IFC operating under a cloak of secrecy on SEZ laws for PNG

9 June, 2011

Operating under a cloak of secrecy, the International Finance Corporation has been busy developing laws to allow Special Economic Zone laws in Papua New Guinea, while failing to answer questions from civil society about the project.

This secrecy contradicts IFC claims that it is committed to transparency, accountability and sharing information 'to strengthen public trust'.

Special Economic Zones are tax-free enclaves where foreign businesses will be given special incentives to set up manufacturing industries. The Pacific Marine Industrial Zone in Madang is expected to be the first SEZ in PNG.

In April ACT NOW! sent the IFC questions about its Sept 2010 advertisement for a local lawyer to assist in drafting the legal and regulatory frameworks for the SEZs in PNG.

ACT NOW! asked whether a lawyer had been engaged; who was engaged; the timeframe for completion of the project; and how civil society could engage in the process.

While it has received no answers, despite a second request made in May, the IFC has updated information on its website about the SEZ laws.

The website reveals that, under a cloak of secrecy and while ignoring requests for information, the IFC has gone ahead and written 'a model legal and regulatory framework for SEZs' in PNG which includes 'draft model legislation'.

For further information and comment contact Effrey Dademo on (675) 7689 5266