SYDNEY, July 25 (Xinhua) -- In his first major address on foreign soil, Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) newly-appointed Prime Minister James Marape said that fighting corruption and building up the country’s agricultural sector are among his top priorities.
“A key focus for our new government is to finalize an Independent Commission against Corruption,” the South Pacific leader told a Lowy Institute forum in Sydney on Thursday evening.
Announcing that he expects the anti-corruption watchdog to be up and running before the end of the year, Marape said it’s the right thing to do for the citizens of PNG.
“Our people have had enough and now is the time to tackle the cancer of corruption that has taken hold by using the power of prosecution and all the other means that we have at our disposal,” he said.
Rising to power back in May after leading a mass defection against the former government party, the 48-year-old Hela Province native also mentioned that the nation’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries will also receive “special attention”.
“I do not want PNG to be known as a land of oil, gas and gold. I want PNG to be known as the food basket of the Asia-Pacific,” he said.
After a six-day State Visit to Australia, the Prime Minister is set to return home on Saturday.