Pacific news in brief for April 22

Papua New Guinea – economy

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) says Papua New Guinea’s economy is expected to improve in 2024 and 2025.

This is according to the Asian Development Outlook released this month.

The report said PNG’s economy is set to grow by 3.3 percent this year, due to resumption of production at the Porgera gold mine.

ADB Country Director for PNG, Said Zaidansyah, said the medium-term outlook for the economy remains positive, but there are looming challenges.

Foreign exchange restrictions and frequent power disruptions continue to dampen activity in the rest of the economy.

The report said improvements must be made to the power sector’s financial sustainability through increased use of renewable energy.

It also suggested private sector investment is needed to address power supply constraints on growth, and the Bank’s financing plan will include support for this.

Samoa – food

Samoa’s Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry has decided to start using locally sourced ingredients at events, in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

The Samoa Observer reported the move is in an effort to support local farmers and promote a healthy diet.

Agriculture Minister Laʻauli Leuatea Fosi Schmidt said suggestions are already being made for the morning tea menu.

They include vaisalo, faausi, suafai, panikeke, koko esi, limu fuafua fritters, and other local delicacies.

Fiji – immigration

Fiji’s immigration services are experiencing major delays due to a large increase in applications.

The Fiji Times reported the volume of passport applications have increased from 4000 to 6000 each month.

Members of the public have espressed their frustrations over the issue.

Home Affairs Minister Pio Tikoduadua has acknowledged the widespread discontent.

He said there should be a general improvement in service delivery in the next few months.

Papua New Guinea – visa

The United States has extended the amount of time Papua New Guinea citizens can stay in the country on a visitor’s visa.

The US Embassy in Port Moresby told the National newspaper people can now stay in the US for six months.

Before the change, a visitor visa for PNG citizens was only valid for one month.

A spokesperson from the Embassy said the change brings immediate benefits for people visiting family and going to conferences and holidays.

Vanuatu – blacklist

Vanuatu’s Minister for Foreign Affairs has expressed optimism that Vanuatu and the European Union would partner to find ways to resolve Vanuatu’s black listing by the EU.

Former Vanuatu Ambassador to the EU, Roy Micky Joy urged the Vanuatu Government to comply with the EU request for Vanuatu to set up a committee to screen all foreign applicants for a Vanuatu passport.

Joy said the EU was concerned that foreign high-risk criminals could use Vanuatu to slip through the EU security net to enter Europe.

He said all the Vanuatu Government needed to do was to comply with the request, and the EU might consider lifting Vanuatu from the blacklist.

New Zealand – tribute

Auckland University Pro Vice-Chancellor (Pacific) professor Jemaima Tiatia-Siau has paid tribute to much-loved educator and Sāmoan leader Melegalenu’u To’alepaiali’i Ah Sam (MNZM).

Melegalenu’u, who was the acting Principal of Māngere College, died last week.

She was also lead coordinator for the Polyfest Sāmoan stage for more than 30 years.

In 2022, Melegalenu’u was recognised as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Pacific language education.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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