Archive for November, 2007


Today, we are launching a national appeal the Halivim Wantok Disaster Appeal (the Appeal) to raise funds from corporate sector and the public at large for the Halivim Wantok Disaster Fund (the Fund) that will support disaster relief and restoration activities in Oro province and other affected areas in the wake of the catastrophic floods.

The Appeal is being launched today and will run for the next three weeks. The Fund will act as the collection point for both corporate and public donations.  The Fund will then disburse the monies collected to the most effective entities that are assisting the survivors of the Oro floods. 

The Fund is intended to have minimal administrative and overhead costs – most of these will be borne by in-kind support of corporate donors (eg. Toll-free numbers donated by Telikom PNG, advertising space donated by print media and radio stations, accounting services will be donated, etc).

The Fund will be kicked off by corporate donors and then public contributions.  It is intended that corporate donors with points of presence around the country will also agree to use those points of presence as collection points (eg. Telikom business offices around PNG, bank branches, etc) and employees of those companies will also assist in the fundraising drive. 

Governance of the Appeal and the Fund

It is important the fund be overseen by a Governing Committee that lends credibility, integrity, transparency and experience to the fundraising process.  It has to be a Governing Committee that the public at large has confidence in to make sure that their donations get used effectively to help the people. 

The Governing Committee will be chaired by Sir Rabbie Namaliu.  A former Prime Minister and a person of impeccable integrity and standing, both in PNG and abroad, and will lead the Governing Committee. 

If you are from a company or a group that wishes to make a donation, or if you would like to assist the fundraising drive, please contact either of the following –
Executive Director, Anthony Smare
Mobile: 6837531
Executive Officer, Michaelyn Iewago
Mobile: 674 4630
Postal Address:
P.O.Box 851
Port Moresby  NCD
Papua New Guinea
Halivim Wantok Disaster Appeal
24 hour Toll-free number:

Telephone:   18003999
If you have money you wish to deposit, please deposit into the following account at the ANZ Bank

Bank:                    ANZ Bank
Account Name:     “PriceWaterhouseCoopers – Halivim Wantok Disaster Appeal”
Account number12916791


THE majority of workers in the country will find more money to spend in their pay packets after the Government announced tax relief in the 2008 Budget.

Treasury and Finance Minister Patrick Pruaitch yesterday unveiled a record K8.9 billion money plan for 2008, which included tax relief for both workers and businesses.

Handing down the 2008 Budget, “Empowering the people of Papua New Guinea”, in Parliament yesterday afternoon, Mr Pruaitch said personal income tax threshold had been increased from K6,600 to K7,000.
He also announced a reduction in marginal rate of income tax from 25%-22% for people earning between K7,000 and K18,000 a year.This means, for example, a worker earning K18,000 per annum or above would receive a tax cut of K430 per year.

Business will also get relief with the Government’s continued effort to address impediments to doing business by abolishing stamp duties on borrowings, bills of lading, incorporation of companies, and, insurance policies.In addition, the Government will abolish the debits tax currently collected by banks as a small charge on every debt they processed.
This will benefit business and workers who operate bank cards to draw cash or do transactions.
Civil servants, as a result of the new wages agreement negotiated with Public Employees Association, will receive a general wage increase amounting to more than K1,000 a year together with other non-monetary benefits.

The 2008 Budget provides for total expenditure and net lending of K6.99 billion or 35.5% of GDP.
This includes total recurrent expenditure of K3.636 billion or 18.4% of GDP and a total development expenditure of K1.88 billion. Personnel emoluments again takes out the bulk of the recurrent expenditure with K1.5 billion due to increase in school teacher numbers, industrial awards for health officers, superannuation contributions and increase in staffing.

According to the total Government expenditure, total payments including total expenditure and net lending of K6.99 billion, amortization K1.99 billion and loan repayment of K4 billion brings the total expenditure to K8.99 billion.

The Government announced a whooping increase of K3 billion to the National Budget to around K8.4 billion. This is a record breaking budget ever since impendence and it brings a smile to all ministers and members of the Parliament.

