IFC sets up PNG office, eyes bigger role

Business, Normal

The National- Thursday, February 3, 2011

 THE International Finance Corp (IFC) signed an agreement last night with the  government that will see the creation of an IFC office separate from the World Bank.

Since its establishment in PNG in 2006, IFC has been operating under the World Bank umbrella.

Present at the signing were IFC executive vice-president and chief executive Lars Thunell, Finance and Treasury Minister Peter O’Neill, Commerce and Industry Minister  Gabriel Kapris and various development business partners.

“IFC is committed to helping create opportunity and improve people’s lives  and is looking forward to working with the government, businesses and people,” Thunell said.

“The new office and our operations  will create closer ties with our local partners to help make the private sector the engine of development in rural areas and among small and midsize companies,” he said.

 IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is the largest development agency focused on the private sector in developing countries.

Major clients of IFC in PNG include PNG Microfinance Ltd, Bank South Pacific, Digicel PNG, KK Kingston and Pacific-based Kula Fund.

Over the past five years, IFC has increased its business focus in PNG and its resources commitments, financed directly by IFC and its long-term development partners like Australia, Japan, and New Zealand.

IFC is also involved in providing advice to the government on improving financial infrastructure to ensure greater access to financial services.

Likewise, it is reforming the regulatory regime to improve business licensing and registration processes.

IFC’s commitments grew from US$1.2 million in fiscal 2005 to more than US$200 million in fiscal 2010.

Meanwhile, O’Neil expressed satisfaction with the establishment of an IFC office in PNG.

He said that the occasion would pave way for increase in business.

“IFC is making significant changes not only in our lives but how we make business,” O’Neil said.