Firms hope for economic growth


Businesses in Port Moresby are cautiously optimistic that the domestic economy will slowly improve and lead to economic growth in 2020 and beyond, Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Rio Fiocco says.
Fiocco said most businesses were expecting a tough year and not looking to expand their businesses in the capital this year.
“There is a good deal of optimism that 2020 will be a better year for business,” he said.
“It is expected that once the gas agreement for the Papua LNG project has been finalised by the end of the first quarter, then front end engineering design (Feed) will proceed over the next 12 months or so.
“Accordingly, businesses are starting to plan for the opportunities that will arise once the construction phase of the Papua LNG project gets underway.”
Fiocco said Wafi-Golpu’s likelihood to get the green light for construction in the second half of this year should see further inflows of dollars to pay for development costs of the mine.
He said that continued uncertainties over Brexit in the United Kingdom, the ongoing trade war between the USA and China, and the fall in prices in most property markets throughout the world were causes for concern
“Businesses are concerned on the global economic outlook for 2019,” Fiocco said.
“Businesses in Port Moresby are cautiously optimistic that the domestic economy will slowly improve and lead to solid economic growth in 2020 and beyond.”
Fiocco said the chamber was pleased that Government had started to clear the backlog of long-outstanding debts due to goods and service providers as well as to landlords.
“It is POMCCI’s hope that the government will give priority to clearing all long-overdue debts,” he said.
“It is also encouraging to see the Central Bank intervened more to support the foreign exchange market in December.
“This has enabled the commercial banks to clear some of the backlog of orders for foreign exchange.
“The backlog of foreign exchange orders has been reduced.
“The chamber is hopeful that the foreign exchange problems encountered by business over the past two years will be much improved in 2019.”