PNG’s rebate system off to a strong start

PNG Fishing industry reps and John Kasu Managing Director of PNG National Fisheries Authority during a ceremony to hand over cheque payments under the new rebate scheme.

Republished: PNA market intel

Papua New Guinea Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari expressed confidence last Friday that more jobs and spin off businesses will be created for Papua New Guineans as tuna processors ramp up production this year.

Lupari made these remarks after he was briefed by the National Fisheries Authority Managing Director John Kasu on the progress of the implementation of the Rebates Scheme, adopted this year.

Under this scheme, tuna processors based in PNG will receive US$400 for every metric tonne of fish processed in their factories.

“When fishing boats land their catches in these factories to be processed, they will be entitled to receive the rebate.

“The scheme removes licensing discounts for boats fishing in PNG waters, so if they send their fish offshore, they get no discount, but if they land  and process their catches onshore, they are entitled to be rebated,” Lupari said.

He said Prime Minister Peter O’Neill introduced this scheme as a new policy direction aimed at creating more jobs and spin off businesses in PNG, and to increase export earnings for the country.

Figures provided to Lupari show that the six factories processed a total of 5,330 tonnes of fish in the month of January.

“They will be entitled to K8.6 million in rebates from the NFA,” Lupari said.

Kasu and his officials informed the Chief Secretary that these early figures indicate the factories were already stepping up production.

“This means more jobs created for locals, especially women, and increased benefits related to such increased economic activities in the localities,” Lupari said.

He said NFA has allocated sufficient funds in its 2018 Budget to finance the rebates.

Lupari urged NFA to ensure figures provided by the industry were audited to prevent abuse.

“In the long run, we want to provide jobs for our people, not jobs that will be lost overseas as a result of our fish being shipped offshore for processing,” Lupari said.

“We want to retain export revenue that has been lost to other countries over a long period.

“That is the aim of this policy. Some industry people might say it is tough, but I can say that they have been given an easy time here for too long,” he said.

NFA officials expect the processing figures for February to be higher as January is typically a short month due to New Year’s shut downs.