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IndyWatch PNG Politics Feed was generated at Pacific News IndyWatch.

Wednesday, 15 August

22:00

Aid and defence "IndyWatch Feed Politics.pg"

During the height of the aid boom, back in 2012, my then-colleague Ben Reilly complained that Australia was spending too much on aid and not enough on defence. We were on our way, Ben complained, to becoming an aid powerhouse and a military minnow. How times change. As the graph below shows, we are now on track to hit a record high defence-to-aid ratio. We have already increased that ratio from $6 on defence to every one for aid back in 2012 (when Ben was complaining about it, and when it was at a historical low) to $8.60 last year, the third highest ever. If the budget projections are followed through with, in 2020 the ratio will reach ten-to-one, and it will keep climbing.

The ratio of Australian government defence to foreign aid spending

In 2012, we were the 11th most committed OECD defence spender (measured in terms of defence-to-GDP), and the 13th most generous aid donor (aid-to-GNI). We are now the seventh most committed defence spender, but only the 19th most generous aid donor. Its embarrassing.

In dollar terms, aid and defence have been going in very different directions for the last five years. Adjusting for inflation, the defence budget has grown by one-third over this period; the aid budget has been cut by one-quarter.

Aid and defence spending ($ billion, 2018 prices)

...

00:16

B-MOBILE IS A MAJOR EMBARRASSMENT RAISES DATA RATES AFTER MERGER "IndyWatch Feed Politics.pg"

by VINCENT MOSES
Government owned telco, Bmobile, provided the biggest embarrassment for Papua New Guineas APEC aspirations for greater digital access and an inclusive economy.
It did this by doubling and tripling data rates for its new merger acquired Telikom 4G network. Since taking over APEC responsibilities, Papua New Guinea, has been echoing the call by APEC member states for a shared future of greater digital access. For the Papua New Guinean, it meant cheaper mobile data costs enabling the development of e-commerce, better disaster reporting and poverty alleviation through the digital economy.

In terms of affordability PNG ranked 163rd out of 169 countries in 2013 according to the International Telecommunications Union, the National Research Institute (NRI) said in a discussion paper titled Why are internet prices high in PNG?
It is against this backdrop of high prices that Telikom's previously low data packages were important and essential to realise PNG's APEC aspirations.

In pre-merger 2017, when Telikom and Digicel expanded their 4G networks, SMEs felt encouraged to embrace the digital future. In that short period, empirical evidence showed a marked increase in high definition professional and user generated video content. There was also an evidential shift in favorable attitudes towards the perceived older player in the industry Telikom.
Where was Bmobile? According to PNG Maths Blogspot which also comments on communications related topics, Bmobile worked on reviving its struggling state.
The partnership with Vodafone gave it the much needed oxygen. Today it needs another major CPR.
That CPR came in the form of the merger which has given it an additional 4G network as well as user rights to Telikoms infrastructure. While the government has explained the proposed restructure in terms of a wholesale-retail concept, the move has also stripped away an important growing revenue source for the Telikom.

Then in one blow, Bmobile destroyed the credibility of Telikom 4G while at the same time levelling the competition playing field upwards. The move has also put previously affordable data bundles out of reach for many Papua New Guineans.

The flow on effect? Higher costs and a loss of credibility for the PNG Government in the face of APEC countries talking wider access and lower...

Tuesday, 14 August

22:41

Construction Work Halted on Site of Fraudulent SABLs "IndyWatch Feed Politics.pg"

Fraudulent SABLs that the government has failed to cancel despite the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry are still causing conflict and injustice - see stories below.

This is what the Commission of Inquiry said about the SABL over Portions 2465C and 2466C.  

There was misrepresentation and fraud involved in the whole process [Report p164]

Landowner signatures were forged in a criminal act [p150].

The whole process was riddled with defects and flaws [p157] and it was obvious that officers from DLPP [including] Romily Kila-Pat deliberately decided to ignore and by-pass the existing protocols and practices [p153].

Those responsible must be held accountable for their unlawful conduct and actions [p165]

Read more about the CoI findings.

STOP ILLEGAL LAND GRABBING: LOCALS

Source: Grace Auka Salmang, Post Courier

Enough is enough, was the plea made by landowners of Papa and Lealea villages of Caution Bay, Hiri during a peaceful protest on their land.

The locals peacefully fronted up at the Konekaru site yesterday where a construction was taking place and demanded the workmen conducting the earthworks to stop and move out of their customary land.

Chairman of the Papa delegation committee Pastor Joseph Baeau said several calls through peaceful protests have been made and yet controversial acquisition of land portion 2465C, 2466C and 2485C portions in Konekaru area still continuing.

There is no respect for the law. The subject land portion 2465C and this title where Konekaru Holdings Limited (KHL) and CJ Ventures Limited is holding is illegal, according to a commission of inquiry findings.

Mr Baeau and his committee are calling on Lands and Physical Planning Minister Justin Tkatchenko and his customary land advisory committee to fast track the COI recommendations, stop further illegal land grabbing and remove aliens from Papa customary land....

22:00

Papua New Guineas disappearing resource revenues "IndyWatch Feed Politics.pg"

Government revenues from Papua New Guineas mining, oil and gas sector have essentially dried up. With the ongoing effects of the devastating earthquake in Hela province, the eruption of election-related violence in the Southern Highlands, a significant budget shortfall, and a foreign exchange crisis driving business confidence down, the resources of the government are severely stretched and the massively expensive APEC meeting looms in November.

In this context, the drop in government revenue from the resource sector is staggering, and accounts in significant part for the growing fiscal stress. Figure 1 shows the extent of the issue: in 2006-2008, according to BPNG figures, the government collected more than K2 billion annually from the sector by way of taxes and dividends, on mineral exports that had just topped K10 billion for the first time. In 2017, the figure is just K400 million on exports of K25 billion a revenue reduction of more than 80% in the same time that exports have increase by 150%! Government dividends and corporate taxes made up just 1.6% of the value of exports in 2017 (and that was a significant increase over 2015 and 2016). If we take the long-term average share of the value of exports that the government has received (at a little over ten percent), this points to a potential hole of at least K8 billion over the past four years, an amount that would go a long way to covering the current fiscal deficit.

Figure 1

Source: BPNG. Resource revenues are defined as MRSF receipts, that is, the receipts that used to go into the Mineral Resource Stabilisation fund. Even though the MRSF no longer exists, BPNG still records resource revenues, which include corporate tax and dividend payments from resource companies.

There are some precedents for the rapid drop in government revenues from the sector, as Figure 1 show. In 1990 and 1991 just as the resources boom triggered by the Porgera gold mine and oil production at the Kutubu oilfield began revenues collapsed, largely due to the closure of the Bougainville copper mine in 1989; and again, briefly in 2009 due to the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008. But neither of these has been as deep or as sustained as the current hole.

A full explanation of the...

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