Base policies on investment: Barker

The National, Thursday July 21st, 2016

INSTITUTE of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker says government policies must be in favour of investment and not the opposite.
He was commenting yesterday on the state of a depressed Papua New Guinea economy, saying the return to recovery mode would require a positive signal for business and investment from government apart from prudent management of the economy.
“The return to recovery mode will require positive signals for business and investment from government, for example with a range of recently announced policies which have caused uncertainty and concern, notably aspects of the SME policy, with respect to the reserve industries, aspects of the proposed amendments to the Lands Act and certain other resource management policies,” Barker told The National
“It must be recognised that achieving the needed development and diversification of the economy, as envisaged in the Government’s strategy, requires major private sector investment, and particularly away from a few extractive projects,” he said
“It is recognised that sound policies and rules are required as a basis for investment, including some special arrangements for Papua New Guinean-owned enterprises, but imposing a wide range of restrictions on existing and prospective foreign and direct investment will clearly undermine levels of investment and needed employment and revenue generation, but will be particularly disruptive at a time when existing laws, with respect to restrictions on overseas participation in micro-cottage industries, application of taxes and duties and minimum wages in the so-called  ‘unregulated’ sector are being widely flouted.”