Each district has been allocated K10 million which was raised from K1.5 million to K3 million earlier this month. The K10 million for each district seems too good to be true and each district now is preparing to use this money as the next year budget will also be K10 million if the current government stays on.

While PNG is smiling, I am screwing my face behind this computer as my economic senses are being put to test here. I welcome the budget so much…..yet somehow I feel there may be a problem that could be creeping in if our financial planners are not careful.

The problem I see is “Demand Pull Inflation”. Now let me try as much as possible to explain it in a layman’s term. Demand Pull Inflation refers to increase in Inflation due to an increase in demand in the economy. Because there is a lot of money pumped into the economy to be used in a short period of time, there will be a shortage of goods or services to meet the demand. Now because too much money is chasing so few goods, the price of that good will increase.

According to keynesian theory, the more firms will employ people, the more people are employed, and the higher aggregate demand will become. This greater demand will make firms employ more people in order to output more. Due to capacity constraints, this increase in output will eventually become so small that the price of the good will rise

Example: A bag of rice cost K3 at a local village store. Suddenly, 10 villagers who earns money front up to the shop to buy the rice for K3, but since there are only 5 packets of rice available, not all 10 will buy it. And since the shop owner wants to maximize his profit, he will raise the price to K5 to meet the demand.

This is commonly described as “too much money chasing too few goods”. More accurately, it should be described as involving “too much money spent chasing too few goods”, since only money that is spent on goods and services can cause inflation. This would not be expected to persist over time due to increases in supply, unless the economy is already at a full employment level.


Govt to announce K8.4b budget

THE 2008 Budget is a whopping K8.4 billion, K3 billion more than the previous budget and a record-breaking money plan since Independence.
The budget was supposed to have been handed down this afternoon but has been deferred to next week due to problems associated with the frequent power blackouts in the city, according to Secretary for Treasury Simon Tosali.
Mr Tosali told the Post-Courier yesterday the power blackouts had caused the computer systems some technical problems which had affected the figures and needed information technology people to correct the fault.
He said the system was being worked on and it was hoped to have the budget ready for next Tuesday.
On November 6, Mr Tosali took out a paid advertisement in the Post-Courier advising of the Budget lock-up to be held today at 10.30am. In the notice, he also said there were to be only two representatives from each organisation and that no phone calls would be allowed.
The unofficial budget figure was released by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Wabag MP Sam Abal in Wabag on Friday at the opening of the Bank South Pacific’s new building in that centre.
Mr Abal announced there would be a K8.4 billion budget. The Somare Government’s 2007 budget was about K5.4 billion.
The director of the Institute of National Affairs, Paul Barker said the real budget for 2007 was K5.4 billion but the temporary borrowings increased it to about K7.7 billion after the supplementary budgets were handed down.
Mr Barker said the same may have been said with this figure where the actual budget may be around K5 billion but the temporary borrowings like last year may have increased the figure to that amount



On the morning of September 19, 1994, two volcanic cones – Vulcan and Tavurvur – began erupting on the opposite side of the harbour from the town. This was a powerful eruption!  

Ash fell all over the town and was first reported to be 20-25 cm (8-10 inches) deep, and it later was as much as 75 cm deep (about two feet). Heavy rains turned the ash into mud that fianlly dried to be nearly as hard as cement. The roofs of many buildings collapsed from the weight of the ash.  A small lava flow came from a vent near Tavurvur and flowed slowly for about 25 days.

Also, some of the clouds of ash eruptions collapsed back on themselves and a mixture of ash and gases flowed rapidly down the side of the volcanoes and out into the bay.  The eruptions declined in strength, and by Oct. 2, Vulcan was no longer erupting; Tavurvur continued throughout October and November.  

Despite the great danger of this eruption, only five people died; four from collapses of roofs, and one person was struck by lightning. The reason so few people were hurt is that volcanologists at Rabaul had been expecting an eruption someday. They had educated the people of Rabaul to the dangers of volcanic eruptions and even practiced eruption drills – sort of like fire drills in a school. When intense earthquakes started the night before the eruption, the volcanologists and government officials evacuated nearly all of the town people before the eruption started.  

