By GABRIEL LAHOC
THE 3,200-member PNG Contractors Association (PNGCA) has rallied behind Bulolo MP Sam Basil’s call to prioritise local businessmen and women, especially in their home provinces, without denying outside and foreign participation.
PNGCA is affiliated with the third largest world federation of non-governmental organisation, the International Federation of Asian and Western Pacific Contractors Association.
PNGCA is concerned that not all nationals would benefit “directly or indirectly” from the industrial expansion, construction boom and major resource developments nationwide.
Like Mr Basil, PNGCA aims to uphold its mission to promote and develop local small and medium contractors to impact industry more effectively.
PNGCA interim president Jonathan Saing said the industry’s development was growing faster than regulations and policies.
“PNGCA wants fair and reasonable participation in Government and donor-funded projects, even to the extent of encouraging the locals to participate,” he said.
In 1992, the Government recognised PNGCA and established the construction industry unit (CIU) in the Department of Commerce and Industry, whose current effort includes a National Executive Council submission for Parliament to approve and legitimise CIU into a corporate body known as construction industry development authority (CIDA).
The authority will embrace the PNG construction industry development programmes and policies while giving priority to local, small and medium contractors.
However, Mr Saing said the effort was considered dangerous to good governance and democracy because of the lack of input by the PNGCA.
“If it is not embraced at the national level, then at the provincial level it would appear that local contractors, many of whom are struggling, were treated with bias.
“Mr Basil’s point is important not only for the Morobe provincial government and administration, but also for other provincial governments and administrations to give their local people first priority, before outsiders and foreigners by exhausting all means possible,” he said.
Bus operator John Sam also expressed his disgust at the increasing number of businesses by “outsiders”.
“No way on earth can I start up and operate my company up in the Highlands or somewhere in China, but we are surprised to see people from those origins easily setting up stores in Morobe,” he said.