Business confidence low: Exec
BUSINESS confidence in the country is “somewhat low” at the moment, BSP chief executive Robin Fleming says.
Fleming said the country needs new resource projects to boost investor confidence.
He made the statement when asked whether major resource projects such as Wafi-Golpu gold project in Morobe would have any impact on the bank’s performance last year if the development had kicked off.
The BSP group had just reported K890 million profit after tax for 2019, a 5.5 per cent increase from the previous year.
“Business confidence at the moment is somewhat low and it does need some real positive statements and sentiments in respect to those new projects,” he told The National.
“We (BSP) had our board meeting in Lae and many of the businesses in Lae are looking to some form of tangible engagement between Government and Wafi-Golpu, Harmony and Newcrest, to progress that particular project (Wafi-Golpu).
“Just the indication by Government and sponsors of Wafi-Golpu, (they) would agree to some form of commitment and that would provide a lot of confidence to people.
“Not just to make new investments but to keep the investments at the same level, so that they don’t put staff off, they don’t reduce costs because of unprofitability being challenged.”
Commenting on the possible impacts of resource projects on the bank’s performance, Fleming said: “Well certainly, if there were decisions made, we may have seen some increase in the profit.
“Those foreign direct investments are important to be able to provide business, and businesses that bank with us to be able to undertake various investments.
“And there’s possibly more where Government needs to consider what the impact will be on various businesses without a substantial project.
“BSP profit comes from increasing the number of loans we have and increasing the number of customers we have, and equally, giving bigger profits outside of PNG.”