THE $US19 billion (K51.84 billion) liquefied natural gas (LNG) project is not the answer to all of Papua New Guinea’s economic problems, Finance Minister James Marape says.
He said the project was a “myth” in the sense that it would not bring solutions to all economic issues.
“LNG is a myth. If you think that LNG will unlock a waterfall of money to ensure that every need in this country is met, I’m here to contest that argument,” Marape said.
The State-owned National Petroleum Company PNG (NPCP) had said a single shipment of LNG was worth between US$50 million (K132.9 million) and US$60 million (US$159.5 million).
Project operator PNG ExxonMobil Ltd last week announced that 100 cargoes of LNG had already left the country since the first export in March last year.
“I sit through the planning room and I see all these submissions that contest for money that come in and I say, hang on, where is the LNG money that we have been talking about?” Marape said.
Speaking during 2015 PNG Update in Port Moresby yesterday, he said: “The current LNG will not be the total answer to budget support for our economy. If you want to talk about LNG, I encourage everyone to move into the second LNG and the third LNG train.”
However, he said sustainable sectors like agriculture needed more attention and investment to assist the country in many more decades to come.
“We are clouding our mind with LNG and we are not talking about agriculture, tourism, fisheries and other sectors that will equally generate money for us but sustainable money that has greater participation by mass of Papua New Guineans.”