Gov’t blamed for closing projects

Former Deputy Prime Minister, Charles Abel has blamed the Government for not having a proactive economic plan causing unnecessary sufferings on the people.

He said the closure of major projects in the country is affecting the country’s economy.  

“We had a lot of these projects that were ready to go but it’s been two years now and a lot of money could have helped the economy if Porgera didn’t shut down.

“Porgera could have been renegotiated easily. They offered us 60 per cent of the take and an additional 15 per cent equity and they also offered us additional royalty.

“My intentions in the negotiation was to rely on free equity and royalty and not buying more equity. However, instead we have taken a year for the mine closed, and negotiated a net take of 53 per cent.

“But to get the 53 per cent, we have to buy additional 36 per cent equity at commercial price. So we have to get that money somewhere.”

He explained that the Government is trying to get vendor finance to pay for the 36 per cent equity which means the company will lend that to us and we will be making loan repayments in the future.

“On top of that, as 51 percent owner of the mine, we have to contribute 51 per cent of the start-up cost to get the mine going again. Its worrying because who knows when the mine will start.”

Mr Abel claimed that the cost of shutting down the mine and the renegotiated terms were worse on top of what we have to pay them.

“We could have owned the 60 per cent without paying anything and let the mine continue its operations because the consequence is that we have a big hole.

“It’s just a matter of having a proactive plan so Papua New Guineans would not suffer unnecessarily,” he said.

“We are going begging to the IMF and World Bank. These institutions are established to help countries that cannot help themselves.

“But we have all these resources.

“When I went out negotiating for the sovereign bond, the first ever PNG sovereign bond, we did it on commercial terms standing on our own feet.

“It’s Papua New Guinea using or leveraging its resources and standing on its own feet. Not going and begging.

“So, when you talked about PNG standing and being independent and Take back PNG, that’s what it’s about.”

“How do we get ourselves independent based on our resources and not closed resources down and closed the economy down and go begging other people for money.

“I don’t think that really is independent but we’ve been dependent on others.”

Mr Abel said there are lot of opportunity sitting on the table and if only the Government can progress these projects quickly, there will be huge stimulus economy.

Freddy Mou