PNG to pursue downstream processing and wants to build a gold refinery
Papua New Guinea’s government under new Prime Minister James Marape is adamant on pursuing downstream processing in gold production, forestry, fisheries and agriculture.
Marape said, we have been told over the years that we cannot build a gold refinery or do downstream in forestry in Papua New Guinea.
“Where is your evidence and data that will convince me that this is true,” he said adding downstream processing will be a win-win for all shareholders.
He said revenue generated must be brought back to PNG and we will consult with business community to see how this can be done and the Central Bank must be responsive in this regards.
Mr Marape initially made these known earlier this year during the first-ever PNG Investment Week conference spearheaded by President of the Australia PNG Business Council (PNG Office) Materua Tamarua and organising team that included the PNG Business Council and the Investment Promotion Authority.
The government is also pushing for greater and clearer dividend returns for PNG’s State Owned Entities that includes Air Niugini, Telikom Holdings, Water PNG, PNG Power Limited and others.
“I challenge CEOs of our SOE’s to ensure a good enabling environment so that they make profit and pay dividends,” the PM said.
We will introduce special tax incentives, support grants and loan schemes to help SME’s grow.
“You want to benefit, you must be 100% tax compliant and invest back into the local economy,” he said.
Marape said PNG was strategically placed between East-West.
According to the Business Council of PNG only 6% of SMEs are active in export markets.
Another report by Deloitte ‘Dawn of the Digital Age’ said it was important to encourage innovation in the Micro to Small Medium Enterprise (MSME) space emphasising innovation, increased use of big data and artificial intelligence for improved business opportunities.
The report stated that only 10% of people in PNG have access to the internet, 90% of this through mobile. It also stated that 74% of users are on Facebook while only 5% use other platforms of Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
The report said the internet was not well leveraged to realise its full potential of mobile social, cloud based systems, e-commerce and e-government.
While it focused on the digital opportunities and challenges, the report stated that an opportunity lies in leveraging tech-savvy youth in realising the enormous potential that lies in the harnessing the digital age.