Concern raised over fine

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By DALE LUMA
The PNG Manufacturers Council fears that the K500,000 fine which will be imposed on businesses which fail to comply with Covid-19 protocols may be used by the Government to raise revenue.
Council chief executive officer Chey Scovell said it was “unlike any other laws” because the fines were put in place before the Government explained to the public and businesses the processes for compliance.
Scovell said there was no clear explanation on individuals, vehicles or businesses deemed to be exempted from some restrictions, and what the processes were to obtain such exemptions.
“Compliant businesses have in place measures that are traceable (auditable) and appropriate to ensure the intent of the orders are being met (minimising the likelihood of transmission),” Scovell said.
He said council members “at increased costs have ramped up awareness/education, monitoring and enforcement of hygiene and personal protective equipment”.
“(They are also) constantly working on building a culture in which employees are encouraged to report when they are feeling unwell and (in need of) medical attention,” he said.
“Notwithstanding our full commitment on implementing safe practices, the amount of this fine appears to be grossly disproportionate to other fines in our legal frameworks.
“In an environment where business confidence is at an all-time low, when jobs and revenue flows are needed most, I am fearful that such an exorbitant fine will be used primarily to raise revenue.
“Government is encouraged to have a balanced mix of carrots and sticks, so to speak. To date, we are seeing lots of sticks (but) no carrots.”
He said the council and other business associations had always been ready to assist the Government deal with non-compliant businesses for years.
“There seems to be little interest in employers (who) are not paying minimum wages and superannuation, businesses that don’t pay taxes or illegally acquire land,” he said.
“(In) this environment of continued care, we are now going to see an enforcement effort of chasing up to K500,000 from small and large businesses which might have an employee walk on to the premises without a mask.”
Fines announced by National Pandemic Controller David Manning for a breach of orders include:

  • K50,000 or a jail term of up to five years in prison for individuals;
  • K500,000 or a 10-year prison term for businesses.

11 comments

  • This fine will be the last straw on business already struggling with the impact of C-19. Does GOPNG want to kill all business in PNG?

  • The controller and the PM with the Police minister used up all the Covid 19 funds hence the hefty fines would be used to recover the expense.

  • This Government sucks big time! Its a paper based Government for some self centered politicians and government bureaucrats milking the national purse.

  • Very true, after abusing all the millions without covid19 evidently not in png and the government themselves allowing the deadly virus in and now looking for money from the ordinary citizens to rescue the very people who put us in this problem…. Shame on yous, you all don’t deserve to be praised by the people of PNG

  • Too many problems with PNG since James Marape became PM. He is good as gone in 2022. Grassroots people who normally surve on street sales will dying every day due to unemployment and hunger. Many business houses will close down and law and order will see its worse happenings. Stop this nonsense of lockdown. Covid19 propaganda is only money making make ups. We the rural people of PNG are not affected one little bit. JM see you in 2022 polls.

  • Critics may be looking at one angle, lets say; Is money important of life is important. It takes only one person or Group to kill many people in the country. Besides we are not so well equipped to fight the devil down to its root. We don’t manufacture things we use what others produce so really we beg for the welfare of everyone. lock down is for you and for everyone. At least there must be some control. It could be you on the death row so be wise where you place your fee,t either for or against.

  • Firstly, fines are simply too hefty. They need to be revised downward. Secondly, there needs to be proper policy guidelines installed and communicated to all parties concerned including the general populace before it can be monitored and policed. Without such policy guidelines what is the standard for policing covid-19 breaches?
    Thirdly and more importantly, I have not seen nor heard about the Audit report on the covid funds expended so far? Or did I miss it when the report was put out?

  • if they are to impose on such fine than can the government talk about reducing TAX??? to also help SME and also we the ordinary citizen who are paying heavy taxs….

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