PNG's Banking Sector Needs More Competition, Says Kina Bank CEO
by PNG Business News - March 02, 2023
Photo: Greg Pawson. Credit: Kina Bank Facebook Page
Kina Bank's CEO and Managing Director, Greg Pawson, has called for more competition in the banking sector in Papua New Guinea. According to Pawson, the recent 50% increase in corporate income tax to 45% will make it difficult for other banks to compete. He also stated that the decision to increase the tax was made without considering the true consequences of how it would impact the ability of a strong challenge brand to continue its growth agenda.
In a statement made while announcing Kina Bank's 2022 financial year results, Pawson expressed disappointment in the tax increase and described it as a hindrance to the remainder of the bank's 2025 strategic plan. He said:
“The announcement by the government in the December budget for a 50 per cent increase in Corporate Tax for Commercial Banks to 45 per cent is disappointing and a hindrance in the remainder of the 2025 strategic plan. Not only is this quite possibly one of the highest tax rates in the world, it targets a sector of the market that is critical for supporting PNG’s economic growth aspirations."
Pawson stressed that more banking competition was needed in the country, but the additional tax would make the one major bank stronger and weaken competition due to a lack of size and limited investment to expand and grow. He said:
“More banking competition is required in PNG, however, this additional tax impost will simply make the one major bank stronger and weaken competition due to a comparatively lack of size and therefore limited investment to expand and grow.”
Pawson further commented that many organizations in the country need to pay taxes, but they are not doing so. He urged the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) to improve its underlying efficiency to ensure that those businesses pay taxes and bring more business from the informal sector into the formal sector. Currently, Kina Bank pays K32 million in taxes. He said:
“The IRC (Internal Revenue Commission) has the mandate to improve their underlying efficiency to ensure that those businesses are paying tax and bringing more business from the informal sector into the formal sector.”
PNG Business News - April 19, 2021
Kina Bank Shareholders Approve Acquisition
At its General Meeting on April 15th in Port Moresby, Kina Securities Limited (KSL) shareholders unanimously voted in favour of Kina Bank's takeover of Westpac PNG and Westpac Fiji. CEO Greg Pawson said in a statement that the shareholders' vote of confidence was "amazing." “We are very excited about this opportunity, and creating a stronger and more effective banking competitor for PNG and Fiji. The acquisition is perfectly aligned with our current strategy to be a dynamic and innovative full-service regional bank with a market-leading digital platform.” Following the planned takeover, a newly branded bank will emerge, independent and distinct from Kina Bank, and it will compete directly with all commercial banks in Fiji and PNG, including Kina Bank. “It’s a really positive story and it will be a great outcome for customers from a service and product perspective. Creating a brand-new bank means there will be more customer choice, more competition and more innovation. With the proposed acquisition we will be able to introduce fee free banking options; a new suite of world-class digital products and services; and we will be able to re-price business lending, making it more cost-effective for business customers to access funding.” According to Pawson, there would be no reduction in rivalry or the possibility of a duopoly or market domination. He claims that the planned transaction would position Kina to return banking to its roots on a larger scale, with improved customer support and an emphasis on lowering banking costs in both PNG and Fiji. According to Pawson, one of the major advantages of this proposed transaction is that it would enable local investors to engage by equity raising and provide opportunities for PNG investors to be a part of an ASX/PNGX listed firm, joining many other local PNG investors including Comrade Trustee Services Limited and MRDC. “It means everyone has the opportunity to be an active shareholder in an ASX/PNGX listed company which provides more local investment opportunities, this is important for the region,” added Pawson. In both Fiji and PNG, regulatory approval is needed for the acquisition.
