Papua New Guinea
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Marape impressed with MRDC

PRIME Minister James Marape yesterday hailed the Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC) as a success story which has evolved from an exploration company to an investment powerhouse with assets belonging to landowners worth over K7 billion today.

Marape singled out MRDC for praise when presenting its audited financial statements for 2019 and 2020 to Parliament.

He said the audited financial report showed impressive growth by the company over a period of time.

“MRDC was established in 1975 by founding PM Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, initially as an exploration company, to explore and develop PNG’s vast mineral resources,” Marape said.

“Since then, through policy changes, it has evolved into a highly successful management company, managing a diversified portfolio of investments for project area landowners.

The PM said historically, MRDC used to managed the State’s interest in various resource projects.

But the Morauta Government in 2002 divested the State’s interest from MRDC and merged them with Oil Search Ltd.

He said since then, left with only the project area landowners’ interests, MRDC has grown from strength to strength.

“The MRDC Group was worth only about K390 million in 2006. Today, it’s assets under management are worth over K7 billion.”

He said the Group’s diversified portfolio of assets include investment in banking, airline, hotel and hospitality, healthcare, real estate and commercial office space, and power generation, amongst others.

They have shareholding in Bank South Pacific, the largest commercial bank in the pacific region; airline companies PNG Air and Hevilift, and Pacific International Hospital, which provides modern innovative health care services.

Investments that the MRDC Group own 100% include the Star Mountain Plaza, Dirio Gas and Power Ltd which is providing power to Port Moresby city, the Pacific Property Trust, which owns prime real estate in downtown Port Moresby CBD, and other businesses including the Hohola Service Station.

The Prime Minister said the MRDC Group consists of 14 different subsidiaries and 7 fully owned investment companies.

He said the group employ thousands of Papua New Guineans, both directly and indirectly, and pay millions of Kina in corporate and salary income tax every year to the IRC.

The Prime Minister said apart from investments, the MRDC has a very robust Community Infrastructure Development program which it implements in project area communities to improve quality of life for the people.

MRDC and its trust subsidiaries retain a portion of royalty and equity benefits (30%) to deliver these programs, targeting education, health and transport facilities and infrastructure in these areas.

“Project area landowners live in some of the most isolated and remote parts of PNG where access is very limited, and government services almost non-existent.”

He said health and education facilities built by missionaries in places like Semberigi, Kutubu, and Kikoriin the early days are now being rebuilt by MRDC to continue serving the people.

“According to records made available to me, a total of K50 million has been spent in these areasin the last 10 years.”

He commended MRDC and the management team led by Managing Director Mr Augustine Mano for their strong adherence to compliance and governance requirements, resulting in the tabling of the reports in Parliament.

The PM said he was confident the 2021 and 2022 audited financial accounts for the company would be ready for tabling in Parliament soon.