Concerns over lockdown
Another total lockdown will cause 68 per cent of businesses to shut down by the end of the year, according to the Business Council of PNG (BCPNG).
Responding to queries, it said the NCC (National Control Centre) should, however, enforce self-regulation under the Niupela Pasin alert level 3 which required the public and businesses to ensure hygiene protocols and social distancing.
“BCPNG is in agreement on the self-regulation model applied and we encourage NCC to maintain this application in Alert 4 status as well,” it said.
“The market has slowly recovered since the lockdown/SOE was lifted and as per our Q1 (first quarter) statistics.
“A return to the lockdown will inevitably cause 68 per cent of businesses to shut by the end of the year.
“Self-regulation is the only option we have of recovery in these extraordinary times and be happy.”
In a letter written by BCPNG president Nuni Kulu to National Pandemic Controller and Police Commissioner David Manning obtained by The National, Kulu said the council continued to monitor market how the market is tracking.
“While there remain considerable challenges to recover, it is critical for ongoing dialogue with stakeholders,” Kulu said.
“Since the state of emergency was lifted, where roadblocks were removed and domestic travel permitted, the movement of essential persons and goods from province to province has improved the market.
“This approach has been essential in assisting businesses in keeping people employed and gradually moves towards returning to 2019 trading figures.
“This is remarkable as there was a strong likelihood of 68 per cent closure of businesses and significant job losses.
“There are, of course, other sectors that would remain impacted such as the tourism sector due to international travel and we are working with our colleagues to explore relief strategies with the Government.
“When considering the status of most businesses, they do not have the capability to work from home and cannot afford to restrict operations and some businesses may interpret alert 3 to close their operations.
“Cognizant of the fact that businesses are slowly starting to recover, it is imperative we continue dialogue to find the balance between health measures and business continuity for financial recovery.”
BCPNG assured that businesses had applied discipline on their own staff to wear masks and on best endeavours practically implement measures without entirely preventing people from accessing business services.