Steamships assures unwavering commitment to PNG's future
STEAMSHIPS Trading Company Limited is ‘committed’ to the development of Papua New Guinea despite the tough economic challenges.
This ‘unwavering commitment’ is evidenced by STC been a part of PNG’s growth and development for more than 100 years.
These remarks were made by Mr David Toua, STC General Manager Corporate Affairs.
“Steamships has an on-going commitment to PNG. We have a strong balance sheet and our commitment and investment to PNG is strong...we recognise times are tough,” Mr Toua said.
Despite the challenging economic conditions, last October STC announced the start of construction for the K250 million Harbourside South project that will consist of a new tower comprising 21 levels of prime residential apartment, retail and commercial spaces and much needed car parking space.
He said 2007 to 2013 was a period of unparalleled growth and the economy was booming.
“But since 2015 we have been experiencing challenging economic conditions,” he said, challenging the government to find that ‘next big pot of gold’.
He also urged for the government to address the foreign exchange issues, address policy reviews effectively and efficiently and help boost business confidence by meeting government obligations.
In an internal newsletter Chairman of the STC Group, Geoff Cundle in welcoming staff to 2020, had echoed the recent Christmas message by the Managing Director Michael Scantlebury that, ‘2019 was a year of challenges for Steamships as Papua New Guinea continued working its way through the tough economic cycle that has existed since 2015’.
Challenges are likely to remain as evidenced by the record deficit budget of K4.631.1 billion announced by Treasury Hon. Ian Ling-Stuckey on November 28, 2019.
Mr Cundle said the current economic uncertainties will be reflected in the way that STC conducts business.
“Our balance sheet remains strong as does our commitment to long term investment in the country, but we will be disciplined in our decision making to ensure that we are well positioned to capitalise on the opportunities when they eventually materialise,” he said.
Mr Toua assured this in no way means commitments are waivered.
During 2019, through its Steamships Community Grants programme, STC provided K92, 000 in funding for a new classroom for the Gateway School, providing elementary education to children in Port Moresby’s Moitaka area.
Other projects it undertook and delivered last year include the Laukanu Sanitation Project in Morobe province with K180, 000 funding and an initial funding of K145, 000 to the Buk Bilong Pikinini (BbP). STC is a foundation sponsor since BbP inception 12 years ago.
Steamships division, the Coral Sea Hotels Group, recently opened its new Highlander Hotel state of the art Conference Centre in Mt Hagen.
The Steamships Group covers Logistics (East West Transport and Port Services, Consort and Pacific Towing); Property and Hotels (Pacific Palms and the Coral Sea Hotels) and a key major JV with Colgate Palmolive (PNG).