ICCC To Remove 10% GST on Fuel Products
by PNG Business News - April 21, 2022
On May 8, 2022, the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission will remove the 10% GST on fuel products from its calculation template.
At a news conference in Port Moresby, ICCC chief commissioner and interim chief executive officer Paulus Ain announced.
He stated that the import duty and excise duty on gasoline, diesel, and ZA1 will be totally eliminated and that the ICCC will guarantee that this is reflected in retail outlet pump prices across the nation.
“On the government’s relief package, the ICCC is willing to assist the government by enforcing some of these decisions in relation to fuel and key household items,” he said.
“Given that fuel is a major cost input with these huge reductions the ICCC expects the business community and public transport (land, sea and air) network to pass these cost savings on to the consumers.”
He stated that the ICCC will monitor compliance and that individuals who do not comply will face penalties under the Price Regulations Act.
The ICCC is presently in contact with the government for prospective budgetary help, according to Mr Ain, in order to carry out this vital task.
Fuel, he added, is a big cost driver since it is a significant input in many supply chains in the country's production and delivery of products and services.
“When fuel prices increase, it often drives up the cost of doing business and subsequently increases the prices of goods and services,” Mr Ain said.
“If fuel prices are decreasing, these will have a chain effect on other items because freight will come down and shelves prices of goods and services will also decrease.”
Reference: Kamus, Maxine. Post-Courier (20 April 2022). “10% GST On Fuel To Be Cut In May”.
PNG Business News - May 03, 2021
ICCC Worried about Proposed Carbon Levies
The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) is worried about the Climate Change and Development Authority's (CCDA) proposed new carbon levies or extra excise duties. The ICCC expressed its reservations in a recent media release, stating that there has been a lack of substantive meetings with the impacted sectors on the issue, as well as the procedural mechanism used to enact these new levies and its negative effect on PNG users and companies. These carbon levies were first gazetted by the Ministry of Finance in National Gazette No. G304 on May 27, 2020, and then updated in National Gazette No. G673 on October 12, 2020, resulting in a rise in excise tariffs, according to ICCC Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer Paulus Ain. The ICCC decided not to incorporate the extra excise duties in the pump prices for gasoline, diesel, and kerosene after the new levies were gazetted, according to Commissioner Ain, so any alteration to the Excise Tariff Act should be introduced by the Department of Treasury and passed by Parliament. He also stated that the Department of Treasury recommended in October 2020 that the carbon levies or extra excise not be imposed until the effect on enterprises and customers is completely evaluated. “Despite the advice from Treasury, who is responsible for tax policy matters, the CCDA has proceeded to implement the carbon levies or additional excise tariffs, as per G673, on 12th April 2020,” Mr Ain said. “Despite the important role the ICCC undertakes in the pricing the refined petroleum products at the retail level, the ICCC found out about this latest development when it was brought to our attention by a concerned stakeholder.” He said, “Treasury and ICCC were not copied on recent correspondences in relation to this matter when CCDA informed the industry of their intention to commence collecting these new levies or additional excise duties.” At a moment when the economy and companies are still suffering from the global and national impacts of COVID-19, the ICCC is very worried about the influence of these carbon levies and fees on the petroleum, airline, and agriculture sectors, as well as customers. Ain said, “Based on the actual volume of fuel products used in the country in 2020, the ICCC has estimated that from 2021 onwards, consumers and businesses in PNG will incur an additional fuel cost of about K12 million annually.” “This additional estimated cost to the economy will increase once the economy recovers and more fuel is consumed in the market, or when CCDA further increases the carbon levies in the future.” Despite the CCDA and the Department of Finance's plan to raise the latest levies in April 2020, according to National Gazette No. G673 of 2020, Puma Energy PNG Refining Limited started collecting them in November 2020. “The CCDA needs to clarify what it is going to do about the levies Puma Energy has been collecting from consumers since November 2020,” Ain said. The ICCC is mandated by the Prices Regulation Act to incorporate all valid market costs in controlled prices. Given the legal concerns and Treasury's recommendation to postpone the introduction of the new levies before the matter is fully discussed on a policy level, ICCC is urging CCDA to postpone the implementation of the new levies until Treasury receives its input on the matter and appropriate procedures are followed to amend the Excise Tariff Act if required. This is because the new excise duties on processed fuel goods are designed to reduce emissions in the atmosphere. To avoid imposing redundant fees and charges on companies in the region, any carbon levies or additional excise duty on refined fuel goods should be viewed holistically by Treasury. According to Ain, the ICCC has decided to exempt these levies from the prices of refined petroleum products while waiting for more information from Treasury.
