By ISAAC NICHOLAS
PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare yesterday admitted PNG was not ready for the challenges the PNG LNG project was bringing.
Addressing the staff of his department during a Christmas party, he said there were jobs this project was creating or bringing which the Government could not provide.
“We have not trained our people for the projects which will require between 8,000 and 10, 000 workers,” Sir Michael said of the PNG LNG project, and the second one in the Gulf province.
The Prime Minister said ExxonMobil had gone out and asked for 500 drivers to be provided for the project.
“How do we get 500 drivers in a day?”
He said the developer of the project was looking for the same number of mechanics, plumbers, welders and carpenters, giving exciting opportunities for Papua New Guineans.
Sir Michael said that he was also looking forward to witnessing the signing of the InterOil led LNG project that would take place today.
Sir Michael said the first LNG project was going ahead with ExxonMobil and the result was expected to be seen around 2014 when so much money would be flowing into the country.
“How can we plan to use these monies?”
He said the Government was planning on setting up a sovereign fund to capture surplus revenue from the project so this can be used 50-60 years down the line when the resources were depleted.
Sir Michael said there were a lot of challenges in the next few years and now was the time to reconcile within the family unit for Christmas before tackling the challenges ahead.
He gave a thumbs-up for the PNG Vision 2050, saying it sets the road-map in which the country will take in the next 40 years and called on public servants, including staff of the Prime Minister’s Department and NEC to embrace and make the vision work.
He said the challenge now was for the two major LNG project and other new mining operations coming on board that will need huge manpower.
Sir Michael said with the new mining operations coming into production, a huge challenge on the manpower level in the country would be seen.