A good eye for business

Business, Normal

The National, Thursday 06th of March, 2014

DESPITE being an arts graduate from the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) in 1989, Joe Kenken Mok has always been inspired to run his own business.
Before joining the formal service, he spent two years working the land at his Tiki village in Western Highlands.
Mok says: “I have always been inspired to do business, even as a student at the university (UPNG).
“In 1989 after finishing studies, I was back home in Mt Hagen growing coffee, vegetables and raised poultry for the local market.
“I knew with little money in my pocket, I can come to Port Moresby.
“The sideline money from business (earned from sales in Mt Hagen) will substantiate what incomes I earn if I join the public sector.
“I Started operation with a PMV service in 1992 while working and when business grew, it came to a point where by 2000 my PMV fleet extended over 16 units.
Mok said his transport business was affecting his work performance and realised that his mind was split between private and public sectors.
“So, I told my boss I wanted to resign.”
Before resigning to run his company – the Kenmok PNG Ltd – he worked with the former Department of National Planning and Implementation as assistant secretary, bilateral branch foreign aid management division.
Kenmok was incorporated in 1994, specialising in property sales and rentals, construction and financing, among others.
On the issue of reserved list of activities for potential businessman like himself, Mok strongly supported the Trade Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru’s move to expand the activities for nationals.
He replied without hesitation: “Foreigners can come in and invest but not in tucker shops, which are for locals.
“Technical things like manufacturing can be opened to foreigners and maybe we can do joint venture with them. 
Saying Papua New Guineans would not have equal opportunities oversease, Mok believed the minister (Maru) was heading in the right direction.
“I’ve travelled extensively and there is no way a Papua New Guinean can for instance walk into China and operate a tucker shop, likewise Australia.
“These countries have strict policies and authorities there can walk you back to the airport to go back to your country.
“Our authorities need to protect local businesses.
“Foreign investors came to (PNG) and saw how relaxed authorities and policies were so they took advantage of this,” Mok said.