PNG Business News - March 29, 2021
ICCC Evaluating Kina Banks Acquisition of Westpac
Kina Securities Ltd (KSL) has sent an application to the Independent Consumer Competition Commission (ICCC) for approval of its proposed acquisition of Westpac's Pacific company. Through the authorisation process, ICCC will determine the acquisition's competition consequences and public gains, according to Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer Paulus Ain. This will be achieved by a public review process in which the ICCC will accept comments from stakeholders and the general public before reaching a definitive judgment about whether or not to approve the acquisition under the ICCC Act. “The process that ICCC will conduct is very transparent and it is very important for the people of this country, especially from the finance and banking sector, to get themselves involved,” Ain said. “The process has now started and we are formally inviting the people in the finance and banking sector, other commentators, interested parties and the public to the process on assessment. We are looking forward to seeing a lot of submissions come in and this process starts effectively today (Friday).” KSL is awaiting ICCC approval to purchase 89.91 per cent of Westpac PNG Ltd. The proposed acquisition has reached the threshold needed under section 81 of the ICCC Act for mandatory notification and obtaining ICCC approval to continue with the acquisition, according to the ICCC. The authorisation process, according to Ain, has no bearing on the ICCC's decision on who buys. “This is something that ICCC does not or is not required by law to do this,” he said. “It’s outside of the ICCC’s role.”
PNG Business News - June 01, 2021
Kina Bank appoints Chief of Staff, new executive role to drive transformation
Kina Bank is pleased to announce the appointment of Judith Ugava-Taunao as Chief of Staff reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer. In this new senior leadership role, Judith will take a position on the Executive Committee, demonstrating Kina’s continued commitment to promoting PNG women into leadership roles. Judith joins Kina Bank with a distinguished career, having worked in international development, organisational transformation, and human resource development and leadership. For 18 years she has built a career that spans across international borders and sectors. Prior to joining Kina Bank, Judith was at Oil Search where she served as the Vice President, Change Management Lead and as the General Manager for OSL’s Citizen Development Program. “I am pleased to join the Kina Bank team at a time when the opportunity to introduce new and transformative change in the banking industry is upon us,” said Ms Ugava-Taunao. “It is exciting to consider Kina’s growth over the next five years and the drive to bring improved financial services to Papua New Guineans who want more out of their banks.” In her new role, Judith will be responsible for developing and delivering key strategic, business priorities. The appointment is critical to the success of the business, ensuring the bank delivers on its long-term aspirations. Judith adds significant strength to the executive team. Greg Pawson, Kina Bank’s Chief Executive Officer said: “I am delighted that Judith is joining the Kina Bank team. She has a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience that will benefit the Bank in its transformational journey. Judith’s appointment also demonstrates our continued commitment to promoting women into leadership roles. It’s an exciting time of growth and expansion for us and with Judith’s expertise in business development and change management, we have an exciting future ahead.”
Paul Oeka - March 27, 2023
Papua LNG project to Minimise Economic Challenges
Photo: Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua has recently stated that the Papua LNG project is critical in addressing some of the economic challenges that are currently faced in the country. He said about K75 billion will be generated over a 15 year period when the project is in progress. He added that the initial stages of the project has commenced with K500 million said to be inputted into PNGs foreign exchange capacity in 2023. During a press conference on Thursday the 9th of March, The Petroleum minister highlighted the progressive stages of the Papua LNG project and emphasized the importance and significance of the benefits that the project will provide. According to studies the project life is expected to operate over a 15 year period that will generate about K75 billion and significantly boost Papua New Guinea's struggling economy. "The K75 billion benefit is inclusive of what comes to the state directly as levies, to Kumul Petroleum, to the landowners as royalties and the provincial governments. All of us put together are going to be collecting and sharing that benefit in the next 15 to 20 years", Kua said. Minister Kua said that studies for the Papua LNG project began in 2004 following the discovery by Interoil, the resource estimate is in the range of 6 trillion cubic feet of gas and 98 to 100 million barrels of condensive oil. The benefit of this project is immense and a positive component is the national content which is expected to positively impact GDP, export earnings, forex, revenue to impacted levels of government, landowner benefits and Job opportunities. Minister Kua said the project developer Total Energies will inject K500 million into the PNG economy in 2023. "The Papua LNG project is a project of national significance for Papua New Guinea and will stimulate business confidence and will provide a significant impetus for our economy", "The Marape-Rosso government places high priority on the delivery of the Papua LNG project, we have an improved deal for our people, and improved contribution for our national contractors and workforce. The government strongly supports the Papua LNG project and encourages all stakeholders including project partners to work diligently to deliver the project on time and on budget", Minister Kua said. Petroleum Secretary David Manau was also present at the conference, he highlighted that the petroleum department will work closely with impacted provincial governments and landowners as this is important in ensuring that all stakeholder grievances are discussed and addressed. In light of this, a development forum is expected in the third quarter of this year. Meanwhile, Kua also revealed a unique aspect of the upcoming project which will mitigate the project's carbon footprint and is set to make PNG in becoming the first country in the Asia Pacific region and only the second on the world to re-inject carbon dioxide back into the well pad in a LNG project. He said the re-inspection of carbon dioxide into the well pad is a significant step towards reducing the project's carbon footprint and will help mitigate the environmental impact of the project and contribute to Papua New Guinea's efforts to combat climate change. The Papua LNG project is a joint venture between the PNG government, TotalEnergies and Exxon Mobil. It is one of the largest investments in the country's history and is expected to generate significant revenue for PNG's economy. Total Energies holds 40.1 percent interest in Papua LNG, along with its joint venture partners Exxon Mobil (37.1 percent) and Santos(22.8 percent). The Papua New Guinea government may exercise a back-in right of up to 22.5 percent interest at the Final Investment Decision (FDI) planned by end of 2023 to early 2024 and production will be scheduled for four years later.
