Papua New Guinea Business Council members concerned at lack of foreign currency


The President of the Australia–Papua New Guinea Business Council says his members have expressed concern to Prime Minister they are unable to source enough foreign currency.

PNG Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, addressed the council and met with business leaders in Sydney-a meeting council president, Greg Pawson described as ‘very positive’ and his speech outlining his economic strategy as ‘visionary’.

PNG's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

O’Neill assured investors that with the ongoing economic growth, ‘there has never been a better time to invest in PNG’.

Pawson, told Business Advantage PNG his members welcomed the PM’s outlining his government’s strategic priorities of health, education, transport infrastructure and public sector reform, ‘which I think if there were four sectors they should be focussed on, they are definitely the four’.

But he said council members regard the exchange control measure as one of the key issues of the moment, with ‘many businesses unable to source enough foreign currency’.

‘There appears to be a forward book order of about K1.5 billion Kina for import demand, and that lack of funds just causes structural issues.

‘It is a problem for many businesses in getting sufficient foreign currency to pay suppliers and get goods off the wharves.’

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Commodity prices

‘We did ask how he saw the impact of falling commodity prices in relation to the Budget,’ said Pawson.

O’Neill said that as an LNG exporting nation, ‘we also accept that there are global factors which are beyond our control.

‘We need, as a country, to adjust to the impact of the low world energy prices, which is a factor that is going to continue to have some effect on our economy into the long-term future.

‘But despite the low energy prices we are working closely with industry in ensuring that we continue to maintain the momentum in the development of the LNG projects in the country.

Positive change

Pawson says the programs underway that are signs of positive change include:

  • A community housing program to relocate squatter villages on the outskirts of Port Moresby;
  • Free public education and an additional one million children in schools;
  • Infrastructure spend in progress and proposed for roads, ports, airports (POM, Lae and Kokopo) and to increase power capacity (after an MOU was signed with PNG LNG, and the new Frieda River Hydro scheme);
  • The much debated Sovereign Wealth Fund which will finally be endorsed by Parliament in May, 2015;
  • Privatisation of Air Nuigini and bmobile;
  • Law and order policy adjustment for AFP contracted police within RPNGPF as part of the Australian aid programme;
  • Moves to expand the agricultural sector by growing the coconut oil industry, and the formation of a national cooperative to support the coffee industry.

O’Neill told the meeting that legislation allowing the restructuring of government enterprises into three ‘Kumul’ entities was expected to go before the May session of parliament and that all three entities would have independent boards, which would be independent of the government.


  1. Joshua Isimel says

    Now that Air Niugini will be privatized, then other airlines should be given entry into PNG as well to operate Domestically (Virgin, Qantas, Garuda, etc) if they want to.
    RPNGPF should learn as much from AFP – Professionalism

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