PNG Government vows to keep promises in assisting Smaller Pacific Islands Nations

While much of the focus and criticism was placed around the influence Australia and New Zealand as big aid donors in the region, little is really known about Papua New Guinea’s financial assistance in the region.

A little known fact that Prime Minister James Marape said was where PNG help, in its own little way, to its smaller pacific neighbours.

Marape said this when asked, during the Pacific Islands Forum on PNG’s bilateral meetings held with forum members. Aid from PNG that continues with its bilateral meet with Solomon Islands, whereMarape also affirmed and pledged K40 million (SBD$150m) for the Pacific Games to be held in Honiara in 2023.

“The previous government made a commitment of K100 million(US$29.4 million) to assist them, if my memory is not wrong around 2014 or 2015 so I think we have given them K60 million(US$17.6 million) already so K40 million(US$11.7 million) is outstanding so we will try to assist them as they try to host the Pacific Games four years from now so that is our commitment to them and you know once you have committed you have to live up to your word.

“I’ve basically told (Solomon Islands) prime minister (Manasseh Sogavare) where there is an area of investment you want, if the game is the area of investment we will offer you support,” Marape said.

He said while PNG is not in the league of giving a lot, it also has a duty as the bigger brother in the Pacific to help other lesser pacific nations around it. “It doesn’t hurt to give a little bit to them, but in the context of helping brothers in the region, but first and foremost responsibility comes to our citizens, and our government will take stock of commitments in the region former regimes have made.

“We will retire them (commitments to the region) fully and we will also work to ensure that our own people we transfer our resources not in port Moresby but outside Port Moresby into our regional economies,” he said.

Asked about PNG’s role also in food security for the region,Marape said while PNG’s focus is on commercialising its fresh produce to the Asian region, there will come a time when the issue of food would be one of bilateral nature with the onset of climate change.

“The market here (Tuvalu) is small, but into the future it will not be about commerce but more about bilateral and helping our Pacific neighbours that we will be helping.

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