Closed international borders impacting business, says agency


CLOSED international borders have had a significant impact on businesses in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific, according to the Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) Australia.
PTI Australia said in a statement that the findings were reported in the PTI Pacific business monitor survey report with 90 per cent of businesses reporting the Covid-19 had a negative impact on their business and 90 per cent reporting a decline in revenue.
It stated that those results highlighted the importance of having a strong digital presence.
To enable exporters in PNG to strengthen their digital presence, PTI Australia partnered with the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) to deliver a social media master class attended by over 30 participants from a range of sectors from aviation to agriculture.
With the continued uncertainty of when borders would reopen, IPA PNG manager marketing and promotion Daure Kiromat said the training provided businesses with the skills to understand how to effectively use social media to generate awareness and sales.
Kiromat said it also highlighted how technology could be used to effectively bring people together to learn, adding that not having face-to-face training was not a barrier.
“This is the first time we used zoom for training at the IPA, it was a great success,” he said.
“We had over 30 participants join using their own personal devices, which was impressive.
“We received a lot of positive feedback from participants.
“It shows the value of the training to businesses, as well as the value of our partnership with PTI Australia to continue delivering programmes targeted at assisting growth for local businesses, especially at this challenging time.”
Participant Aroma Coconut executive director Geno Genolamar said the session was great and had given him a greater advantage of marketing his products.
Genolamar said more intervention like this was needed to elevate and diversify their marketing opportunities in such difficult circumstances.
Another participant Stephanie Bawo, an air freight services officer with Air Niugini Ltd said the training provided practical tips which she was able to implement not only at work but personal business as well.
PTI Australia’s general manager exports Jeremy Grennell said that social media provided a cost-effective channel to engage international markets especially when physical travel was not possible.
“Over the last few years, there’s been a real shift in the trade sector with online platforms creating opportunities for our exporters to access international markets,” he said.
“There’s still limited understanding on how to use social media for more than staying in touch with friends but to effectively engage to drive sales.
“PTI Australia’s social media master class is helping to build the skills of exporters.
“Compared to traditional marketing channels like print, social media allows businesses in PNG to reach an international audience at a relatively low cost.
“Our 2020 Pacific Islands export survey found that 31 per cent of exporters aren’t using online channels due to a lack of skills/expertise, it’s a missed opportunity, especially while borders are closed.
“This is why we pivoted PTI Australia’s digital trade programme, so even though we physically aren’t able to travel to PNG, we can deliver our social media master class via zoom and empower businesses in PNG with the tools to use Facebook and Instagram to drive product awareness and ultimately sales.”
Founded in 1979, PTI Australia is an agency of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and is the Pacific region’s lead trade and investment facilitation agency; funded by the Australian government.