The National, Thursday 6th September, 2012
PAPUA New Guinea is facing the most-profound transformation period in its development history, according to Oxford Business Group regional editor Paulius Kuncinas.
He made this assertion to diplomats, business executives and senior public servants at the launch of The Report: Papua New Guinea 2012 yesterday.
“Whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, one thing is clear: PNG has turned a corner and is facing the most-profound transformation period in its development history,” Kuncinas said.
“After more than 10 years of uninterrupted economic expansion, it has joined the coveted global club of ‘high growth’ economies.
“Although the growth path remains somewhat choppy, nobody doubts PNG’s ability to move forwards and willingness to embrace change.
“That has not always been so.
“Many investors doubted PNG’s ability to rise above political disputes and infighting and give investors the confidence to channel billions of dollars in its attractive energy and mineral assets.
“The fact that PNG’s GDP posted another high year of high single-digit growth of 9% last year was a proof that its economy is no longer hostage to prevailing political winds.
“Having said that, PNG’s ability to raise the living standards for everyone in the country will crucially depend on policy choices that will be made over the next few months and years.
“We are conscious of the fact that the country continues to face tremendous development challenges that urgently need to be addressed to make sure that the country’s growth is equitable and creates opportunities for all its citizens.”
Kuncinas said OBG remained convinced that benefits far outweighed risks for investors in PNG.
“Opportunities are too compelling to be ignored,” he said.
“The signs in policy shift are positive, albeit, we have yet to see a durable consensus on long-term strategic priorities.
“We urge the new government to take advantage of this historical opportunity to fundamentally transform PNG’s economy and to distribute wealth across the country.
“As part of a ‘growth club’ in a world that lacks growth, and demand for commodities remains high, there has never been a better time to invest and do business in PNG.
“We hope that policy makers will seize this opportunity and we will be able to broadcast a positive message to foreign investors that indeed: ‘PNG is open for business’.”