister Hon. John Rosso, and all the presenters and the sponsors for supporting the Summit.

Our people and all the delegates were educated on what SEZs are and the fact that this is a development vehicle that has worked in many developing countries in creating millions of jobs and bringing billions and trillions in foreign direct investments. Papua New Guinea is such a blessed nation where we have so much potential as confirmed by the various speakers during the summit.

We are also thankful that we have reflected on our weakness, learned from the others and we are confident that we can deliver up to 6 SEZs this year which will be the start of the transformation of our economy in a way that no other vehicle has helped us to transform, and riding on the experience and success of other countries.
We have seen that SEZ can work, however, we also have a lot of work to do to ensure we succeeded. We also need to build the capacity of our SEZ Authority to provide a “one-stop shop” service and give a “red carpet” treatment to all our potential investors.

We are working to finalise the PNG SEZ policy, a comprehensive revised regulatory framework and the 10-year SEZ Development Plan. We will conclude these three key policy documents and present it to the Government by June 2023. We still need a lot of help from international partners like the SEZ Authorities in Philippines, China, Indonesia and others whom we have already started critical relationships with during the summit. We are already in negotiations with countries for possible grant aid to assist the Ministry of International Trade and Investment and the SEZ Authority to develop the technical capacity to drive the SEZ agenda and deliver no less than 6 licensed SEZs and get them operational by the end of 2023.

One key immediate challenge is the mobilization of our customary land, and we need the Department of Lands and Physical Planning to have an office and structure set up to support landowners to get bankable state titles of their own land using the successful Tuhava Town model, so the landowners can be partners in the SEZ development
The Marape-Rosso Government, through the Ministry of International Trade and Investment is targeting to deliver 6 SEZs this year who must secure licensee from the SEZ Authority on merit. The “lowest hanging fruits” are Rigo Rice, Central Manufacturing Zone which is being developed by KPHL, Lae Port SEZ which is being developed by PNG Ports, PMIZ in Madang and the log processing SEZ in the Central Province. We are also keen to see the Central Limestone SEZ project start this year. We will focus on these and we will also work to progress other SEZs around the country.

Now that everyone has been educated during the summit on the licensing conditions to obtain an SEZ Licenses from the regulator, the SEZ Authority, we will work with the potential SEZs to meet the license conditions.

We have published the presentations given during the summit for the public to access and give their feedback. This can be accessed on our ministry’s website

Overall, we all agreed that despite our failures over the past 30 years, with the guidance of God and support from our many partners including the Japanese Development Institute, and the SEZ Authority of the Philippines, PNG can build more SEZs and succeed with the lessons learned from the other very successful countries. The work to get 6 licenced SEZs operational by the end of 2023 has already started.

Source: Facebook

Posted in: Papua New Guinea

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