TAPO TOVILU Divine Word Journalism student
MOROBE province is the most preferred area in the country to do business, the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) has revealed.
On the other hand, the Autonomous region of Bougainville is the least preferred, Clarence Hoot, IPA’s director for Business Investment and Export Promotion, said.
Mr Hoot said IPA records showed that both foreign and local companies and business houses preferred Lae the most for their business.
He was speaking to participants during the Bougainville economic summit in Bougainville early this month.
Mr Hoot said East New Britain ranked second, followed by Western Highlands and Madang provinces, while Autonomous Region of Bougainville ranked last.
He, however, cautioned that this standing could have changed with the development of oil and gas projects in Southern Highlands province.
He said if the 2008 reports took into account the oil and gas discoveries and development in the Southern Highlands, they could have pushed the province to the top or second to Morobe.
Between 2005 and 2007, only two companies registered with IPA to do business in Bougainville.
The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and its administration has developed a policy that needed all foreign investors to go through a committee for screening.
The IPA would not approve and allow any foreign investors unless it has been advised by Bougainville of that matter.
Meanwhile, Bougainville’s deputy chief administrator Raymond Masono said the island was rich with natural resources that were yet to be developed.
He said ABG needed money to develop the resources, suggesting the reopening of the Panguna mine.
He said money earned from the re-opening of the mine would be used to kick-start all the other economic activities.
Bougainville stands to earn K10 million annually from the tourism industry if developed.
At the same time, IPA officers in Buka have already completed identifying potential tourist sites in the Hagogohe constituency.
They would move on to other areas, firstly in the northern region and later to South and Central.