PNG wealth fund bill passes first reading

5:03 pm on 20 February 2015

Papua New Guinea MPs have voted in favour of enacting a bill to establish a Sovereign Wealth Fund.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

The Prime Minister Peter O'Neill introduced the bill, reportedly designed to safeguard the nation's wealth generated from its petroleum and mineral resources.

The Post Courier reports that Parliament voted 82-0 for the bill on its first reading - it is expected to become law by April after a third reading.

Mr O'Neill said it was urgent to pass the law because the first revenue from PNG's landmark LNG gas project will be paid in late March, as advised by operator ExxonMobil.

Mr O'Neill said there are two components to the overall Fund, one a "future's fund" and the other a "stabilisation fund".

The opposition leader Don Polye supported the Bill even though earlier he had been critical of the delay in the legislation and also raised questions about transparency.