O’Neill vows stable industry climate

Business, Normal

The National, Wednesday 30th November 2011

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill told investors yesterday his government did not believe in use of confrontational and obstructive attitudes “to have our way” when dealing with foreign investors in the natural resources sector.
“We are committed to providing a stable and conducive environment for all stakeholders in the industry,” O’Neil said in a speech at a mining and petroleum seminar at the Gateway Hotel in Port Moresby yesterday.
“This includes provision of legislative predictability and stability of fiscal regimes.
“There is no immediate desire on the part of government to review existing mining and petroleum legislative and fiscal frameworks.
O’Neill said his government expected new investors and returning investors to respect companies that had taken the risk to invest and remain in Papua New Guinea for the long haul.
“Our government will not tolerate situations that will create Papua New Guinea as an undesirable and politically risky foreign investment destination.
“We invite everyone to come through the front door.
“We can all share fairly and equitably in the profits and benefits derived from development of mining, oil and gas projects.
O’Neill said enabling laws in both the mining and petroleum sector had already allowed for the State to acquire equity positions in all mining and petroleum projects. 
“As a nation we have exercised these obligations in the past, at present and we will do so in all future projects,” he said.
“In an environment where there is demand for more shareholding by various stakeholders, the government is committed to accommodating the demands within existing legislative provisions.
“No one should ever have the illusion and expectation to come here, take what they want and leave without giving back fair value to Papua New Guinea. 
O’Neill had reassured investors that his government was committed to fast-tracking and facilitating processes that would enable start-up of new ventures awaiting regulatory clearance and licence approvals.
“I note that most of our existing mines continue to fare well on the back of stable commodity prices.
“I also note that the multi-billion dollar LNG projects are moving along according to development plans by the respective companies leading their development.
“These are very strong positive development signals and our government is fully supportive of these projects.
“Our government is here to help.
O’Neill told investors: “We are your partners and we want to deliver our commitments and our obligations as is expected of a partner.
“We want to cut down on time loss, cost, wastage and government red-tape to ensure everyone is moving in a commonly desired direction to achieve our mutual interests,” he said.
“Although our government has been in office for less than four months and five months to go to the national election, we are focused on ensuring that our people and our country’s interest will be continued to be enhanced and protected.
“PNG has many challenges but there are many opportunities as well.
“For the first time in many years we are heading in the right direction.
“Please join us,” he said.