O’Neill outlines three economic priorities for Papua New Guinea


Expanding the small business sector, managing urbanisation and developing modern communications were the Papua New Guinea Government’s three priority areas, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said last week.

Peter O'Neill_web

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill

Opening the 2013 Papua New Guinea Advantage Investment Summit, O’Neill called on existing businesses and groups, including PNG’s chambers of commerce, to help develop indigenous small business by mentoring of small business owners and forming partnerships and joint ventures with them.

‘I believe that growing our small business sector and medium sized enterprises is the only way to make a significant impact on unemployment in our community, and especially unemployment and non-engagement among our young people,’ he told Summit delegates.

Regional centres

The O’Neill Government recently outlined plans to create four economic hubs in the towns of Port Moresby, Lae, Mt Hagen and Kokopo.

‘Over the next ten years, the focus will be on ensuring the economies of these centres can grow substantially through attracting new industries and supporting existing industries and businesses to expand,’ he said.

O’Neill suggested this would require:

  • Modern and efficient infrastructure, better schools and hospitals, and more reliable services such as power and water;
  • A significant expansion of housing for Papua New Guinean families who will be the main workforce in these economic centres;
  • Investing revenue flows from gas development, the resources and construction sectors, into urban and rural communities.

But, he assured the summit, other regional centres would not be ignored.

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Modern communications

O’Neill said it was important the government and the business sector harness new and emerging technologies, including the internet ‘for education and information, and for a more competitive retailing and general business climate’.

‘We are embracing modern communication—such mobile telephones, the internet, and even “twittering”—very rapidly,’ he said.

‘Modern communication can be an enormous boost for business growth and success—and especially in regional and even remote areas.’