Thunder without rain: Two years ago, Sepik MPs asked Dr Hnanguie to do some work for us and he estimated that our economy was growing at around 5%. That’s while the PNG economy was in the negative. My people are the thunder and it’s raining in their villages. Our standard is the village and that’s where we are working. Rome was not built in a day and Sepik will not be built in a day either. This is how we build the country, from the village up. -ABird.
Governor Bird explains “Thunder without Rain”
How does one define rain?
I have been accused of “bringing thunder with no rain”. So how does one define rain in the PNG narrow minded context? Roads, bridges and buildings. Simple.
In terms of thunder, I have one response: I represent the most vocal electorate in PNG. No Sepik man or woman is afraid to tell you what they think. That’s been the case since the time of Sir Peter Simogun and perhaps even before that. Sepiks are a people who are not afraid to speak their minds.
These are the people I represent.
So how does one define rain? Is it defined in roads, bridges, buildings and other infrastructure? This certainly seems to be the narrative in PNG at the moment. Even in ESP, we are working on the same things but I chose to work on something that would directly empower people. My pet project is cocoa, I believe in Agriculture to empower people.
Let me give you another interpretation of rain from the Sepik perspective.
ESP began direct exports in 2020 for the first time in our history. We went from zero export vessels to around 4/5 export ships a month out of Wewak today.
What is rain?
For the last two years, Ela Motors runs out of vehicles to sell, all vehicles are on back order. Frozen meats, chicken, lamb, beef and sausages runs out in all shops by Friday. Diesel, Petrol, Flour, cooking oil, UHT Milk, bottled water and even rice runs out regularly. Even baby diapers run out!
Why is that? Why is ESP the only province in PNG where these things run out regularly? It’s easy, there is a flood in Sepik. It’s raining in people’s pockets. For me, true prosperity is purchasing power and my people have it.
Two weeks ago I met the Air Niugini CEO and he told me, they are consistently flying more people out of Wewak than out of Madang. We have overtaken Madang. This is the kind of rain I want, my ordinary people having purchasing power.
In 2017, the owner of Malie Investments used to move one 1x20ft container every day from Wewak to Maprik. He had one truck. He went from 6 containers a week to 35 containers a week today.
Angoram never had a supermarket, two years ago they opened their first one. Why was that possible only now? Simple, the people have money to spend!
So my question is, what kind of rain is PNG looking for? Sepik has a new definition for rain and I am proud of it.
People in Sepik villages are buying frozen meats, they are buying fuel, they are buying bottled water, cooking oil and disposable diapers instead of cotton nappies and they are traveling more. They made those choices themselves.
I represent some of the hardest working people in PNG and for the past 4 years, we have been getting them back to work. ESP is the 3rd largest vanilla producer in the world, we are also the largest producer of cocoa in PNG and we will get better.
In 2017, we produced around 9,000 tons of cocoa annually. Our highest production of cocoa so far in one year is 19,000 tons. That’s higher than WNB and AROB combined. Our target is to produce 100,000 tons ourselves. We are building a self reliant Province through the sweat of ordinary citizens. No oil, no gas, no minerals. Just ordinary people.
On SME, a recent report from IPA indicated that ESP is ranked 6th for operating business in PNG. We are ranked above Enga, Hela, Southern Highlands and Western Province.
Why are we ranked higher than the 4 richest provinces in PNG? Simply because the environment in ESP supports SME. The MD of Women’s Micro Bank told me two years ago that of their 60,000 members in PNG, half of them are from ESP.
When NASFUND had their Board meeting in Wewak, I encouraged them to open an office in Maprik. On their opening week, last year, K14m in cash was deposited by ordinary Sepiks. How do we define rain?
Two years ago, Sepik MPs asked Dr Hnanguie to do some work for us and he estimated that our economy was growing at around 5%. That’s while the PNG economy was in the negative.
My people are the thunder and it’s raining in their villages. Our standard is the village and that’s where we are working. Rome was not built in a day and Sepik will not be built in a day either. This is how we build the country, from the village up.