By GYNNIE KERO
THE Government has been advised to exempt the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) from “unfriendly laws and policies” to allow it to move into the business world.
Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Dr Lino Tom said with its 10-year plan, the NFA was keen to operate as a company, provided it was exempted from the Public Money Management Regularisation Act and the National Procurement Act.
“This is not to compete with the private sector,” he said.
Dr Tom said it would encourage more foreign investment and encourage local participation.
He was speaking during the presentation of the Fisheries Strategic Plan (2021-2030) in Port Moresby last month. “The (fisheries) sector has huge potential and if harnessed properly can bring in billions of kina of revenue into our economy, and help transform the lives of our people,” he said.
“We own the resources yet we become rent-seekers.
“Our (NFA) hands have been cuffed off by unfriendly government policies and legislations.
“This plan seeks to unlock the restraining cuffs and allows us to go into the commercial space.”
The country’s fisheries zone of 2.4 million square kilometres is the largest in the South Pacific region, according to the NFA.
The zone includes an extended reef system, numerous islands and an extensive coastline.
These create a huge opportunity but also present an enormous challenge for monitoring and control. The exports of fish and fishery products from PNG, in terms of quantity, has continued to increase annually over the last five years.
All fish and fishery exports of PNG comprised tuna in the form of canned, frozen, dried meal; dried sea cucumber (bêche-de-mer), finfish, prawn and shrimp, sharkfin, lobster and crab.
NFA’s board chairman Ango Wangatau said between K600 million and K800 million in revenue was generated from fresh and processed tuna exports annually since 2015.
The country today accommodates six tuna processing plants whose combined investment is estimated to be around US$250 million (about K831 million) and growing.