According to Kevin Murray, the president of the Madang Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) project will boost the province’s fisheries sector.

Murray said that communities around Madang were supportive of the project as it would benefit the economy and create jobs. He added, “A number of canneries will be developed apart from RD Tuna, which is the main one in the province today.”

The PNG government has approved K100 million for the project in this year’s budget. This led to Justin Ilakini, the acting managing director of the National Fisheries Authority, saying it was necessary to go back to the drawing board to ensure the initiative was done correctly.

Mr Ilakini said a project steering committee, consisting of officers of relevant departments, was being created. The project team would be co-chaired by the NFA and the Department of National Planning and Monitoring.

“[The] Government transferred the PMIZ project to the NFA. In the last budget, they approved K100 million for the project,” Ilkani said.

“We have, more or less, gone back to the drawing board to make sure that everything is done properly,” he added. “What we are doing now is to make sure that every study that needs to be done is done.”

Mr Ilkani said that the government had already purchased the land needed for the initiative and added that the NFA would ensure the project would proceed with development partners.

“It’s a really big project, and the government feels strongly that it’s a good project that will create more than 30,000 jobs. It will provide the opportunity for investors to come and set up maybe more than ten tuna processing plants and other spinoff benefits for the local people,” Ilkani said.