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PNC party stable and intact, says PM O’Neill
10:27 pm GMT+12, 17/04/2019, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says his People’s National Congress Party-led coalition government is stable and intact.
 
He said last week’s resignation by Finance Minister James Marape did not affect Cabinet and the Government as he had “enough capable members to take over”.
 
He was accompanied to Government House  for the swearing-in of Sam Basil as Finance Minister and Koni Iguan as Minister for Communication and Information Technology by some cabinet ministers and coalition MPs.
 
“My Government is very stable and you can see from the numbers here, unless someone is blind,” he said.
 
He said most ministers had held the same ministries in the past seven years “to maintain stability and consistency”.
 
“I have deliberately done that so that I want them to gain as much experience as they can in those ministries and lift their performance,” he said.
 
“You can see the fruits of that experience now in the delivery of services, infrastructure, growth in the economy, creation of jobs for our people and attracting foreign direct investments into the country.
 
“Those are things the Government is doing today so you can see the experience is worthy and healthy for the country.”
 
He said he had not discussed with Marape his “lack of trust” comment. “I have absolute confidence in all our ministers.
 
“If there was any concern then he (Marape) should have raised it with me. I have no knowledge about those trust issues he referred to.
 
“I have confidence in Marape’s ability and we wish him well in his future endeavours.”
 
Pangu Party leader and Minister for Finance Sam Basil also reaffirmed his party’s commitment to O’Neill’s leadership and that they would remain loyal until 2022.
 
Meanwhile, Minister for Justice and Attorney-General and Esa’ala MP Davis Steven says he will not resign to take up the post of governor for Milne Bay as speculated in the social media.
 
Steven told The National that Milne Bay needed leadership during law and order crisis in the province and he was asked by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to step in and take the lead at that time.
 
He said Governor Sir John Luke Critten was understood to have made his intentions known to step down for health reasons but had changed his mind.
 
“I want to put this speculation to rest. – Sir John has changed his mind, he wants to continue as governor, and therefore, there is no vacancy and I have not resigned,” Steven explained.
 
“The governor requested to be relieved so I went down to Alotau to help but he wants to continue.”
 
“As of today, he says he doesn’t want to resign, therefore I remain as Member for Esa’ala and Minister for Justice and Attorney-General unless the PM says otherwise,” he added.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS


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