In brief: Link PNG and PNG Air seek to join forces and other business stories


Link PNG reapplies to get a shareholding in PNG Air, Air Niugini announces new requirements for international travel and BSP launches new cashless product. The business news in brief.

Link PNG

Credit: Air Niugini


Link PNG and PNG Air have reapplied to the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) for Link PNG to acquire a ‘minority shareholding in PNG Air.’ This comes months after the ICCC rejected the proposal by Link PNG to buy 40 per cent shares of NASFUND in PNG Air.

In a joint statement, LINK PNG Chairman Kostas Constantinou and PNG Air Chairman Augustine Mano said the proposed joint venture is based on PNG Air remaining and independent airline, setting its own airfares and selling its own tickets separately from Air Niugini. The move, according to both companies, will guarantee PNG’s airline industry is profitable and sustainable without having to rely on the government for support. (Air Niugini)


On April 21, Air Niugini announced that all passenger departing internationally will need to take a COVID test before check in. The 45-minute test is in addition to the negative PCR test conducted within three days of travel that all passenger must present. Air Niugini is asking passengers to arrive between four and 2.5 hours before their flight to the airport to complete the test and to ensure they have arrangements in case the result comes back positive. The airline also said that passengers who don’t speak English or Tok Pisin should bring their own translator for the testing. (Air Niugini)


Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) is calling on the government to release reports on funding for the country’s COVID-19 response because there is no reliable and readily available information yet on the use of funds and international help received since the pandemic started over 16 months ago.

TIPNG says the National Government must release: ‘a detailed expenditure report for any procurement authorised by the office of the emergency controller, a breakup of bilateral and donor assistance, financial or otherwise, received to date, a summary of funds allocated to provincial health authorities, as well as acquittal statues, and the full internal audit report by Pape Accountants in 2020.’ (LOOP PNG)

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Singapore-based Trafigura Group, the majority shareholder in Puma Energy, has lodged an application to the ICCC to get clearance for the proposed acquisition of further interest in Puma Energy. Were the acquisition to occur, Trafigura would become the ‘controlling interest in Puma’. (The National)


Given the spike in COVID-19 cases and the measurements put in place to try to curve the spike, Prime Minister Marape has announced the government has put another K200 million for ‘soft lending’ to business houses.

The Prime Minister said that he understood that some of the measures put in place to try to curb COVID-19 have been tough on businesses, but that Cabinet ‘will sit down and look into what can be done to help our legitimate tax-paying businesses.’ It’s been reported that businesses will be able to access these funds via Bank South Pacific (BSP) and the National Development Bank. (Post-Courier)


The 2022 K200 million loan package stimulus for SMEs should prioritise tax-compliant companies, said Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce and Industry Minister Sam Basil. He also said that he has instructed the compilation of a report ‘on the disbursement of the K200 loan to rescue SMEs in 2020 as I remain unconvinced that the strategies and mechanisms adopted by the financial institutions tasked to disburse the first K200 million were effective or consistent with the government’s key priority to support PNG families.’ (Post-Courier)


Bank South Pacific has launched its new service No Card Just Pay, a cashless payment option that only requires the client’s BSP ID number and registered mobile number to purchase products and services on any registered BSP pay merchant website. No Card Just Pay is a first for PNG and the Pacific. Nuni Kulu, Digital General Manager, said ‘the BSP No Card Just Pay solutions will stimulate growth in the ecommerce space and provide an appropriate offering for our business community, starting from SME to our large corporates.’ (BSP)


Minister for Forests, Walter Schnaubelt, has reportedly said that he is considering increasing the log export development levy by K3 per cubic metres, meaning all timber species will go from K8 to K11 for round logs exported. He said the last increase was made 12 years ago. Schnaubelt said he also plans to advice timber companies to pay their 95 per cent royalties to landowners as timber companies are now paying five per cent withholding tax of landowner royalty directly to the Internal Revenue Commission. (Post-Courier)

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