By JUNIOR UKAHA
TUNA processor Frabelle PNG Limited is not shutting down its operations in the country although it recently laid off more 800 employees, according to company manager Daniel Noble.
He was responding to comments by PNG Fishing Industry Association executive officer Jonathan Manieva that the company was in the process of shutting down its Lae plant after laying off 849 workers recently.
Manieva had also said another company, Majestic Sea Food Limited, had closed its door and put up its plant for sale because of “harsh economic reality coupled with suppressive and depressive government policy”.
Noble said while the company had laid off some employees, it had not shut down the plant.
“Frabelle is not shutting down,” Noble said.
“We still continue to process our raw pack tuna lines at the moment and soon the tuna loins line.
“We temporarily stopped our canned tuna line because we are not able to get orders from our European Union (EU) market.
“EU buyers have slowed down, thus demand was low and the price is very competitive.”
He said because of the uncertainties, EU buyers had taken a wait-and-see attitude.
Noble said the company has paid the full entitlements of all the workers it laid off.
He said this was to keep them in a “stable situation” until they were recalled for employment when conditions improved and production resumed.
“This period (laying-off period) is also an opportunity to do our maintenance which we were not able to do last December,” Noble said.
Noble said Frabelle PNG Ltd had been operating in PNG for about 20 years and was committed to investing in the country.
“Our dedication and commitment for this country has been exhibited with our initiative to encourage more business players to come and invest in PNG and expanding and diversifying our operations
to make our business viable,” he said.
By JUNIOR UKAHA