DCA to save economy: PM

The Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) with USA aims to save and improve PNG’s economy.

Prime Minister James Marape outlined this during a breakfast session with the Lae business community on Thursday, May 25th.

During that time, he gave a brief overview of his visit to the University of Technology the previous evening to address concerns regarding the PNG-US Defence Cooperation Agreement.

PM Marape clarified that the DCA is nothing new, alluding to the Defence (Visiting Forces) Act 1975, which sets out the basis on which defence forces of friendly countries, together with certain civilian support staff, may be in PNG. The Act also provides for the State to enter into agreements with other countries in this regard.

PNG has signed defence cooperation agreements with Indonesia and Australia.

Marape said the DCA, including other government deals, are all interlinked to save and improve PNG’s economy.

“At the very earliest, we want to push the economy to a K200 billion economy. At that threshold, we will sustain the population growth that has been happening consistently above 3 percent for the last 48 years, yet the economy has not been above 3 percent.

“If you look at three percent as a cutoff figure, three percent and above, that is where our population has been growing.”

Marape further divulged that the deal to bring USA’s military support in aims to also address domestic security issues.

“With the DCA we’ve signed, we’ve also signed an agreement called the ‘Shiprider Agreement’ with the US Navy.

“For the first time now, we will have the ability to monitor what is happening in our seas.

“A lot of illegal fishing going on, we now have that capacity to know what is going on in our seas to stop those illegal fishing and hopefully bring home the fish.”

He assured the private sector that his government does not operate on an ad hoc basis, but through ‘layers of scrutiny’ and due diligence.

Marape was in Lae for two days this week.

He arrived on Wednesday, May 24th, and addressed the Tutumang Haus assembly – becoming the first Prime Minister to do so in Morobe Province.

The next day, he had a breakfast session with the business community at the Lae Yacht Club.