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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 30) - The East New Britain Chamber of Commerce is concerned the proposed cocoa factory will hurt growers and damage the Papua New Guinea province’s cocoa industry.

And they are now calling on all five ENB national members of Parliament to publicly make a stand to stop the factory proposed to be built in Lae, Morobe Province.

In the chamber’s July luncheon meeting yesterday, the executives said although they support downstream processing of cocoa, they were concerned about the many growers in ENB — which is one of the largest cocoa producing provinces — who would be affected.

They said the 30 per cent export levy to be imposed on all cocoa exports and the monopoly that Niugini Cocoa Ltd would enjoy should it come into operation would mean growers getting less than what they currently receive for their produce.

The chamber also said since talks of the cocoa factory, there has not been a clear indication from the Government and politicians on whether or not the proposed factory would be allowed to operate in the country.

An example, they cited was Minister for Trade and Industry and Member for Pomio Paul Tiensten who, at a provincial assembly early this year said he would not support the establishment of the factory but was now involved in lobbying for back-up of the proposed factory.

However, Mr Tienstin in a recent radio talk show on the local radio station Radio East New Britain said he was providing an avenue for discussion and debate on the issue before a final report could be submitted to the National Executive Council.

The ENB Chamber of Commerce is intending to invite the five MPs for public forums in the province before the NEC meets to have the politicians’ view on the proposed factory.

The chamber executives said the cocoa factory controversy could not have come at a better time — echoing words of one of the province’s senior politician — that it could be "all the reason ENB needs to push harder for autonomy".

August 2, 2004

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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