The National, Friday, May 20, 2011
By STEPHANIE ELIZAH
A 20-man delegation from the Australia-PNG Business Council returned to Port Moresby yesterday open minded about the potential to invest in Bougainville.
They met with members of the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the business community in Buka, Bougainville.
Led by council chairman and Rio Tinto subsidiary Bougainville Copper Ltd manager Peter Taylor, the team spent yesterday learning from and exchanging views with the Bougainville government and business representatives on what the opportunities of doing business in the autonomous region are.
Taylor, who was teary-eyed when he stepped on Bougainville soil for the first time since 1987, said he was honoured to be back at the invitation of Bougainville president John Momis.
“Not in my wildest dream had I imagined I would be coming back and leading a business delegation to Bougainville.
“This is the first time APNGBC has sent a delegation to Bougainville and to other parts. We have set a precedent,” he said.
Taylor said it was wonderful to hear ABG leaders and local business community reiterate Momis’ invitation that Bougainville “is open for business”.
“This is the ‘A’ team that has come to Bougainville. Look at who they represent, we have two global bank representing retail and investment banking, we have exploration company reps, tourism, and trade and investment representatives of the Australian government.
“This is an important delegation thankfully here today for the betterment of Bougainville,” Taylor said.
Thanking the delegation, Momis said the presence of APNGBC on Bougainville affirmed the investment potential the region had.
He urged the people of Bougainville to do their bit by moving forward to attract good foreign investment with management capabilities and financial capital.
“APNGBC cannot do much for us if we do not sort ourselves out.
“Bougainville does not dictate business in the world yet it is endowed with natural resources but is opting to remain as beggars.
“Let us not be like a beggar, begging for food holding a gold plate.
“Knowledge, we may not have yet, let us build our intellect, forget the past and move forward to embrace a bright economic future,” Momis said.