Businesses need support: Barker


THE Government should provide a level playing field to support businesses during the current difficult time, an economist says.
Institute of National Affairs (INA) executive director Paul Barker said in light of the restrictions imposed and impact of the Covid-19, the State’s capacity to provide support was limited.
Barker said the Government should ensure efforts were focused on removing (government) impediments to businesses that pushed up operating costs.
“This includes improving the quality and reliability, and reducing the costs of public goods, infrastructure and services,” Barker said.
“This is including where the Government currently holds a monopoly in service provision such as power, ports, internet access and others, and rationalising and restraining all the multiple taxes, levies and duties imposed for multiple functions often not provided effectively anyway.”
While commenting on the recent 14-day lockdown in Port Moresby due to the increased number of Covid-19 cases in the nation’s capital, Barker said: “For businesses, lifting some of the restrictions, but maintaining others for the foreseeable future, eases some of the difficulties faced by them, including the informal sector.
“But clearly travel and tourism and various traditional activities based around movement would remain restrained, even if able to cautiously pick up.
“As we know, many businesses, from airlines to restaurants mostly operate on narrow margins and need large turnovers to survive, let alone thrive.”
Barker said in developed countries, mechanisms had been provided to safeguard jobs and businesses, as well as safeguard welfare, including job seeker, and job saver schemes.
“For example in the United Kingdom, (there are) subsidies on meals to encourage people to return to restaurants.”
Barker also noted that PNG could not afford either at a personal or a national level, to lock down the economy especially as a developing country, with weak data solutions and a government that was already struggling from accumulated debt.


  • I totally agree with the Executive Director of INA Mr. Paul Barker.
    The government should come good on stimulus for small business owners, especially nationally owned businesses. Business owners are experiencing dramatic challenges, cash is slowly sinking. On the other hand, we are realizing price of goods in the supermarkets are increasing. Where is the ICCC? Please move in and check the supermarkets they are taking advantage of the COVID-19 situation.

  • In 2010 the PGK was at 0.37 US cents
    In 2020 the PGK is at 0.27 US cents
    In 2030 the PGK will be at 0.10 US cent if the whatever the trend is continues and our government does nothing about it.

    1mill PGK in 2010 was US370k
    Same 1mill PGK in 2020 is now worth US270k. US100k short from 2010.
    Same 1mill PGK in 2030 will be US100k. if our government does not intervene soon enough.

    Even without the C19 our currency is devaluing…

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