By CLARISSA MOI
PORT Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry (POMCCI) president Rio Fiocco says 2019 was a difficult year for businesses.
Fiocco told The National that following the signing of the gas agreement for the development of the Papua LNG project between the State and Total SA, their (POMCCI) members were optimistic and looking forward to the project starting soon.
“However a review by the new Marape-Steven Government took a few months before the terms were confirmed after discussions with the developer,” he said.
“In November, the Government commenced negotiations with ExxonMobil (PNG) on the terms for the development of the P’nyang gas field located in Western .
“The developers have announced their intention to build three new trains to process the gas from the Papua and P’nyang gas fields at Caution Bay on the outskirts of Port Moresby.
“Meanwhile, businesses are anxiously awaiting the outcome of these negotiations to find out when the front end engineering designs will start.
“In the meantime many businesses continue to struggle as their sales remain flat or in some cases have decreased from the previous year.”
Fiocco also said that this year would be challenging for the country’s economy.
“Particularly considering the Government’s failure to sign an agreement with Total (for the development of Papua LNG project),” he said. “And the lack of progress at Wafi-Golpu due to Government’s insistence on sharing 40 per cent of output from the mine: Newcrest-Harmony gets 60 per cent and PNG gets 40 per cent.
“Failure to deliver these two projects brings a great deal of uncertainty to the PNG table and a huge impact on foreign exchange revenue.
“Unless government does something immediately to change this situation, I can only see tears in 2020 and beyond.”
By CLARISSA MOI