Papua New Guinea
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Prime Minister says trips vital for bilateral relations

The tri-nation overseas trips undertaken by Prime Minister James Marape and his entourage is allegedly approximately K8 million.

The high cost is because of the Kina’s exchange rate against US dollars, the main trading currency that’s being used by the travelling delegation.

But Prime Minister James Marape, currently on his way to Indonesia today has defended that these vital trips.

“This time around I am willing to travel long hours, travel long distance to ensure our obligations to the international communities are met,” he said.

The three-nation visit includes Israel, Indonesia and France with an entourage estimated at different nation-visits respectively at 32, 50 and 20 officials for different countries – a total of 102.

“Some of these international engagements need to take place, it is no fun just travelling one day in between and someone’s got to do the job and it is also this time around,” Mr Marape defended.

“This time around I am willing to travel long hours, travel long distance to ensure our obligations to the international communities are met.

“…and these are three important nations in, as far as commerce and trade and bilateral relations are concerned,” Marape said.

“I will be breaking new grounds in Israel but consolidating and establishing relations in Indonesia and France.”

Finance and Treasury Offices including the Prime Minister and NEC hierarchy remained mum about the cost and entourage when asked this week.

But Post-Courier was reliably told that the trip cost about K8 million with each country cost depending on the days of travel and the number of people travelling including which


country.

Post Courier was told Israel trip cost the Government K3million, France another K3 million and Indonesia, because its currency was not strong against Kina – K2 million for the total entourage.

Prime Minister Marape was travelling with his entourage to Israel, with a different team to France but to Indonesia, a team of PNG officials made up of ministers and government officials travelled ahead of PM Marape for the 43rd Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting.