PNG Government eyes six special economic zones

Papua New Guinea Government wants to license six special economic zones (SEZs) this year, says PNG International Trade and Investment Minister Richard Maru.

Maru said that these SEZs would be licensed on merit by the SEZ Authority.

“The lowest hanging fruits were Rigo Rice in the Central manufacturing zone which is being developed by Kumul Petroleum Holdings Ltd (KPHL); the Lae Port SEZ which is being developed by PNG Ports; Pacific Maritime Industrial Zone (PMIZ) in Madang; and, a log processing SEZ in Central,” he said.

City of Port Moresby, Photo by 

“We are also keen to see the Central Limestone SEZ project start this year.

“We will focus on these and we will also work to progress other SEZs around the country,” he said.

Maru said that the SEZ summit held in Port Moresby last week was a platform for everyone to know what the SEZ concept was about.

“Now that everyone has been educated during the summit on the licensing conditions to obtain an SEZ licence from the regulator, the SEZ Authority, we will now work with the potential SEZs to meet the license conditions,” he said.

Maru said that despite several failed attempts in Papua New Guinea to establish SEZs over the past 30 years, the current Government was confident that with better planning and support from partners like the Japanese Development Institute and the SEZ Authority of the Philippines, the country could build successful SEZs.

He said that lessons learned from other successful countries as well as those domestically would be used to ensure that the SEZ concept was implemented and monitored effectively.

“We are confident that we can deliver up to six SEZs this year,” he said.

“This will be the start of the transformation of our economy in a way that no other vehicle has helped us to transform.

“And riding on the experience and success of other countries.

“We are working to finalise the PNG SEZ policy.

“This is a comprehensive revised regulatory framework and the 10-year SEZ Development Plan.”

Maru added that the three key policy documents would also be presented to the Government by next month.

He also said that a key challenge for the Government to implement such development initiatives was the mobilisation of customary land.

“We need the Department of Lands and Physical Planning (DLPP) to have an office and structure set up to support landowners,” he said.

Maru added that the landowners needed to get bankable State titles of their own land using the successful Tuhava Town model (Moresby’s west harbour), so that the landowners can be partners in the SEZ development.


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