The National, Thursday June 20th, 2013
By MALUM NALU in Jakarta
INDONESIAN and Papua New Guinean businessmen, investors and economic managers have been challenged to take advantage of the closer economic cooperation now existing between the two countries.
Addressing the inaugural Indonesia-PNG Business Forum in Jakarta on Tuesday, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said extensive business and investment opportunities existed between the two countries.
He stressed that never had there been a better time to invest in and do business with PNG now and into the future.
“Indonesian companies are already participating in the growth of our Papua New Guinean economy,” he said.
“Indonesian business and investment interests have substantial presence in the retailing, real estate, and the extractive natural resources sector.”
O’Neill said the importance of the Indonesia-PNG relationship was that both countries shared a common land border.
“That relationship is also special because our family has strong family and personal relationship,” he said.
“In order to build the present relationship and to strengthen it into the future, President Yudhoyono and I agreed last year during our meeting in Bali, to enter into a wider and more-engaging partnership.
“Today, I challenge you as businessmen, investors, and economic managers, to take advantage of the opportunities made available by the closer cooperation and more-engaging partnership between our two countries.
“Our relationship must move to the next level of enhanced economic cooperation and joint business initiatives that can build an environment of opportunity for our two peoples.
“This historic visit sets the foundation upon which our two countries and people will now actively seek to engage and interact with each other.”
O’Neill said if Indonesia could develop 50 million small rural-based businesses and top that off with 27 countries investing, that was a challenge to emulate in PNG.
“It is a wonderful achievement and is reflective of the tremendous growth that has occurred in your economy, especially under the leadership of President Yudhoyono, over the last decade,” he said.
“I am sure that with the help of our Indonesian friends, we can do similarly in Papua New Guinea.
“I would like our small to medium business sector to engage more closely with your sector to learn from your success, especially in rural-based businesses, and to also look at possible joint venture partnership and other collaboration as we seek to grow our small to medium business sector.”