In brief: Papua New Guinea’s foreign exchange reserves are growing and other business stories

The head of the bank comments on the improvement in exchange rates at the end of last year, alluvial mining reserved for Papua New Guinea. and Santos is reporting record profits. The business news you need today.

Prime Minister James Marape, Australian High Commissioner Jon Philp and other government officials at the signing of the Australia-PNG Memorandum of Understanding. Credit: PM Office and NEC

Infrastructure

PNG Ports is expected to receive K1.5 billion from the Australian government to rehabilitate key ports at Lae, Kavieng, Kimbe, Oro Bay, Vanimo, Wewak and Lorengau. The majority of the financing will come from a concessional loan of US$365 million repayable over 35 years and an interest-free grant of US$70 million. The loan is considered “Australia’s single largest investment across all sectors and projects in the history of the Australian Pacific Infrastructure Finance Facility”.

The Australia-PNG Memorandum of Understanding was signed last week by Prime Minister Marape and Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a TV livestream. (Minister of Foreign Affairs & PMNEC)

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Fego Ota Kiniafa, Managing Director of Ports PNG Ltd, presents here the master plan of the country’s ports. (PNG Business Advantage)

petroleum gas

In its fourth quarter 2021 report, Santos announced record figures – record annual production of 92.1 million barrels of oil, record quarterly revenue of US$1.5 billion (up 34%) and record annual revenue of 4.7 billion US dollars (up 39%). Report data includes Oil Search assets as of December 11, 2020.

Commenting on the merger, Santos boss Kevin Gallagher said: “Our merger with Oil search offers increased scale and capacity to drive a disciplined, low-cost operating model and unparalleled growth opportunities over the next decade – with a vision to become a global leader in the energy transition. (Santos)

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Telecommunications

The acquisition of Digicel Pacific by the Australian telecommunications giant will should be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2023, a spokesperson told the Post mail. The acquisition of Digicel’s PNG business still needs to obtain statutory approvals from the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission, the National Information and Communications Technology Authority and the Bank of PNG. However, a meeting in Waigaini between Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey, Andy Penn and Oliver Camplin of Telstra and Australian High Commissioner Jon Philp took place last week. (Post mail)

Mining

A Alluvial Mining Bill will be tabled at the next parliamentary session, according to Mines Minister Johnson Tuke. Alluvial mining, he said, is a Papua New Guinean-only activity and one of the aims of the new bill is “to give more benefits to Papua New Guineans, to so all alluvial gold produced must go through a refining process and be exported”. ‘ (The National)

Banking

The general manager of Bank South Pacific Financial Group, Robin Fleming, told The National that PNG had “high levels of foreign currency” at the end of last year. This, he reportedly said, was due to high commodity prices, year-end dividends and donor funds for several projects. “Forex market turnover was up 7.4% year over year,” Fleming said. (The National)

To travel

Fully vaccinated international passengers can now fly to Queensland, Australia, without a quarantine requirement on arrival, from January 22. Passengers will be required to perform a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) themselves within 24 hours of arriving in Australia. At this time, travel remains limited to Australian citizens, permanent residents and New Zealanders normally residing in Australia, but Air Niugini expects travel to be extended to other visa holders such as tourists in early February. (Air Niugini)

Picture of the week

Nurse Angelin Labau giving Prime Minister James Marape his AZ reminder yesterday at the Manasupe Haus in Waigani, NCD. Credit: COVID-19 Media

It’s time to roll up our sleeves. Prime Minister James Marape leads by example and received his COVID-19 booster shot. The other members of parliament, ministers Kerenga Kua and Jelta Wong, and the governor of the East Sepik, Allan Bird, have joined him and are receiving their recalls this week.

“People around the world are lining up for reminders and it is my government’s responsibility to give our people access to cutting-edge science and research as it relates to COVID-19 vaccines.

“The direction of the Pandemic Controller was clear and was supported and reiterated by the Health Secretary last week. Vaccines are there for our good – I urge all our people to get vaccinated,” Prime Minister Marape said in a statement.