Shortage of foreign currency hurdle for fisheries

National

By GEDION TIMOTHY
THE shortage in foreign currency has affected the fisheries industry and the PNG Fishing Industries Association wants to see more cooperation between stakeholders to rectify it.
Association president Sylvester Pokajam told The National that the Bank of Papua New Guinea and National Fisheries Authority must work together to help the industry.
The economy has seen a decline in forex, attributed to a depressed commodity price in the international market, plus the closure of the Ok Tedi Mine for seven months up to March this year.
Despite Ok Tedi coming back plus the gradual surge in oil and mineral prices, the backlog accummulated during the seven months when oil prices went down as far as US$26 (K82.40) per barrel is yet to be cleared. “The industry is facing a big problem because of the economic situation in the country (with) foreign currency usually impeding the progress of business in PNG,” Pokajam said.
“The progress and enhancement of business and the fishing industry were heavily affected because most of the fishing companies operate in US dollars – because all the bills that they pay are in US dollars.
“The fish they sell are all in US dollars and when you do not have enough foreign currencies, it is difficult for them to operate.”

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