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Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says the government will continue to pursue the multi-million kina Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) project in Madang.
O’Neill said this while delivering his keynote address to the Pacific and global delegates, including policy makers and industry representatives.
The intent behind this project is to create a regional tuna processing hub for the Pacific region.
The Prime Minister said the funding arrangements were now in place and construction would commence soon affirming earlier announcements by the Minister for Trade Commerce and Industry, Wera Mori that the China Exim Bank had agreed to fund the new project plan with a K350 million (US$152m) concessional loan.
The project will be developed over 215 hectares (ha) of land, of which approximately 100 ha would host canneries and 115ha for residential and commercial purposes.
The Government expects the project will generate 30,000 jobs, and once fully developed, will house 10 tuna processing plants for tuna caught in PNG and the Pacific.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister assured that the government of PNG is committed to building the necessary support infrastructure, which besides the PMIZ, include facilities which will enable fishermen and women and processors to bring their fish into ports in a timely manner and have them processed at a reasonable cost.
He said the government was exploring funding options for the Wagang Port in Lae, Morobe province, which will be a dedicated fisheries port.
“We want this critical infrastructure to commence construction soon.”
Meanwhile, more than 200 delegates from the region and the world have converged on Port Moresby for the Sixth Pacific Tuna conference which got underway in Port Moresby.
The two day event is themed “Fostering Greater Social, Economic and Financial Benefits-Through Sustainable Management and Development of Tuna Resources.”
This bi-annual Pacific Tuna Forum is an initiative of the Papua New Guinea Government, through the National Fisheries Authority. It was first held in 2007, and this will be the third time PNG is hosting this event in Partnership with INFO-FISH and other regional fisheries management organisations.
This event was significant, as it coincides with the first ever Pacific Seafood and Technology Exposition.
This was highlighted by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill when he welcomed delegates to this premier regional event.
“Tuna is indeed the natural resource that binds the peoples and Governments of the Pacific Islands together. It is also the major revenue earner for many of our Governments in the Pacific, and for some, it is their single source of revenue.
“The importance placed on this resource cannot be overstated,” O’Neill said.
“This forum is a premier tuna industry meeting in the Pacific region.
“I welcome all policy makers, fishery managers, NGOs and industry leaders from around the world, who are with us here today.
“The theme resonates well with the theme of the 48th Pacific Islands Forum in Apia last week that is focused on sustainable development, management and conservation of the Blue Pacific,” he said.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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