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Bank Freezes Multi-million Loans On Industrial Tuna Zone

The Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China has made the decision to freeze a USD 78 million loan that was meant to fund the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) project in the Madang Province of Papua New Guinea. The suspension of the loan will halt the continuation of the multi-million dollar flagship project for PNG’s fisheries industry.

The Chinese loan was being used to develop a free trade industrial zone, to build tuna processing facilities and develop tuna port facilities. The tuna industry is an important business for the north coast of PNG, with the Madang region accounting for a considerable amount of the country’s tuna fishing.

Suspension of the loan comes directly after a National Court decision resulted in favor of impacted communities that wish to halt the project. The PNG Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Richard Maru, who is responsible for the project, told the Midweek Chronicle that the state has to develop and regulate the project and once the project is in operation, the Department of Environment and Conservation will give direction to conduct environmental studies.

According to Mr. Manu, the Exim Bank of China will lift the suspension of the loan to continue funding the project after the government meets the demands of the impacted communities.

Jack Watai, PMIZ project coordinator, explained that it has been estimated that the project in PNG is likely to create around 40,000 direct jobs and is expected to generate around one billion dollars for the government from export revenue.

He said: “We are looking at building an international airport in Madang to export fish within 25 minutes to international markets to create vibrant economies of scale in the future.” He added that the project will sustain the economy for ages, creating employment for the country and region.