I SUPPORT Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane’s comment that PNG must quickly established diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The proposed bilateral relationship will not only offer the UAE PNG’s natural resources and potential investment opportunities but it will also bring a lot of opportunities and benefits for us.
Some of the following will be realised if there is bilateral ties:
* Business opportunities for UAE and PNG;
* Employment opportunities for many Papua New Guineans to work in the UAE;
* Social and cultural exchanges between both countries;
* Knowledge and skills transfer between both countries;
* Foreign remittance to PNG economy by Papua New Guineans working in the UAE;
* Increased tourism revenue for PNG;
* Educational opportunities; and
* Gateway to the other Middle East countries.
The establishment of an honorary consul will connect PNG with the Arab world.
This has been my prayer.
This is a golden opportunity and the government must follow up to make it a reality.
It would be sad if the government let this opportunity slip by its fingers.
I know many Papua New Guineans who have visited the UAE know the importance of having diplomatic ties established and how the relationship will bring about numerous benefits and opportunities.
This will also ease immigration hassle for Papua New Guineans at the Dubai international airport, or airports elsewhere in the Middle East.
From experience, many people in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Africa and the Middle East have no knowledge of Papua New Guinea.
Many people mistake Papua New Guinea as an African country.
Years ago, when I first set foot in Dubai, I had problems at the immigration.
I spent 12 hours waiting patiently before I was finally cleared for exit.
The challenge was complying with the airport immigration to process my work and residential permit.
In the absence of an honorary PNG consul, it is very hard for Papua New Guineans to get a work and residential permit.
As such, it is important for us to establish diplomatic ties as this will help us to conduct business or visit UAE.
As such, the suggestion by Sir Paulias makes sense.