THE National Executive Council has approved K441 million for the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) project in Madang, Minister for Commerce and Industry Gabriel Kapris said yesterday.
The K441 million will be funded under China’s concessional loan facility of K1.2 billion to Papua New Guinea and seven other Pacific Island countries, Mr Kapris said.
Once operational, the zone designed for tuna processing and canning will employ more than 30,000 locals, either directly or indirectly through the many spin-off benefits available.
The Department of Treasury is finalising the loan application for submission to the Export and Import (Eximbank) Bank of China, while the Department of National Planning and Monitoring will include counterpart funding of the project in the 2010 development budget and future budgets during the lifetime of the project.
Speaking on NBC national radio yesterday, Mr Kapris said NEC approved the funding last Sept 30 in light of the huge economic impact the project would have for the country.
He said the approval also highlighted the Government’s support for a sector that would continue to sustain the country once its mineral wealth ran out.
‘I thank the Prime Minister and my colleague ministers in Cabinet for supporting this project of great importance that will bring greater economic benefits to the people of Papua New Guinea.
‘Our minerals, oil and gas have a life-span and will one day run-out as we have witnessed on Misima after 20 years of operation,’ Mr Kapris said.
He said PMIZ once fully operational, would see PNG tuna exported to markets in different parts of the world, boosting foreign exchange.
He added the Madang airport would be extended to cater for bigger aircraft and direct flights to Japan with fresh tuna for sashimi and also provide opportunity for Japanese tourists to visit Madang and Port Moresby.
‘As minister responsible for business and industries, I want to see Government build similar special economic zones for different industries around the country with attractive incentive policies.’
He said this would draw more foreign investors who would venture into bigger factories that would process of our rich resources, thus adding value and creating employment for our people.
Mr Kapris will be leading a delegation to China end of month to draw down on the loan.