Major Disruption To Businesses On The Card
The current lockdown will be a massive disruption to businesses.
This is according to the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Rio Fiocco.
Mr Fiocco told this newspaper yesterday that the current lockdown by the government will help the country to contain the spread of covid-19 however, it will also affect businesses greatly.
Mr Fiocco said businesses are now looking up to the government to come clear with them on arrangements that they will need to help sustain their operations going forward.
“It is going to be a challenging time for businesses as well as customers.
So the biggest thing is we must all learn to work together to support the government in this State of Emergency (SoE).
That also goes for the front line health workers, doctors, nurses and other essential staff.
“Businesses will need some sort of relief from government and we would like to see discussions with the government about what sort of arrangements can be offered during this period such as penalties for tax returns made for this year and loan repayments to be frozen for three months,” he said.
Mr Fiocco said there is a whole range of measures that they would like to discuss with the government. While it is too early to say how long this lockdown will be, other countries have gone beyond two weeks in the lockdown.
For Australia, their prime minister has announced that this will be going on for six months.
If we are able to contain the spread we may be lucky but this will still be a massive disruption to business and a lot of people will lose their jobs,” he said.
Mr Fiocco added that following their recent meeting with the Department of Treasury, they are now waiting to hear from the commercial banks for relief packages that will be released to customers anytime this week.
Meanwhile, major business stakeholder groups in the country have advised their members that the declared state of emergency has not introduced a curfew or controlled movement of persons within provinces.
They include the Manufacturer’s Council of PNG, Australia PNG Business Council, Business Council of PNG and the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The advisory said this will allow for the continued operation of PMVs within provinces.
The SoE has not identified any businesses that must cease or minimise operations or placed any restrictions on the domestic movement of goods.
“So members are advised that in the event that their supply chains are disrupted by this SoE, by Government officers attempting to enforce restrictions contrary to the SoE, email firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may assist,” the advisory said.