Industry open for banks: PM


THE banking industry is open to a few more banks, says Prime Minister James Marape.
He was responding to questions from Yangoru-Saussia MP Richard Maru regarding competition in the banking industry.
Maru had asked Marape whether the Government supported the application by the PNG Teachers Savings and Loans Society to secure a banking licence to start a bank in the country.
Marape said: “We are encouraging the NDB (National Development Bank) and other local financial institutions like Tisa to pick up a banking licence, of course, complying with requirements of the Central Bank.
“The Central Bank has been informed to allow local participation in the financial sector.”
On the proposed acquisition of Westpac by Kina Bank, Maru said the Government had not taken a position on it.
But Marape said the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission was doing its job in the best interest of the country to ensure there was a fair playing field for consumers and to allow competition to exist.
“But the Government has little say in what Westpac does or what its interest is. As far as ensuring that competition exists, the Government encourages new banks to emerge.”
He said the National Development Bank would be commercialised too.
“We are supporting NDB to reform under the Micro Bank to emerge as a commercial bank (as) we have limited banks in our country,” Marape said.
“We are ensuring that a competent managing director is appointed and the bank be an answer to the vacuum that may exist if Westpac pulls out completely.”