Boardroom briefing: fish markets, African swine fever and gratuity


Koki Fish Market in Port Moresby introduces a fee for traders, pig prices headed for a steep jump, and what a ridesharing company can teach us about gratuity. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

Fish markets are doing it anyway

The decision by the Moresby South Market Management Board (MSMMB) earlier this month to introduce a K50 per day fee for traders at the Koki Fish Market has created waves, so to speak.

The K10 million market, which opened in December 2016, was originally built under a public-private partnership. Building a market is one thing; running it quite another. So who should pay?

Unquestionably, the market has provided tangible benefits to traders and is now a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.

Can vendors afford K50 a day? Informed commentators on social media seem to think it may be too high.

There are competing theories at play here: the user-pays theory suggests you only value something when you pay for it. Marketers, on the other hand, will tell you that receiving something for free can be a powerful motivator. Will high fees provide a disincentive and remove money from the very SME sector the government is determined to encourage? Or will they ensure the market’s ongoing viability and sustainability, which will be a benefit to all?

Armchair theorists can now sit back and watch for the outcomes from the MSMMB’s brave experiment.

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(Coincidentally, the massive Sydney Fish Markets, in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, announced this month an AUD$750 million (K1.75 billion) upgrade, funded entirely by the government. According to Deloitte, ‘economic modelling shows that this will lift NSW Gross State Product by an average of $61 million [K142 million] per year between 2023 and 2032.’ In other words, it won’t quite pay for itself but they’re doing it anyway.)

Pig prices, African swine fever and PNG

Jiwaka Province is reportedly preparing to prevent a possible outbreak of African swine fever. In December 2018, PNG was placed on ‘amber alert’ for the virus.

Less than a year later, only the Arafura Sea separates PNG from the latest country to confirm cases of the incurable viral disease: Timor-Leste.

The viral disease is extremely contagious and it has been confirmed in 50 countries. It’s estimated that 25 per cent of the world’s pig population has been culled due to it. The virus spreads when pigs come into contacts with contaminated feed, products or sick pigs. There’s no known cure.

Tim Foulds, Euromonitor International’s Head of Research for Australasia, told Bloomberg that government attempts to control the crisis, including the large-scale culling of animals, has resulted in pork production dropping dramatically in 2019.

To tip or not to tip?

Taxi terminal at Lae. Source: Ela Motors

Giving gratuity for a service is a tricky practice when travelling (or living) overseas. You can get advice from fellow travellers on Lonely Planet or Trip Advisor, but one thing is for sure, the practice is not as common anymore.

After the ridesharing company Uber installed a tipping function on its app in 2017, researchers at the University of Chicago used data from 40 million trips and found that 60 per cent of riders don’t tip; only one per cent of riders always leave gratuity.

So, who is most likely to leave a tip or receive one according to this research?

The study found that gender and the size of the city in which the ride was taken plays a big part. People who live in small cities tip more often. Gratuity tends to be higher in business trips and rides to airports. Men tip 23 per cent more than women but female drivers get more tips. People also tend to leave a ‘little extra’ when they’ve had the same driver more than once.

‘The quality of the service does seem to affect the tip. It just matters way less than all these [other] factors,’ said Professor John List, the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor or Economics at UChicago, who used to work at Uber.

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