PORT MORESBY, (POST COURIER) - More jobs will be created in Papua New Guinea’s tuna industry following an instruction by the Prime Minister to review and ensure compliance with State Agreements for processors and fishing vessels in Papua New Guinea waters.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has been briefed by Fisheries Minister, Mao Zeming MP, and the National Fisheries Authority, on plans to end discounting on the sale of vessel days and licenses for vessels associated with PNG processors in 2018.
“Our State Agreements, when fully implemented, can generate an additional 16,000 jobs in our regional centres of Lae, Wewak, and Madang,” the Prime Minister said.
“Our tuna industry processing capacity is increasing we are now in a stronger position to ensure more tuna is landed on our shores to be processed for sale to overseas markets.
“The workforce in our tuna processing industry should be more than 24,000 direct jobs with related flow-on business in related sectors.
“We will ensure that our people are able to value-add by processing tuna in Papua New Guinea and earn more dollars from every fish that is caught in our waters.
“Under the plan I approved today, the NFA will immediately cease the current practice of discounting the sale price of the vessel days.
“The new system will see rebates only given to companies for fish that is processed in Papua New Guinea.
“This means all businesses that are fishing in our waters will be fully compliant with the State Agreements that they had agreed to and signed.
“The NFA has been instructed to finalise the plan for the sale of vessel days for 2018 and for this to be concluded by July this year.
“The benefits to our people and our economy are clear.
“An independent report for the NFA had found that less than 25% of fish caught in our waters is processed in Papua New Guinea.
“This is a loss to our economy of K350 million (US$93 million) in direct income and K500 million (US$156million) from missed taxes.
“In the past a number of these companies had minimal processing in in Papua New Guinea yet benefited substantially from discounted prices for fishing days and sent our fish away to get processed by our competitors in foreign countries.
“This will stop and we will work with industry partners to have Papua New Guineans process our fish.
“Our Government is taking firm measures to ensure officials enforce State Agreements for the benefit of our citizens and not for the benefit of foreign companies.”.