In brief: O’Neill puts tax reform on the agenda, and other business stories

Business’ failure to pay taxes prompts tax reform review, SABL files go missing in Lands Department, and work on second phase of Lae-Nadzab Highway to commence soon. Your weekly digest of the latest business news.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill reportedly said the government is focusing on a new taxation reform after putting on hold the tax credit scheme, because businesses failed to pay their fair share of taxes. ‘We must make sure our taxation system is suited for small-to-medium enterprises, as compliance has been sometimes complicated and costly for small businesses,’ he said.

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Lands Minister Justin Tkatchenko has reportedly ordered his department to ‘leave no stones unturned’ in the search for 60 missing SABL files, which have ‘mysteriously disappeared’ from the department’s archives. The Post-Courier reports they are among 175 SABL files being investigated by a special team.

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Department of Works’ David Wereh.

Work on the second phase of the Lae-Nadzab four-lane highway will start in about three months, says Works Department Secretary David Wereh. Wereh told The National the government allocated another K15 million for the construction of the five-kilometre second phase to start from Wau-Bulolo Junction, at 9-Mile, to Yalu Bridge. The 45km Lae-Nadzab Highway reconstruction started in 2014 and will cost the government about K500 million.

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The first fresh milk product from the Ilimo Dairy Farm in Central has been launched this week and will sell at half the price of imported fresh milk, according to Innovative Agro Industry Executive Director Ilan Weiss. He says the Ilimo farm milk will replace one-third of the K400 million worth of milk imported from Australia and NZ annually. The other two-thirds will be produced at a yet-to-be-built farm at Yalu, just outside Lae.

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The National Information Communication and Telecommunication Authority (NICTA) boss Charles Punaha reportedly says as many as 30 local and international companies face cancellation of their various operating licences because they are not in use. Among them is Dubai-based Awal Telecommunications, which was awarded three 10-year individual operator licences to operate in PNG. It had planned a US$260 million (K819 million) mobile phone-related business in 2014.

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Research is underway into a new micro-insurance solution for the coastal fisheries sector throughout the Pacific. The South Pacific Community and the UN’s Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme will identify companies who can distribute or sell insurance products to those involved in the small-scale fishing industry. The work is similar to a project involving Fiji‘s sugarcane industry in 2017, which resulted in FijiCare Insurance Limited providing 12,500 farmers with bundled insurance that cost them F$52 a year. This scheme has already paid out 43 claims amounting to F$166,000.

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Solomon Islands Ministry of Fisheries has put a stop to the harvesting of sea cucumber, saying the species had been exploited and its recovery had been slow in spite of a two-year closure. The ministry says the five-month open harvest period ended at midnight on January 31 and it warns no extensions will be given, according to Radio NZ.

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Former PNG High Commission residence, Wellington. Credit: NZ Govt., QV Rating

And finally, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has ordered a probe into the sale of the official High Commissioner’s residence in Wellington, NZ, to determine what happened to the proceeds from the sale. The Post Courier reported the residence at 46 Rama Crescent in Khandallah was sold in 2014, during the tenure of the previous High Commissioner Bill Dihm, for NZ$830,000 (K2m). Dihm, who has now retired, says the money was remitted to the PNG Department of Finance.

 

Picture of the Week

Captain Beverly Pakii, recently qualified as the first female pilot in Air Niugini and Papua New Guinea to captain a jet aircraft. Credit: Air Niugini. Got a photo to share? Email editor@businessadvantageinternational.com.

 

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