Mald queries Pom’s high rentals

Normal, Papua

The National, Monday, May 23, 2011

MORESBY Northeast MP Andrew Mald has called on the government to address the high rentals for properties and rates for hotel rooms in the nation’s capital.
Mald, in his questions in parliament, directed at Commerce and Industry Minister Gabriel Kapris, said the high rental fees and the high cost of food in stores “are placing an extra burden on people”.
He said, for example, some units were going for K6,000 a month while others were going for K1,500 a week.
“Do we have government agencies like the Independent Competition and Consumer Council to check on these high prices?
“Can ICCC inform the people why the rentals and prices of goods keep climbing?” he asked.
In response to the question, Kapris said the high price of goods and rentals “is a major concern in the country”.
He said the ICCC was under the Minister for Finance but Commerce and Industry had its own business standards unit that “only goes as far as checking that quality goods are sold to the people”.
Kapris admitted the rentals were too excessive and rates for hotel rooms in PNG “are higher or equal to Australia but the services are poorer”.
He promised to talk with his colleagues for Finance and Treasury to address some of the concerns raised.
Member for Lae Bart Philemon, in a supplementary question, asked the minister about what Commerce and Industry had done to help small Papua New Guinean-owned businesses like guest houses and motels.
Kapris said the Tourism Promotion Authority had a programme in place to help small guest houses and lodges.