Cheapest APEC meet in history, claims PM

PNG is hosting one of the cheapest APEC leaders meeting in the history of APEC, says Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

The PM, in addressing APEC support staff at the International Convention Centre on November 12th, also said APEC gives PNG the opportunity to access trade and investment among the APEC economies.

PNG’s cost of hosting APEC has been debated far and wide, from parliament to concerned taxpayers.

Moresby North-West MP, Sir Mekere Morauta, recently called on Prime Minister O’Neill to come clean on the total cost of APEC spending.

Morauta said: “Public money is not his to do with as he pleases, wasting it on luxury cars and private parties for his cronies. People have a right to know how their money is spent, and that right is backed by the law.

“According to the Public Finances (Management) Act, Section 47K, the APEC Authority must be audited by the Auditor-General. But there is no record of any audit.”

However, while addressing APEC support staff, the PM said PNG is going to host one of the cheapest APEC leaders meeting in the history of APEC.

“When we went to China, China spent close to 20 billion dollars, US, but we are going to spend well below K1 billion, which is US$300m, so it’s not as expensive as people are saying because everybody in the APEC economies knows our capacity, they know our limitations, that is why they are supporting us.”

He further pointed out that PNG is the only country in the Pacific who is a member of the APEC economies.

“We have a responsibility to the rest of the Pacific islands…. APEC an enabler for the country, by accessing what many of these countries have. They have the biggest capacity to invest.”

Meanwhile the APEC leaders’ week kicked off yesterday, with the two days concluding Senior Officials Meetings that will end today.

Sally Pokiton