PNG Business News - March 27, 2023
WanPNG: The Skills Development and Jobs Platform for the People of Papua New Guinea
Wan PNG is a platform and community dedicated to expanding opportunities for local Papua New Guineans. Its goal is to increase the development and sustainable employment of local PNG talent, so everyone in our great nation can share in newfound resources and growing prosperity. With the goal of empowering individuals and businesses with the skills and people they need to succeed in the 21st century world, the Wan PNG platform spans three core areas for job seekers: Employment opportunities: Gain experience with internships, start earning with entry positions, or upgrade your career with the next big job. Career advice: Advance your career with expert advice and professional resources, and stay up-to-date on the latest news. Education and training: Expand your employment prospects by upgrading your knowledge, skills, and competencies through courses. For employers it provides: Free access to upload jobs and find the best talent. Smart matching between jobs and candidates. Diversity promoting candidate suggestions reaching a wide pool of talent. The platform's primary objective is to promote lifelong learning and employment and simultaneously bridge the skills gap in Papua New Guinea by providing accessible training opportunities to all its citizens. WanPNG believes that by investing in the development of its people, Papua New Guinea can unlock its full potential and become a more prosperous nation. WanPNG is now available for job seekers and employers. Visit the website now at www.wanpng.com to learn more.
PNG Business News - March 27, 2023
St John Ambulance First Aid Training for Workplace
The St John ambulance service responded to over 21,000 emergencies across Papua New Guinea in 2022. In addition to being Papua New Guinea’s main emergency ambulance service, St John is the nation’s leading first aid training provider equipping thousands of workers with essential first aid skills and knowledge. With just one day of training, St John’s expert first aid trainers can equip your workers with the basic skills to handle all kinds of first aid emergencies. Workplace accidents and injuries are a common occurrence and it is essential for employers to have a competent workforce that can respond effectively to emergencies. St John’s workplace first aid courses ensure your workforce is equipped with the first aid training to assist a sick or injured person. It also helps organizations comply with legal requirements, reduce workplace injuries and fatalities and promote a culture of safety and preparedness. The Papua New Guinea St John Ambulance provides training routinely in Port Moresby and Lae, and can facilitate training at any location in PNG, which makes it easy for workers to gain or maintain their first aid qualifications. St John’s first aid trainers come from a variety of backgrounds, enabling them to contribute real-life experiences to the training environment. Each course, based on St John Ambulance Australia’s training resources, goesthrough rigorous appraisal by training and health specialists including St John’s Papua New Guinea’s medical expert advisory panel - made up of some of the industry’s leading physicians and health professionals, who ultimately endorse the clinical training content components of the first aid courses. St John CEO Matt Cannon said, “this rigorous appraisal process gives clients the confidence of St John’s commitment to delivering the highest quality in training content and delivery in Papua New Guinea.” Workplace first aid courses cover a broad range of topics, including basic life support, wound care, bandaging, splinting, CPR and using an AED. Participants learn how to identify and manage different medical emergencies such as heart attacks, strokes, burns, fractures, and poisoning. Each training program is designed to be flexible and can be delivered on-site or at one of our training centres. If you want to ensure that your workplace is prepared to respond to emergencies, contact St John today to learn more about our workplace first aid training.