Manus loses K23m as center closes

By STAYCEY YALO

MANUS Province will lose of K23 million annually after the Asylum Seekers Processing Center closes.

The province which has been benefiting from the spin off businesses provided by the center will lose more than 1200 jobs and also see 100 small and medium entrepreneurs go out of business.

Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin raised the concerns in Parliament this week that successive governments’ in the past have not provided a fallback plan for Manus and as a result the province’s internal revenue will drop from K25 million to K1.5 million annually.

Minister for National Planning and Monitoring, Richard Maru, who recently visited Manus, said the government has plans to create a Special Economic Zone in Manus and it will begin by allocating a budget for the province next year.

“This government is ready to set up a special economic zone in Manu where we will allocate a budget for Manus to start a marine park on the West Coast of Manus. We will also put money to plant 40,000 rubber trees in Manus in the areas where logging companies have completely destroyed,” he said.

Mr Maru said while the National Government plays its part in building provinces, its local MPs and government must take proactive approaches in looking after its own affairs.

He said the government now is looking at bringing investors into Manus to set up fish plants as part of their plant to revive Manus’s economy.

“There is also a need for investors in Manus to set up a fish plant because it is no secret that the water of Manus has the largest tuna quantity in the country. There is a need for Manus to have two or three fish plants to help grow its economy,” he said.

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