This was a tremendous success for science, for that night and the next few days, nearly 50,000 people were removed from a place of great danger to safety. Rabaul did not become a great tragedy, but was a great triumph! 

Watching the events on TV or reading it on paper was one thing but to actually be there and to see the plight of the people living in now the “ghost town” is another.  

Walking down Mango Avenue and to the old Rabaul Airport, my heart leaps for the villages. Children playing in the dust……I wonder if any of them have seen the REAL Rabaul in its beauty????? 

I promised Rabaul “I will NEVER forget” 


What is competition?

Yesterday, I was walking downtown and I came across two street vendors selling top-up cards. One was selling prepaid cards for b’mobile and the other flex card for digicel. They both sat together and was doing their business without even an argument and it just prompt me to write something about competition.

 Competition (according to the Wikipedia online encyclopedia) is the rivalry of two or more parties over something. Competition occurs naturally between living organisms which coexist in an environment with limited resources. For example, animals compete over water supplies, food, and mates. In addition, humans compete for recognition, wealth and entertainment. Competition can be remote, as in a free throw contest, or antagonistic, as in a standard basketball game. These contests are similar, but in the first one players are isolated from each other, while in the second one they are able to interfere with the performance of their competitors. Competition gives incentives for self improvement. If two watchmakers are competing for business, they will lower their prices and improve their products to increase their sales. If birds compete for a limited water supply during a drought, the more suited birds will survive to reproduce and improve the population. Rivals will often refer to their competitors as “the competition”, and the term competition can also be used as to refer to a contest or tournament. 

Now consider the current “Mobile War” between Digicel and Telikom, Digicel has truly lived up to the definition of a competitor by heavily investing into its marketing strategy and be a player in the mobile industry. They have practically gone down to the lowest level in the community to involved street vendors.

The funny thing is, Telikom is not trying to compete at all, they only want to sit-back and protect their investment. This poses a threat as they may be over-run by a bigger competitor who is moving with momentum. When face in such situation, Telikom should not sit-back………they need to also compete thus looking to invest more and invest strategically.

Freedom of the Press

Posted: November 5, 2007 in Citizenship, Information, Politics

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without inveive, and impart information and ideas through many media regardless of frontiers” 

It applies not just to a single person’s right to publish ideas, but also to the right of print and broadcast media to express political views and to cover and publish news. A free press is, therefore, one of the foundations of a democratic society, and as Walter Lippmann, the 20th-century American columnist, wrote, “A free press is not a privilege, but an organic necessity in a great society.” Papua New Guinea as a signatory to the UN charter has an obligation to uphold the basic right to freedom of expression of an individual.

And this right goes hand-in-hand with the freedom of the press, that one could publish their ideas, thoughts or knowledge on any forms of media. So how does one balance “freedom of the press” with “independence of Inquiry” most especially when you dealing with sensitive issues? The Moti Inquiry has tested a lot of laws in Papua New Guinea including the Human Rights declaration especially the one relating to the “freedom of the press”.

I’ve read with keen interest the infamous moti report and I have found it to be bias in more than one ways. Most especially, the counsel in charge already is making predictions while the report was not finalized yet. Its interesting, but this kind of public statements has a lot of bearing on the final outcome of the inquiry. It just tells everyone, that they should not proceed with the inquiry because they already have found their culprit. 

So what happens now to “You innocent unless proven guilty?” Well, certainly, it this case, Somare was already guilty while the Inquiry is trying to prove him guilty. That’s according to how things were conducted. It seems Somare was prejudged already. Amazing!! 

Now, this pre-judgment has backed fired and the courts is taking a step to protect the inquiry by banning all reports of the moti case. I believe, the good counsel heading the Moti Inquiry should have kept his mouth shut before the Inquiry completes its findings. In addition, he should also be banned from reading any materials from the press untill the Inquiry completes its job. Maybe next time, we can isolate all Inquiry staff from the outside world untill the Inquiry is complete.

