The National, Friday 14th June 2013
By ALPHONSE BARIASI
BY processing local raw materials into finished products, Papua New Guinea would be saving billions in foreign exchange and at the same time provide jobs to the locals, Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru said.
Maru, a strong advocate of local entrepreneurship, said this at the launch of an expanded operations of Vitis Industries, a local brewing company in the National Capital District yesterday.
Vitis, which is best known for its spirits such as Coffee Punch, is a growing local enterprise quickly diversifying from food processing to brick making.
Soon, it will open the country’s second beer brewery.
Maru, accompanied by Transport Minister Ano Pala, officiated at the opening of the company’s new factory and warehouse at 9-Mile outside Port Moresby.
Maru said the government was keen to end the status of PNG being a supplier of raw materials to the world and instead make it a supplier of finished products through the local manufacturing sector.
Maru also pledged “110% support” for the company.
He said: “PNG must stop losing billions of kina in foreign exchange and thousands of jobs by processing local raw materials into finished products right in PNG.”
“I am told this company has a total capital investment of K50 million.
“I don’t know of any locally-owned PNG company that has that kind of investment.”
He said he would see to it that his department assists the company by providing certain import duty exemptions to help it achieve higher productivity and job-creation.
Maru, who had arrived earlier in the morning from Malaysia, decided to forego other commitments to attend yesterday’s opening.
He said he was “extremely happy” to attend.
He also invited the owners of the company to attend a Made in PNG trade fair in Solomon Islands at the end of next month to promote their products.
The trade fair is for all the Melanesian Spearhead Group nations so PNG companies could also showcase their products to delegates from Vanuatu and Fiji.