PNG Business News - September 20, 2021
ICCC Signs MoU for ICT Concerns
The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission and the National Information and Communication Technology Authority have signed a memorandum of understanding to handle customer ICT concerns. According to ICCC Commissioner Paulus Ain, there has always been a missing connection between the ICCC and the NICTA in terms of where the legislation stands in addressing consumer-related concerns in the country's ICT sector. “The three years collaboration with NICTA will provide an enhanced platform to deal with customer complaints and their rights in-regards to Information and Communications Technology services.” According to Ain, the partnership will allow the ICCC and NICTA to share and transfer expertise, resources, and understanding as regulators to address competition and regulatory issues that stymie the ICT sector's development. The MOU reflects NICTA's commitment to forging strategic partnerships with industry leaders, including other government agencies, in the future, according to NICTA CEO Kila Gulo-Vui. “I am confident that the synergies from our mutual cooperation today will enable NICTA and ICCC to respond well to our mandated roles and responsibilities,” he said. He praised Ain and his team for their efforts. Reference: Kamus, Maxine. Post-Courier (15 September 2021). “ICCC Signs Deal With NICTA To Resolve Continued ICT Issues”.
PNG Business News - October 25, 2021
ICCC: Fuel Costs May Decline
Photo credit: Loop PNG - Paulus Ain According to the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC), fuel costs may decline as a result of travel limitations imposed by the Coronavirus (Covid-19). The Covid-19 epidemic, according to Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer Paulus Ain, might affect travel and hence lower demand for gasoline. “Fuel is a strategic commodity with its prices greatly influenced by global geopolitical events and sentiments,” he said. “Fuel prices may decline due to restrictions on travel because of the spread of the Coronavirus’ Delta variant.” Papua New Guinea was a price taker, according to Ain, since it was a net importer of refined gasoline and crude oil. “This means, PNG does not decide fuel prices,” he said. “Domestic prices of fuel in PNG are determined by world oil prices.” Retail gasoline costs for this month have risen, according to the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission, due to an increase in the imported price of petroleum products. This month's fuel selling price is K3.79, diesel is K3.28, and kerosene is K3.01. With the rise in gasoline costs, Ain stated that public motor vehicles (PMV) should not raise charges over the ICCC-approved pricing, as this was unlawful. He said that the ICCC adjusted PMV rates on a yearly basis in response to changes in the general price level (Consumer Price Index) and the cost of gasoline (diesel). “However, the annual adjustments to PMV fares take into account the previous year’s movements in the general price level and cost of fuel. “A monthly increase like what we observed last month will not significantly increase PMV fares next year, as monthly increases are averaged out during annual adjustments, which take place at the end of each year,” he said. Reference: Moi, Clarissa. The National (20 October 2021). “Fuel price likely to drop: Ain”.
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PNG Business News - August 12, 2022
Going Green: FAO-led EU-STREIT PNG Programme provides green-powered facility to local agricultural authorities to effectively service rural farmers
EU Funded UN Joint STREIT Programme in Papua New Guinea establishes a renewable energy-powered facility to support local government authorities in East Sepik Province, in delivering effective services to rural farmers and entrepreneurs. With generous support of the European Union, the FAO-led EU STREIT Programme officially opened a new 3 cluster office building on 10 August 2022, to host the Programme along with the East Sepik provincial divisions of Agriculture and Livestock, Cocoa Board and the National Agriculture Quarantine & Inspection Authority. The new-look office building is powered by 189 solar panels, which significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduces the collective dependence on fossil fuel. The solar panels supply the building with 90 KW of energy, relieving the resident agencies and authorities from relying on fossil-generated electricity for their needs, including lighting, ICT, water pumping, and temperature control. This zero-carbon-emission facility has the capacity to accommodate around 90 experts, technicians and extension service officers. Equipped with 120 batteries, the building can support staff’s operation for 36 hours in case of experiencing high cloud cover. The building, currently co-resided by the Programme and provincial agricultural bodies, will be transferred over to the East Sepik Provincial Administration at the end of the Programme and will continue to provide a sustainable base for sustainable support to agriculture-related services in the Province. Officiating the opening ceremony, His Excellency Ambassador Jernej Videtič, Head of the European Union Delegation to PNG, in his address, said: “I am happy to be here and to see that things are moving in the right direction to bring sustainable benefits to the people of East Sepik” Ambassador Videtič further highlighted that “with resources from the citizens of Europe to fund the EU-STREIT Programme in providing training, tools and support, the quantity and quality of cocoa, vanilla and fisheries products will increase. The objective is also to protect these quality products in international markets under the EU-STREIT introduced initiative of Geographical Indication.” The East Sepik Acting Deputy Provincial Administrator, Mr James Baloiloi, in his speech expressed his appreciation to the EU for funding the EU-STREIT Programme and the interventions that the Programme is doing in East Sepik and Sandaun provinces. “The STREIT Programme has gone ahead to introduce a culture of agribusiness that now enables the people of this Province and the people of Sandaun Province to have cash income that can sustain their livelihoods.” Mr Baloiloi added, “this infrastructure and building supports us and facilitates the service delivery to our people in this Province as well as Sandaun Province.” Thanking the EU for its generous funding support, Dr Xuebing Sun, the EU-STREIT Programme Coordinator, said: “the Programme has generated substantial impacts at beneficiary, local institutions and enabling business environment levels. This would not be possible with good partnership, increased ownerships and leaderships of the governments and implementing partners.” “This co-residing and close co-operation among UN agencies and their national partners in this integrated space reflect the partnership approach taken by the Programme to sustainably develop agri-enterprise activities in the region,” added Dr Xuebing Sun, adding “the new climate-friendly facility, which is fully powered by solar energy, also provides a space to welcome, advise and serve the farmers, including interested women and youth, who play very important roles along agri-food value chains”. “This kind of ‘green investment’ enables a shift to a more green economy for local institutions and infrastructure to meet cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains stakeholders” advised Anthony Bennett, the FAO Lead Technical Officer of the EU-STREIT PNG Programme. United Nations’ implementing partners supporting the FAO-led EU-STREIT PNG present in the office include the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The EU-STREIT PNG is being implemented as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as implementing partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the Country and the Pacific region. It focuses on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through increasing the economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains and strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.
