The jury remains out on whether Papua New Guinea will reap the benefits of hosting the APEC leaders summit.
Hundreds of APEC meetings held in PNG throughout the year culiminated in last weekend’s Leader’s Summit in Port Moresby.
The government has been asked by the parliamentary opposition to reveal how much public money was spent on APEC and account for each item of spending.
The director of PNG’s Institute of National Affairs Paul Barker said the direct costs of hosting the summit would not be fully recovered by the government.
He said while costs in certain areas were covered by other countries and donor partners, PNG faced significant costs for items including three large cruise ships, some of the infrastructure costs, and buildings of conference facilities.
“But the big question is economically. And that’s going to be a benefit that will happen over the course of time,” he explained.
While the government argued that many investors would come and eye opportunities in PNG during the summit, there weren’t necessarily many in attendance, Mr Barker said.
However some important investors were present, he said.
Mr Barker applauded the efforts of foreign journalists who ventured beyond the confines of the APEC leaders summit venues last week in Port Moresby to meet Papua New Guineans.
He said he had read grumblings on social media that thid could give a bad impression of PNG.
But he argued there was nothing more relevant to developing the country, including its tourism industry, than allowing foreigners to see the real PNG “warts and all”.
“We can’t develop a trousim industry on trying to conceal,” Mr Barker said.
“Having that level of international interaction actually will demonstrate that ordinary Papua New Guineans are ordinary people in the rest of the planet but also they are interesting people.
“There’s an interesting dialogue and then they can also see that these are hard-working people with their own challenges. These are not corrupt people. They are honest people.”