25 Feb 2014

PNG"s O'Neill sacks Duma amid cabinet reshuffle

10:33 am on 25 February 2014

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has announced a cabinet reshuffle which includes the sacking of the influential Minister for Petroleum and Energy, WIlliam Duma.

Mr Duma is replaced by Nixon Duban, a member of Mr O'Neill's People's National Congress party.

In other new appointments, the PNC's Nick Kuman is the new Education Minister and Delilah Gore of the Triumph Heritage and Empowerment party has taken up the Higher Education portfolio.

The independent MP Robert Atiyafa has been appointed the new Police Minister.

Speaking at a press conference, Mr O'Neill said he consulted widely over the changes, some of which he described as being difficult decisions to make.

He has stressed the importance of advancing prospective gas and energy projects in the country as a part of the change in the Petroleum and Energy portfolio.

Mr Duma's United Resources Party, with seven MPs, has been one of the biggest parties in the government although Peter O'Neill's majority is still secure should the URP leave the coalition.