Economy. Papua New Guinea Press review
Businesses around the world are hit with this economic pressure of coronavirus and Papua New Guinea (PNG) is no exception. According to PNG Trade Union Congress, more than 10,000 workers in the private sector have been laid off from their jobs and the numbers keep climbing by the day; a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Lae Chamber of Commerce has reported that businesses across the city are faced with the reduction of approximately 30 to 35% of their employee staff. According to LCCI President John Byrne, in some cases they have been made redundant, others have stood down until a level of new-normality resumes and others have been split-shifting their staffs.
In Mr. Byrne opinion, the reduced trading hours and less customers with disposable income is affecting profitability and sustainability of businesses. He also added that the necessary wind down of markets to sell fresh produce and betel nut coupled with restricted movement of produce and goods up and down the Highlands Highway have also impacted the business cycle.
Despite the issues faced and the economy being hit with the COVID-19 pandemic and its uncertainty LCCI with other stakeholders in the provincial response team plans to keep the economy moving and protecting the people.
State of Emergency (SoE) controller David Manning says that he is aware of thousands of workers being laid off and will work closely with all parties to find a solution. «I am aware of the issue of thousands of Papua New Guineans who have been laid off and advise that I am in meetings with the Department of Labour and Indus-trial Relations, the union and the employees and the government to find a solution», he said. Also, according to Mr. Manning, domestic flights are to resume but only to provinces where there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19;
Air Niugini is currently operating regular flights to all destinations throughout PNG except for the border ports of Daru, Kiunga, Tabubil , Vanimo, Wewak, Buka, Kieta and also Tokua/Rabaul. Air Niugini is operating only limited flights to these eight airports based on the Controller’s approval to assist with repatriation of residents and movement of freight.
Mining Minister Johnson Tuke said that his ministry together with relevant agency partners and stakeholders are looking at restarting discussions of the Wafi-Golpu mine project (K16.7 billion, $5 billion) to get it off the ground. According to Mr. Tuke, the ministry will be discussing the progress of the mine internally with landowners, government departments, Treasury and all the state negotiating teams. He said his contribution to the government surrounding the impacts of COVID-19 is to see that Wafi-Golpu is progressing. Meanwhile, Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture head of external affairs David Wissink confirmed late yesterday afternoon that WGJV is yet to receive an official notification from the Government on this matter.
Ok Ted Mining Limited Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Peter Graham says that operations at the Ok Tedi Mine will continue as long as it’s safe and economical to do so, says. Mr. Graham also said that none of the three cases are employees or contractors of OTML.
Cybernetic Global Intelligence (CGI) chief executive Ravin Prasad told that Papua New Guinea-based companies must be wary of cyber-attacks as hackers all over the world are looking to capitalise on the COVID-19 crisis. In the opinion of Mr. Prasad, hackers were making use of a variety of malicious campaigns, including email spam, malware, business engagement centre and ransomware to penetrate systemic defences amidst the worst scenarios. Australian company CGI is a partner with Datec PNG Ltd in delivering cybersecurity programmes in the country.