PNG APEC ready

Minister for Lands and APEC Justin Tkatchenko.

PORT MORESBY, 30 AUGUST 2018 (POST COURIER) – Papua New Guinea is APEC ready.

Minister for Lands and APEC Justin Tkatchenko told Parliament about the major event that will reach its climax with the Leaders Summit in Port Moresby in November.

He said to host more than 15,000 delegates, business people and their governments is a huge challenge but PNG is overcoming those challenges.

“But every challenge can and is being overcome – each challenge is taken on individually and solutions developed and implemented.”

He said looking at logistics, Jackson International Airport has limited capacity, less than previous APEC Host cities.

“The most significant challenge is parking the aircraft of APEC Leaders and CEOs that will land in Port Moresby.”

Tkatchenko said the greatest issue is parking “Code E” aircraft – these are the large aircraft such as Boeing 747s and similar size aircraft.

“We will not be able to park all visiting aircraft at Jackson Airport.”

He said this challenge is not new as it has been faced by previous hosts of APEC and other forums such as G20 meetings.

“Where aircraft cannot be parked in Port Moresby for extended periods, options are being negotiated with other regional airports for aircraft to fly-on and park in Indonesia, Australia and PNG.

He said for commercial aircraft, there will be increased demand for both arrivals and departures and arrangements are being made with Air Niugini for additional flights.

“The runway tarmac at Jackson Airport is also currently undergoing resurfacing, and additional parking spaces being built.

Tkatchenko said accommodation is the next challenge faced by PNG in hosting the APEC Leaders’ Summit.

“We simply do not have enough hotel rooms in Port Moresby to accommodate all delegations.”

He said to overcome the gap in rooms, the government has secured the services of three cruise ships from the P&O Line.

“These ships are essentially floating hotels, with almost 6000 beds across the three vessels that will be rented by delegates from APEC economies.”

He said all APEC Leaders will be housed in established hotels in Port Moresby.

“The cruise ships will host the APEC CEO Summit, visiting media representatives, and the overflow of delegates from hotels.”.

Tkatchenko said all venue buildings to be used for APEC events have either been completed or are nearing completion ahead of the APEC Leaders’ Week.

Meanwhile, claims on social media that billions of kina have been spent this year on APEC are false, said  Tkatchenko.

“Why would these wreckers try to mislead the people of Papua New Guinea with fake news? Why would they try to embarrass the nation in the international community?” Tkatchenko said when presenting his APEC – Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation – update report to Parliament.

He said the people have criticised the re-sealing of roads in Port Moresby, especially the Poreporena Highway, which was built 20 years ago and had fallen into a state of disrepair.

“What makes the claims even more ludicrous – is that this re-sealing is being done as a gift of the government of China,” he said.

“There is no cost to the government or the people of Papua New Guinea. Through APEC, Papua New Guinea has access to technical expertise, to capacity building and policy advice that other developing countries could only dream of.”

Tkatchenko said the benefits of hosting APEC would last for many years – beyond our host year – and would strengthen many sectors in the economy.

“The opportunities for Papua New Guinea as a destination for global investment will be enhanced, and this will lead to increased trade, business and jobs,” Tkatchenko said.

“So instead of talking down our economy, people should get behind our hosting of APEC and be part of this great opportunity for PNG.

“Let’s embrace APEC, and let’s welcome Asia-Pacific and the world to Papua New Guinea.

“Now is our time to show the world the opportunities that exist in our country, and now is our time to tell the world just who we are in Papua New Guinea.”

This is the second time he had been criticised on social media over “fake news”. Earlier this month, the Minister had quashed rumours of a five-day lockdown in Port Moresby for the all-important APEC Leaders’ Summit in November. Tkatchenko and Police Commissioner Gari Baki said the continuous rumours of the lockdown, spurned by social media, was “absolute rubbish”.

“There will be no area blocked for public usage except areas where the meetings will be held, businesses and offices will not be affected by the week-long meeting,” Tkatchenko said. This is because the two main days of the World leaders meeting are Saturday and Sunday, November 17 and 18, when many day-to-day business operations, jobs and schools were off.

On top of that, November 15 and 16 have been declared public holidays when most of the world leaders would arrive.

APEC Leaders’ Summit runs from November 12 to 18.

More Stories