Local processing ‘vital’

Business, Normal

The National, Thursday July 18th, 2013

 PAPUA New Guinea’s steady 8% growth in gross domestic product during the past nine years would  not be able to address the unemployment crisis, Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru says.

He said yesterday the country should concentrate on local processing to address unemployment issue.

Maru said this after returning from the 4th Global Review for Aid for Trade at the world trade organisation (WTO) secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.

 “We (PNG) are losing billions of kina in foreign exchange and thousands of jobs for our young people while we are creating wealth and jobs for other countries,” he said.

Maru also said he would bring a submission to Cabinet for the National Government to introduce very high export taxes to discourage primary producers from exporting raw materials or semi-processed products.

He added: “Industries that would be targeted under this proposed export tax included palm oil, fisheries, coffee, cocoa and copra industries. 

“It is time we produced our own finished products and stop being a raw material supplier to the world. 

“The current government is committed towards seeing adding value to our raw products from agriculture, forestry, fisheries and mining for the country to generate sustainable revenue base and at the same create employment opportunities for our people.”

The government through the Department of Trade, Commerce and Industry would be seeking to enlist the support of the WTO in Geneva to assist with the policy and submission to government for this critical reform.

Maru said this would be a key strategy to help develop our local manufacturing industry, while we work concurrently on reducing our cost of doing business in PNG

“The government is keen for us to value-add and process our raw materials to their final stage to increase the value of our exports and create more jobs for our citizens.

“We are also finalising a very attractive fiscal incentive package for our manufacturing companies to process raw materials into finished goods,” he added.