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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

AROUND PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Fees ‘claim’ life

AROUND PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Fees ‘claim’ lifeFees Claim Life

Fees ‘claim’ life

A HIGH school girl committed suicide after her school allegedly refused to accept a part payment of her project fees. The student identified as 18-year-old Tan Mukap died at the Kudjip Nazarene Hospital in Jiwaka Province last Saturday allegedly from the consumption of gramoxone, which is an herbicide that can be fatal if swallowed. A relative of the deceased and South Wahgi LLG council manager, Johnny Maia, said the girl fronted up at the Milep Lutheran High School with K170 but was refused enrolment and was asked to pay K200 in full as project fees. He said she had no other choice to further her education after her rejection and consequently took her own life. Tragically, the girl lost both of her biological parents when she was a toddler and was raised by an uncle from Kopung village outside Minj. According to Mr Maia the deceased stayed home and returned to school after three-days, hoping the school officials would have a change of heart, only to be turned away yet again. On her return to Minj she purchased the deadly substance and consumed it, leading to her hospitalisation and eventual death. “She came back to Minj and used this money to buy gramoxone and went home and on Thursday morning (last week) she consumed it and I rushed her to nearby Kudjip Nazarene Hospital. The Government policy is clear that all schools across the country must not send the students away, if they do not have the project fee (wait) until parents will pay slowly and complete it before the end of the academic year,” Mr Maia said. The relatives of the deceased are now seeking legal advice and are planning to sue the school. The suicide is the first such case in the new province according to the Anglimp South Wahgi district education advisor, Erwin Us. Conveying his sympathy to the relatives of the deceased, the education advisor said the student was committed to her education. Mr Us said it is likely many students face similar problems but keep silent, though committing suicide was not a solution to school fee problems. Milep High School headmaster Gabriel Murang defended his school, saying they were not responsible for the student’s death and all schools nationwide were collecting K200. Despite the headmaster’s refusal to accept responsibility, the school later contributed K1000 towards their late student’s funeral expenses. By Mal Taime

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Airline slashes student fares

LOCAL airline Travel Air yesterday introduced big fare discounts for students. The management said the “student fare” package offered 25% discounts. A spokesperson from Travel Air told The National the student fare would be available year-round and the passengers must show proof that they were bona fide students. “Students using Travel Air will now pay less,” management said in a statement. Travel Air said it was prompted to offer big discounts after parents and students encouraged the airline on special fares. “The discount reduces the base fare by 25% and applies only to economy fares,” the airline said. “Students will be required to show proper identification when buying tickets and boarding the aircraft.” Travel Air, Papua New Guinea’s newest airline, was started to take advantage of a specific gap that existed in the PNG air transport industry for a local airline that offered low-cost service. The airline says it prides itself on air travel that is “safe, convenient, on-time and affordable”. With its head office located in Madang, Travel Airs connects Port Moresby, Madang, Lae, Mount Hagen, Hoskins, Rabaul and Wewak via a fleet of four F50 Fokker aircraft, with both direct and connecting service year-round. It also offers charter and cargo services. Source: The National, Tuesday 19th February, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

New law to restrict firms

FOREIGNERS operating small to medium businesses will get a year’s notice to leave the country or make investment in larger businesses under a proposed new legislation. Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru said this when replying to a question in parliament on Tuesday from Northern Governor Gary Juffa who raised concern about foreigners owning “most restricted businesses” meant for locals. “The law will be ready before the end of this year,” Maru said. “We will empower our people to reclaim ownership of businesses such as “tucker-shops, trade stores and restaurants” and take control of our economy. About 90% of the businesses in the formal sector are now at the hands of foreigners while our fellow citizens own only 10%. We have lost our birth right.” Maru, who is the former managing director of the National Development Bank, said the government had allocated K130 million to reintroduce the bank’s Stret Pasin Stoa scheme. He said that the country did not have reserve business regulations. But under the national goals and directive principles such businesses were supposed to be owned by the indigenous people. The minister said a parliamentary bi-partisan committee and an indigenous business council would be established to conduct a comprehensive review all the businesses in the country. “If we don’t review it, we will be marginalised citizens and we won’t recover our birth right. “We must consider joint-venture arrangements with foreign investors. “If they don’t like this arrangement, they won’t be allowed to invest in the country. Economic giants like China have such arrangements,” Maru said. Source: The National, Thursday 14th February, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

AROUND PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Chocolate factory planned for Wewak cocoa producers

AROUND PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Chocolate factory planned for Wewak cocoa producers

Chocolate factory planned for Wewak cocoa producers

A CHOCOLATE factory will be set up in Wewak, East Sepik, pending the outcome of a feasibility study to be carried out by the Department of Trade, Commerce and Industry. Leading Papua New Guinea downstream food processing entrepreneur Micky Puritau, founder of Paradise Spices, has been engaged by the department to lead the team carrying out the study. The company, no newcomer to PNG cocoa and chocolate production, already exports PNG vanilla, chilli, pepper, galip nut, cardamon, tumeric, nutmeg, cocoa nibs, ginger, cinnamon, virgin coconut oil and pure vanilla extract to many countries around the world. Puritau says there is no reason why a chocolate factory shouldn’t be a goer in the country. “Many overseas companies have told us that chocolate is not viable in this country,” he said. “I’m totally against this. “We’ve proved it in the vanilla industry. “With exports of vanilla, we were getting margins of 40%, but when we produced finished products, we were actually getting 200-500% margins. “I don’t see any reason why chocolate can’t also reach these margins. “We have the production on the ground, the issue is when can we do it (produce chocolate).” Puritau says PNG’s cocoa industry will be on to a winner with the establishment of a chocolate factory. “Let me say that it’s going to be a successful chocolate company. “You don’t have to look for markets as there are markets already available. “People who say that there are no markets are actually telling you lies. “We believe that downstream processing is the way to go for this country.” Puritau said Paradise Spices had already proved that chocolate could be produced in the country. “We did some small-scale chocolate production and I can tell you this: the quality of the chocolate we produced was of high, premium value,” he said. “Good taste. Maru said Wewak was chosen because cocoa production in East New Britain, formerly the largest producer in the country, had been decimated by the dreaded cocoa pod borer (CPB). “Wewak, not because I come from there, but because East Sepik is now the leading cocoa producer in Papua New Guinea,” he said. “East Sepik is also close to the mass market of Indonesia. “I will start work with my team on the feasibility study into a new chocolate factory in Wewak.” Source: The National, Tuesday 12th February, 2013