Focusing on what we can control


Last week, I sat down with the heads of three of Papua New Guinea’s leading companies – Kina Bank, Steamships Trading Company and Paradise Foods – to discuss leadership during COVID-19, among other topics.

‘You need to get people thinking about what they can control versus what they can’t control.’—Greg Pawson, CEO, Kina Bank (top, right)

2020 has certainly challenged all of us to consider our leadership styles and effectiveness. I found my talk with Greg Pawson, James Rice and Rupert Bray therapeutic and inspiring.

Pawson’s words (above) about focusing on what you can control certainly had resonance, as did Rice and Bray’s on the importance of communication.

With PNG’s economy set to undergo what is being described as ‘slow recovery‘, another key focus of leadership is on the future growth of our businesses.

With new investment in products, marketing, plant, digital capability or capital funds, Rice, Bray and Pawson are all planning to expand their businesses 2021.

After all, while PNG’s GDP may have taken a four percent drop, the country still has a larger and more diverse economy than during the last downturn.

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As Bray noted is his first interview with us as the new MD of Steamships, ‘unlike when the economy was smaller and more resourced-focused, there are now businesses that a large conglomerate might be interested in buying.’

Bray is tasking his team to be more entrepreneurial in their thinking.

Resources still stalled?

All PNG’s entrepreneurs would certainly be helped if we could get movement on the conga line of resources projects lined up for approval.

While some progress has reportedly been made on Twinza Oil’s Pasca A project and on bringing the government and Barrick Gold together to reopen Porgera, the end-of-September target for a deal on Wafi-Golpu has passed by with talks continuing, while Oil Search this week was again reassuring the market that negotiations for the P’nyang LNG project were still ‘ongoing’ (while also noting the next ‘window’ for LNG exports is 2027).

Deadlines in negotiations are, of course, seldom rock-solid, but the PNG Government is facing two deadlines of its own in Parliament next month: the 2021 National Budget, which is being compiled with assistance of the IMF, and a possible vote-of-no-confidence in the Marape government. Some good news on the resources front would certainly make November more comfortable for both the Prime Minister and Treasurer.

Also in November, business will no doubt be keen to see the draft of a revised Investment Promotion Authority Act, with the IPA’s MD Clarence Hoot suggesting it could be ready for the next parliamentary session.

Doing Business in PNG

Doing business in PNG can be complex and it’s not always easy to find accurate and up-to-date business information.

This is why we’ve been steadily compiling our own guide, Doing Business in PNG, over the past year for our members.

This guide has just been released as a digital download for purchase (you can access the online version of the guide in full as part of your membership).

At around 60,000 words and 146 pages in length, the publication is an extensive guide to the key aspects of doing business in PNG. It has been produced by our editorial team in association with a number of content partners, including Dentons lawyers, KPMG, and recruitment specialists Pacific People Solutions and CC Pacific.

Click here to find out more.

Please stay safe and well. I wish you every success with your own leadership challenges.

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