The economy is experiencing stagnant job numbers, a decline in foreign investment and shrinking levels of activities in most sectors, Credit Corporation chief executive officer Peter Aitsi says. Unfortunately, the closure of the Porgera mine and the delay in a number of our major resource projects will exacerbate the economic impact of the Covid-19 and most likely lengthen the recovery time.
Sixty-eight per cent of businesses in Papua New Guinea may shut their doors by year end if the country goes into another lockdown. This is according to the Business Council of PNG president Nuni Kulu in light of the recent rising number of Covid-19 cases in Port Moresby. Most businesses do not have the capability to work from home and cannot afford to restrict operation, and some businesses ensure that hygiene protocols and social distancing were practiced. It is imperative to continue dialogue to find the balance between health measures and business continuity for financial recovery.
“The price of gold has taken off around the world as the Covid-19 pandemic pushes investors to turn away from currencies to buy gold but PNG is missing out on this much needed reprieve because of the continued closure of Porgera gold mine,” – Opposition Leader Belden Namah. Mr Namah said the Government of James Marape was fully responsible for this loss of revenue because of its decision to refuse an extension of the special mining lease. The government’s threatening posture is also driving away foreign investors and causing those already in the country to scale down operations. “We cannot allow such a government to continue in office any much longer.” Namah said.
Prime Minister James Marape has announced the appointment of Ijivitari MP Richard Masere as vice-minister to assist prime minister on direct foreign investment. Marape told that the Government was setting up a special unit in the Prime Minister’s Department to deal directly with those foreign companies who want to come into PNG to invest.
The National Executive Council (NEC) has approved the country’s first National Competition policy for implementation. Over the past 16 years, Papua New Guinea has had legislation for consumer protection, regulations for monopolies and fairness of market but no clear competition policy to promote investment, business growth and expansion. In 2014, the Government directed the Treasury Department to review the consumer and competition regime, which culminated in this home-grown policy. Prime Minister James Marape said the review found that PNG had no policy on competition and recommended that such a policy be drafted and approved for implementation.