The National, Tuesday August 6th, 2013
By GYNNIE KERO
SEVERAL foreign investors have expressed concern on the high airfares that Air Niugini charges, Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry Richard Maru says.
He said this is not friendly when it comes to growing the economy.
“PNG should encourage competition by bringing in other airline companies,” he said.
Maru stressed during a media briefing yesterday there have been lots of concerns from foreign investors on the airfare charged by Air Niugini.
“Everywhere I go, there have been complaints of high airfares we (PNG) charge … Solomon Islands said the same thing during the trade mission last week … high airfare is an issue raised by other countries, high airfare is the biggest obstacle to trade in the region.”
On the other hand, Maru expressed satisfaction on the outcome of the trade mission to Solomon Islands.
He said the trip has achieved its objectives, which were to identify markets for PNG products, investment opportunities and open the PNG market to Solomon Islands investors.
Logging is the mainstay of the Solomon Islands economy and contributes 44% towards the country’s gross domestic product.
A good number of PNG companies are already planning return visits to the Solomon Islands for continued discussions with potential partners and eventual setting up of businesses.
Maru noted that wholesale retailer Papindo ordered for up to SBD$1 million for Solomon’s canned tuna to be shipped to Lae every month.
“It is expected that some new exports to the SI market will begin in October, further boosting what is already a vibrant trading relationship.
“I will be bringing a report to the NEC (National Executive Council) on the Solomon Investment and Trade Missions … among other recommendations is to set up a trade office in the Solomon Islands to service PNG’s trade, commercial and investment interest in the MSG countries and the wider Pacific by 2014,” he said.
With the investment promotion protection agreement, Maru said it is close to being finalised and that he had proposed to his counterpart ministers from Solomon Islands, who considered signing the agreement in Port Moresby in October.