Paul Oeka - August 12, 2022
CPAPNG annual meet to discuss global changes
Certified Practicing Accountants of Papua New Guinea will be hosting their 23rd annual conference with about 400 participants nationwide expected to attend the two day conference organized by CPA PNG in Lae Morobe Province from August 18 to19, 2022 CPAPNG was established in 1974 and has come a long way with a lot of achievements along the way. Over the years its membership grew from mere numbers to just below 2000 which includes 40% locals and 60% non-citizens. . The CPA PNG conference is one of CPAs three significant annual events on their calendar with this year's conference theme; Is PNG prepared for the recession?" The conference will see certain key leaders in executive management roles from both the public and private sector delivering presentations in line with the conference theme. CPA PNG's Executive Director Mr. Yuwak Tau said the theme of the conference was selected because there was a decline in the global economy and the general so when that eventuates small economies tend to be affected. He added that they have basically selected the theme that was current and appropriate so that members would find relevance during the course of the conference. “The meeting is to create intellectual and interactive discussions with seasoned business leaders to present and share their ideas and experiences to find probable outcomes within their business environment and industries in times of economic uncertainty”. Some of the topics to be presented by consultants are current significant issues such as crypto currency, transport pricing, bit coin block chain technology and stress management. This were some topics that people have heard about but have not really ventured into. Mr. Tau added that it would be quite hard to measure the benefits immediately but the participants will be able to look at insights shared during the conference that would be appropriate in the areas of employment, accounting, finance, auditing and others. The conference will create an environment where participants can also share information so That they can take points to apply in their work place and industries. In relation the Kumul petroleum Holdings had also presented a cheque of K50, 000 to support the coming event at their head office. The cheque was presented by KPHL's executive General Manager Corporate Affairs, Luke Liria and was received by CPA PNG Chairman Richard Kuna. Mr. Liria said KPHL has appreciated the effort put in by CPA PNG to ensure that its members in State owned enterprises and the private sector were given appropriate level of training and as part of KPHL's corporate social responsibility and commitment they hope that their support will continue to help the organization facilitate and make sure the accounting practices is of international standards. CPA PNG's Chairman, Richard Kuna acknowledged KPHL for their support and stated that he was looking forward to seeing KPHL being a big part of the upcoming conference.
Paul Oeka - August 12, 2022
BSP: Small to Medium Enterprises Loans reaches 60% rate.
Bank South Pacific's Financial Group Ltd Chief executive officer Mr. Robin Fleming has recently announced that the bank has granted more than K200 million as loans to small to medium enterprises under its credit scheme facility that the then Marape government had released to the bank to support Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) and local businesses during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Fleming said about 1523 customer loans have been approved, that is about 60% of loan approval rates since 2019. Prior to this announcement BSP and the Department of Commerce and Industry (DCI) had agreed to increase the maximum loan under the small-to-medium enterprise (SME) credit enhancement facility to K5 million. The previous limit was K3 million when the Government first released K100 million as security to the bank under its K200 million SME allocation for BSP to rollout the loan facility last year. Fleming stated that even though they have exhausted and rolled out the bulk of the governments relief funds for SME's they will still be running the SME loan program under its credit facility scheme “At this stage, BSP has not received the funding planned for this year but that is not preventing BSP from giving loans under the facility”. “There remains significant capacity for BSP to continue to assess, approve and funds loans under the facility”. “The agreement with the Government did provide for momentum in the SME facility to be maintained while allowing for the Government budget and funding process to be adhered to”. As part of the government SME relief funding, Commercial Banks were allocated K200 million with BSP Financial Group receiving K100 million, NDB K80 million and another K20 million was allocated to the department of Commerce and Industry BSP could not comment on how the National Development Bank (NDB) is dealing with the K80 million it received, but the intent, when discussions were initiated, was that BSP would be lending to more mature SMEs and NDB to startup ventures. In addition to enabling SMEs to access lower cost of funds through the facility with BSP, the bank has also made it a responsibility to ensure that Government funding is preserved by not approving loans that have a higher risk of default.