Private sector capital key to PNG growth

Business, Normal

The National, Thursday July 18th, 2013

 PAPUA New Guinea’s economic growth will benefit significantly from further private sector investment, according to Australian Trade Minister Richard Marles.

Marles is in Port Moresby for talks with government officials and business leaders on boosting trade between Australia and PNG.

He told Radio Australia that further improving bilateral trade and investment would benefit both countries, with some of the results already visible.

“I haven’t been here for eight months but just in that short period of time you can really notice a difference in terms of construction around town, building of shopping malls, infrastructure in terms of roads,” he said.

“All of this is flowing through to the way in which people are experiencing life here.”

Marles also said the US$19 billion (K42.6 billion) PNG LNG project is a good example of the improving economic relationship between the two countries.

“This is a project which has already seen Australian companies win A$3 billion (K6 billion) worth of contracts,” he said.

He said the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund will be important for ensuring PNG receives a “social dividend” from the project.

Marles said the country has had resources projects in the past, he highlighted that the problem has been that the benefits of those have not been distributed widely enough within the population.

“We will be talking about the PACER Plus negotiations which are going on in the region, and offer an opportunity to really build,” he said. – Australia Network