Govt committed to back SMEs

Main Stories, National

The National, Thursday July 4th, 2013

 By GYNNIE KERO in Madang

THE NATIONAL Government will revive the reserve list of businesses for Papua New Guineans to support and grow the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says. 

O’Neill made the pledge when addressing more than 400 participants at the closing of the three day SME summit in Madang yesterday.

He said there were several factors such as law and order and infrastructure which affected doing business and growing the country’s SMEs. 

“However, the Government is committed to support SMEs.

“We need to take ownership of the issue. We need to participate in SME and grow our economy,” he said.

O’Neill was presented with the Madang declaration and communiqué on the last three days of discussions and recommendations.

Some of these resolutions include the decisions to: 

  • Amend and expand the Reserved Activity List;
  • Recommend to the Government to develop a National Content Legislation for all sizes and sectors, inclusive of all state sponsored projects, state – joint ventures or State agreements;
  • Recommend to the Government for business and entrepreneurship skills to be incorporated into the general school curriculum as a core subject such as maths, science and English;
  • Recommend to the Government to establish training in business and entrepreneurship facilities for school leavers, persons in the SME sector and all other citizens who are not in the formal education system; and
  • Recommend to the Government to develop and adopt a standardised national diagnostic assessment tool, based on the Malaysian model, for measuring and developing capacity and competency of SMEs.

In responses to the 21 recommendations, O’Neill said “the Government is committed to the changes or reforms happening in the country including the SMEs”.

“We need a change in culture of bureaucracy – your government is behind the SME. 

“The Government will revive and expand the reserved activity list within the context of the matrix attached hereto as schedule A in 2013;

He said the National Content Legislation for all sizes and sectors is a good model PNG could adapt and put in review.

Meanwhile, O’Neill said the Government was also concerned about the level of unemployment in the country.

“The Government is concerned on the number of school leavers and by next year, we will make it compulsory for children to attend school from Grades 1-12.”