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Fisheries to generate K600m for PNG government

The National Fisheries Authority is ready to implement a rebate scheme that is expected to raise almost K600 million for the government this year.
Under the scheme, approved by the National Executive Council late last year, all fishing companies will pay the full access fee to fish in PNG waters.
PNG flagged foreign boats which normally enjoy a discount to fish in PNG’s EEZ because they were linked to onshore processors will no longer enjoy those generosities.
The government had learnt that most of the fish caught in PNG waters are instead shipped overseas for processing, creating employment overseas rather than in PNG, and increasing revenue and export dollars for those countries.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill slammed the brakes last year, getting the National Executive Council to approve the rebates scheme to be implemented in full this year.
With distant water vessels and PNG flagged vessels all paying about the same price (Vessel Day Scheme price), the government expects to raise K600 million in revenue.
But those fishing boats that land their catch onshore for processing in the six processing plants in PNG will be entitled to receive a rebate, calculated at around US$400 (K1292.39) per metric tonne.
The NFA will calculate the rebate to be paid based on production data obtained from the processors.
“So the fishing companies will receive the rebates from the processors which process the fish they land, and not directly from the NFA. NFA will only pay the processors,” a source said.
Experts employed by the national government fixed the rebates cost after receiving information and data from the fishing industry relating to the costs of doing business in PNG.
NFA boss John Kasu confirmed the latter however said a proper statement will be made at a later date.
The office of the Prime Minister also confirmed the details as per the report and said this was a very good initiative that would boost the economy of PNG.
“These operators have complained about high cost of doing business in PNG, poor infrastructure, unreliable power supply, and high labour cost. They have used these as excuses to send their catches overseas for processing, mainly in Philippines and Thailand,” the PM’s office issued.
“On top of that they have been paying far less to fish in our EEZ. Under the Rebates Scheme, they will pay the full price to fish, but if they land the fish onshore, they get reimbursed the costs they always complain of, through the rebate payments,” they said.
Individuals representing the fishing companies have complained that they were not consulted in the process.
But in a meeting between fishing industry representatives, NFA management, and other government officials in Lae last week, all stakeholders agreed to work together to make the scheme work.
NFA staff members who will be responsible for monitoring and collating fishing landing and processing data at the factories, have undergone training overseen by the experts who put together the Scheme.
The NFA has allocated almost K100 million for the rebates scheme..
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