BUSINESS remained relatively static in the first half of 2022, as Coronavirus (Covid-19) impact wound down and the election campaigns ramped up, says Lae Chamber of Commerce and Industry president John Byrne.
Byrne said the manufacturing sector reported good volumes, with retail generally static.
He said the impact on rising costs of necessary imported products to manufacture locally produced items, plus imported goods, generally continued to escalate due to external factors such as:
- RISING fuel costs;
- SHIPPPING delays;
- LONGER lead times on product and;
- OTHER commodities being affected by the Ukraine-Russia conflict which had long-reaching impacts globally.
“For our importers, the lack of forex (foreign exchange) made cash-flow and operations very difficult,” he said.
“All of these factors affect the shelf-price and the buying ability of our people.”
He said it was important that major projects got off the ground immediately especially the Porgera mine re-opening and then start of the Wafi-Golpu project.
He said such investor-based projects would provide job opportunities, develop skills and feed families.
“More investment locally and overseas is needed to provide further employment and make PNG less reliant on outside impacts,” he said.
“We are the food-bowl, we are resource-rich, we are the shipping hub of the South Pacific. Focusing on our domestic market opportunities and export will make us a stronger nation.
“Lae is an important cog in the nation’s growth but no more important than the other 21 provinces, without each other we do not provide the movement of goods and products, we do not contribute to our nation’s growth.”
He said elections around the world stalled plans and development.
“The LCCI and other bodies await, as does the business and community, the formation of (the next) government and continues to be a conduit where governments and businesses have the best interest of our people and nation.
“Without business we have no employment, without employed people we have higher instability in security, less tax contribution towards developing our country and less investment.”