Business community raises concern on bills


THE business community has conveyed to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill its concern over the last week tabling of three bills in Parliament relating to foreign investment, which they say they should have been consulted on.
The letter (dated Jan 24) signed by Robert Nilkare, the PNG Business Council president, and John Leahy, the PNG Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, said they immediately convened a meeting on Thursday after learning of the three bills being tabled.
“At the outset we are disappointed to note that since our last letter to you on 31st May 2016, which at that time expressed our mutual concerns and sought a consultative process on the best means to increase both citizen participation and general investment in Papua New Guinea, that there has been no contact from any agencies of your Government with any of the key industries,” the letter stated.
“Indeed, the tabling of these bills has come as a shock to industry. Moreover, some of our elected Parliamentarians whom we contacted seeking additional information were also unaware of the bills being tabled.
“Noting our long history and continuing commitment to working cooperatively with Government to reach our national goals and directives and collective aspirations, we are dismayed that these bills have been tabled with no consultation.”
O’Neill is expected to attend a business breakfast this week with the members of the business community.
The industry members said they “regret to inform that we believe their (bills) enactment will likely trigger a significant collapse of our economy”.
“The impact will extend well beyond those specified activities.
“Whilst excluded from the restricted activities, the enactment of this policy would impact on almost all major service providers to the extractive industries.
“It would also likely have a significant impact on the money markets, with the majority of loans and financing being held by entities that would be forced to transfer to national ownership.”