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ANZ extends fee waiver for money transfers to Pacific

Latest figures show the value and volume of transfers made by ANZ customers to the Pacific has increased substantially on the same period last year.

In February 2021 ANZ Australia and New Zealand customers sent a combined volume of 8,761 International Money Transfers worth AUD$12m (US$9.2 million) – a 95 percent increase in volume and 33 percent increase in value compared with the same period last year.

Money sent back to the Pacific from overseas, known as remittances, can make up a large part of a Pacific household's disposable income - up to 25 percent.

New campaign to help Pacific islanders tackle online fraud and keep remittances flowing

The ‘Get Safe Online Pacific’ guidance provides essential tips and information for people across the Pacific to help make sure their experience of sending or receiving money overseas is successful, safe and economical.

Sending and receiving remittances to and from Pacific Island countries has become hugely important to the very survival of island nations throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the World Bank, in 2017 alone nearly 20% of Tonga’s GDP came from remittances.

Pacific Heads of Customs administrations pledge to work together

At the conclusion of the OCO Heads Annual Conference on October 20, themed “Working together to build a safer Blue Pacific”, leaders of Customs administrations in the region stated the loss in revenue collection for their governments due to the closure of borders as their biggest cost of COVID-19.

However, in addition to generating revenue for their governments, Customs administrations are increasingly being presented with other challenges such as the rise of illicit drugs, contraband goods and having to crew quarantine centers.

LINK PNG COMMENCES NEW SERVICES BETWEEN MOUNT HAGEN AND KIUNGA

The new service links Mount Hagen, an important transport and economic hub for the Highlands region, with the communities and economic developments centred around Kiunga, as well as with Port Moresby, aiding the movement of much needed necessities in terms of health, education and infrastructure materials to drive the governments’ agenda on economic growth and delivery of services to the wider rural communities.

UAE sends medical aid to Pacific Island countries in fight against COVID-19

The countries include Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Cook Islands, and Niue.

Commenting on the delivery, Abdulla Al Subousi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the UAE to Australia, said, "Today’s aid shipment to Pacific island countries reflects the UAE’s continued efforts to support and stand by these countries to contain the spread of COVID-19 by providing critical medical supplies and protection to strengthen the efforts of healthcare personnel."

Modern slavery rife in NZ and Pacific Islands, charity claims

The Walk Free report identifies cases of forced labour, commercial sexual exploitation of children, and forced marriage in the Pacific.

The report, Murky waters: A qualitative assessment of modern slavery in the Pacific region, said exploitation was fuelled by widespread poverty, migration, and the abuse of cultural practices.

COVID-19:Melanesian bubble 'not worth risk' to health

The economic strains caused by COVID-19 have prompted leaders of the five member countries of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Vanuatu, to discuss a potential bubble. 

At a leaders' meeting last week in Port Vila, Acting Director of the Secretariat, George Hoa'au, said a Five Point Sustainability Plan was being developed to help ensure members are resilient to the challenges. 

But commentator Elisapeci Waqanivala said that the discussion isn't providing enough details for people to be aware of its real intention.

Controller confirms 11th COVID-19 case for PNG

The latest confirmed patient, is a 26 year old female that resides in Port Moresby and is a close contact of Case 10.

The result was returned from the CPHL Laboratory in Port Moresby at 6:30pm on the 25th of June.

Deputy Controller, Dr Paison Dakulala reiterated that "people will not know that they have COVID-19, and may move around and most importantly being in an infectious state. This drives the importance of staying home when you have flu like symptoms, cough, body aches and fever.

PNG economy remains weak

This is according to the ANZ’s Economic Update report of PNG.

ANZ projects an impressive GDP of 3.5 percent for this year, however, says no one should be carried away, as this is all coming from a rebound in gas production following the earthquake-induced disruptions in 2018.

Released on December 17th, the ANZ report warns not to be misled by a strong GDP for 2019, stating the economy remains weak.

The report says the strong GDP is due to a rebound in gas production following the 2018 Highlands earthquake.

Tonga, PNG included in new Sevens Challenger Series

The men's and women's series kick-off in February with the aim of developing the next generation of rugby players and growing the popularity and participation of sevens around the world.

World Rugby chair Sir Bill Beaumont said: "We are thrilled to launch the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series in a pivotal year for rugby sevens ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games".