Kapi to name judges to hear contempt case

CHIEF Justice Sir Mari Kapi is following up on a public warning against discussion of the Moti board of inquiry case.
Sir Mari, who heads the National and Supreme Court system, is setting up a Supreme Court bench to take up the issue of contempt of court in the Moti matter.
This was announced in a statement from the Chief Justice published today.
On Friday, the court registrar, Ian Augerea, issued a public notice in the daily newspapers on behalf of the Chief Justice and all judges, declaring public discussion of the Moti inquiry legalities to be subjudice.
This is a legal concept where publication of matter has a real risk of interfering with the administration of justice in proceedings that are pending.
The registrar’s notice last week said “the latest public comments and media releases may amount to contempt of court’’ and said public discussions on the Moti case were to cease immediately.
In today’s notice, Mr Augerea says the Minister for Defence has acted in defiance of the warning, issuing a “detailed statement’’ in the Sunday Chronicle newspaper issue of last Saturday. The statement, he says, is on issues that may be the subject of appeal pending before the Supreme Court.
“The Chief Justice is empanelling a Supreme Court bench to immediately take up the issue of contempt of court which appears to be continuing,’’ Mr Augerea says in the notice.
Last week, the registrar said the Moti inquiry report had become the subject of review by the National Court. Justice Bernard Sakora had dismissed the judicial review on September 12.
Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, the Prime Minister, had filed an appeal against the decision on October 19, Mr Augerea said.
Military officers Alois Tom Ur and Vagi Oala had also filed an appeal and both appeals were pending hearing by the court.
The matter was now subjudice, the registrar said then, and all issues were under “judicial consideration’’.
Therefore comments by the public were prohibited, he said.
“Continuation of publication or discussion may be regarded as seeking to influence the Supreme Court,’’ the notice said.

Courts bar Moti debate

THE judiciary has taken the rare and possibly unprecedented step of warning that all public discussions of appeals before the courts on the Julian Moti inquiry have to stop.
Speaking on behalf of Chief Justice Sir Mari Kapi and “all judges’’, court registrar Ian Augerea said in a public notice that the Defence Force inquiry report on Moti was now “subjudice’’.
“All issues are under judicial consideration and therefore comments by public are prohibited,’’ he said in the notice which was published in the Post-Courier on Friday.
However judges are known to have expressed opinions on the Moti case in discussions with reporters.
The judges, acting separately, spoke to reporters and expressed their views on the condition that their names not be divulged.
Because of the registrar’s warning, the Post-Courier will not at this stage publish the nature of the judges’ views.
In a notice published on Friday, registrar Augerea issued the remarks speaking on behalf of the Chief Justice and all judges regarding media statements by Defence Minister Bob Dadae.
Mr Augerea said the Defence Force inquiry report on Moti had become the subject of a review by the National Court and Judge Bernard Sakora had dismissed the judicial review on September 12.
The Prime Minister, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, had filed an appeal against the decision with a notice of motion on October 19.
Captain Alois Tom Ur and Colonel Vagi Oala also filed an appeal against the decision on October 22.
Mr Augerea said the appeals had not been set down for hearing.
The appeals are challenging orders made in the National Court by Judge Bernard Sakora on September 12 dismissing an application which was seeking to declare void the establishment of the Defence Force board of inquiry which subsequently furnished a controversial report into the Moti Affair.
The registrar’s notice states: “The matter is now subjudice and all issues are under judicial consideration and therefore comments by public are prohibited.
“Continuation of publication or discussion may be regarded as seeking to influence the Supreme Court.
“The latest public comments and media releases may amount to contempt of court.
“Any further public discussions on the Moti case is to cease immediately,’’ he said.
The Moti affair, as it has come to be known, became controversial when Indian-born Australian citizen Julian Moti was arrested when he arrived in Port Moresby last year.
Moti was transiting PNG on his way to the Solomon Islands.
Australian Federal Police worked with PNG police to arrest Mr Moti.
He was whisked out of the country on a Defence Force aircraft during the night and landed at a Solomons airstrip.
He was later appointed as the Solomons Attorney-General despite vigorous opposition from Australia, which has claimed Mr Moti is wanted for prosecution in a case involving alleged sexual offences against a Vanuatu child.