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PNG Bank official: LNG returns not bright

PAPUA New Guineans have been told not to have high hopes given the figures from  the liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports and soaring gross domestic product (GDP).
Bank of Papua New Guinea assistant governor Dr Gae Kauzi told the PNG Update forum last week that earnings from sales of the LNG cargo did not return to the country as revenue. 
“We are so excited about the exports from LNG, yes, because it is coming from our land.  Do we get all the money? No we don’t. What matters for PNG out of LNG is not the total exports. 
“The government gets paid all its share from the total exports ... not from all the excitements of GDP growth and export sales. 
“It’s the tax and dividends that will be paid to the government and it will depend on how government distributes these funds to the rest of the economy. That is how the rest of PNG will benefit from LNG,” he said. 
Kauzi said under the current arrangement, the country’s portion of benefits from LNG export sales would go to the state-owned National Petroleum Company PNG (NPCP). 
Finance Minister James Marape had said that LNG earnings would be kept by NPCP awaiting establishment of Sovereign Wealth Fund. He said the project was not the answer to all of Papua New Guinea’s economic 
problems. “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. 
According to the NCPC, a single shipment of LNG was valued between US$50 million (K132.9m) and US$60 million (US$159.5million).
Project operator ExxonMobil PNG Ltd recently announced that 100 cargo of LNG had already left the country since the first export in May last year.

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