April 2015

O’Neill woos visitors

Davendra Sharma

PETER O’Neill (pictured) wants Australian tourists to forgo Bali and head instead to Kokopo in Papua New Guinea. His plea comes just as Australian holiday thrill-seekers silently began a campaign to boycott Bali as a tourist stop last month because of fears of reprisals and being caught in drug trafficking ...

March 2015

Thumbs up for oil investors in PNG

Davendra Sharma

WORLD credit worthiness agencies gave Papua New Guinea a stable investment approvals rating last month prompting PNG’s LNG project operators to secure a new deal to add to their export plans and start supplying a clean source of gas and electricity for domestic use. PNG was in early February accorded ...

PNG rice anyone?

Davendra Sharma

RICE is as much a staple in Asia as perhaps taro and cassava are in the Pacific islands region. But in recent years with a rising Asian presence in the islands, rice has overtaken demand as a popular food amongst consumers. So much so that countries with strong Asian influence ...

February 2015

Pichler departs Fiji Airways after record breaking year

Samisoni Pareti

FIJI Airways Chief Executive Officer Stefan Pichler is leaving the airline after propelling them to a record breaking profit margin which is expected to exceed $60 million (US$29.14m) for the 2014 financial year. Pichler had wanted to stay in the job for four years. But a distress call from his ...

Travel grows despite global disasters

Davendra Sharma

EIGHT high-profile air disasters coupled with the catastrophic Ebola virus could not dampen tourist travel in 2014 with record number of tourists seeking leisure holidays abroad. International travel is forecast to rise by a further five per cent in 2015 with Asia being named as the source for most outbound ...

Protected fisheries area to impact Kiribati’s national budget

Taberannang Korauaba

The Pacific island nation of Kiribati has seen a significant increase over the last few years in revenue earned from fishing licenses. From a relatively low figure of A$29 million in 2011, revenue increased to A$58 million in 2012 and then experienced huge growth in 2013 to reach A$89 million ...

Telikom PNG owns EMTV now

Samisoni Pareti
Thu 05 Feb 2015 -

Fiji’s television company Fiji TV today announced its divesting its Papua New Guinea owned television subsidiary Media Niugini Limited for Kina 27 million, or US$9.98 million.

Speculation over changes in Fiji and the Pacific’s banking sector

Dennis Rounds and Samisoni Pareti
Mon 19 Jan 2015 -

Fiji’s business sector is abuzz with speculations about possible major changes on the local and Pacific regional banking scenes.

Namosi Mine Protest Flares Up Again

Samisoni Pareti
Thu 15 Jan 2015 -

Landowners’ opposition to the proposed multi-million dollar copper and gold mine on central Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island has flared up again this week with the arrest by Fijian police of a 57-year old landowner.

China-bound cattle cargo causes Suva Port Scare

Samisoni Pareti
Thu 15 Jan 2015 -

Vigilant bio-security officers in Fiji had to call on the Fiji Navy to escort an international cargo freighter out of Suva Harbour this week because of its undeclared cargo: 7200 heads of cattle.

January 2015

EMTV – for sale at what price

Samisoni Pareti

HOW much is EMTV, Papua New Guinea’s leading television company, being sold for? The question has been the talk of town ever since PNG Telekom publicly announced its interest to buy out the TV company from its Fijian owners. Sale price that has been bandied about ranges from K$24 million ...

December 2014

PNG aims for balance budget

Sam Vulum

Papua New Guinea Government has handed down yet again another historic budget – a record K16.2 billion (US$6.19b) in comparison with three previous biggest budgets of US$5.7b in 2014, US$4.9b in 2013, and US$4.01b in 2012. The 2015 Budget has been framed against a backdrop of moderate, albeit strengthening global ...

November 2014

Crime restricts PNG’s economic growth

Rowan Callick

Crime is costing Papua New Guinea severely despite its rapid economic growth - due to reach 20 per cent next year- according to a series of new World Bank reports. The bank says that 81 per cent of businesses in PNG are restricting their investments due to crime concerns -with ...

October 2014

Vulnerable states qualify for special privileges

Samisoni Pareti

Graduation of least developed countries is no conspiracy by bigger and wealthier developed states to absolve them from helping countries that are in need of special assistance, says the United Nations Under-Secretary General Gyan Chandra Acharya (pictured). Agreeing that small island developing states (SIDS) which fall under the LDC classification ...

World Bank leads charge for reform

Davendra Sharma

Imagine a region where mobile phones and internet access are as common as public buses. Also for a moment picture a region where words like obesity, poverty, illiteracy and gender inequality do not get a mention in government annual budget platforms or development plans. Then think of social issues like ...

September 2014

Time runs out for Samoan airline’s Fiji domestic bid

Samisoni Pareti

Fiji’s Air Transport Licensing Board has made a startling revelation surrounding American Samoa based airline Inter Island Airways’ much awaited entry into Fiji’s domestic air transport market. ATLB Chairman Ernest Dutta says the airline was granted a one year provisional licence in November 2012 to operate domestic flights in Fiji. ...

Bank report identifies political interference in state companies

Samisoni Pareti In Apia, Samoa.
Sat 30 Aug 2014 -

The Asian Development Bank today released a damming report on the poor performance of state owned enterprises in a number of Pacific Island economies, singling out political interference as a major contributing factor.

August 2014

Fiji fears force deal with EU to save sugar industry

Samisoni Pareti

Fears of the collapse of Fiji’s multi-million dollar sugar industry prompted its government late last month to opt for an Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) with the European Union. Investigations by Islands Business magazine had shown that once Fiji’s sugar exports to the EU market are taxed, Fiji sugar will ...

More US immigration woes for the Northern Marianas

Haidee Eugenio

the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands has received a five-year extension of a critical programme allowing it continued access to some 10,000 foreign workers up to 2019 for its recovering economy. But it still faces other key immigration issues, most of which are waiting United States Congress actions. Among ...

July 2014

Japan’s Abe spurs PNG interest

Davendra Sharma

TWO new Japanese-initiated petrochemical plants – one each in Papua New Guinea and West Papua, Indonesia are set to pick up green lights as feasibility studies open new hopes for creating local petrol sufficiency in parts of the region. To bolster Japanese interest in PNG, a reciprocal visit to Port ...

Marshall Islands move into commercial fish farming

Giff Johnson

The history of the Marshall Islands is littered with so many failed attempts to turn aquaculture and fish farming ideas into commercially viable businesses that it is a wonder Rongelap Mayor James Matayoshi even considered starting a fish farming operation in Majuro. But for once, all of the ingredients are ...

June 2014

Big construction project in Chuuk in limbo

Giff Johnson

After huge cost overruns, major delays and problems with faulty designs, the largest construction project ever undertaken in the Federated States of Micronesia is now at a standstill with multiple lawsuits looming.

Selling the Pacific to the world under one roof

Samisoni Pareti

Pacific’s national tourism offices have given thumbs up to efforts by the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) to organise a regional tourism buyer and seller market.

LNG project absorbs skilled workers in PNG

Davendra Sharma

Operators of Papua New Guinea’s new liquefied natural gas export company have trained nearly 10,000 locals for production and delivery roles as the region’s biggest commercial project rolls off the ground next month.

May 2014

Data holds the key, says SPTO

Robert Matau

Regional tourism body, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) wants tourism data to be accurate and made available on a timely basis.