The National, Tuesday June 18th, 2013
IMPROVING the operations of small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) is the key to developing Papua New Guinea’s economy, local resort owner Bonny Leki says.
Leki, of East Sepik, was among the 41 SME owners who participated in the Kuala Lumpur SME expo last week.
Leki was accompanied by his son Trevor to Malaysia to see first-hand what SMEs in Kuala Lumpur have done over the years in terms of doing business and building their economy.
The local entrepreneurs, who returned from Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, expressed satisfaction with the outcome of their participation.
Trade Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru said Malaysia had nearly a million SMEs because its government recognises the importance of the sector.
“SMEs are funded by the Malaysian government and each year the government recognises SMEs contributions to the economy by awarding them a very prestigious award called ‘The Most Innovative SME’.
“The winner of the award is given one million ringgit (K690,000) for being the most innovative SME and this year’s winner was Romstar Group,” he said.
Maru said the National Government was adamant on introducing similar reward initiative especially in giving recognition to SMEs in the country.
“Papua New Guinea is in the process of copying the Malaysian model of its SME Corporation” Maru said.
He added that a number of reforms would be announced shortly, including a legislation that would cater for the new PNG SME Corporation patterned after Malaysia.
Meanwhile, the Papua New Guinean businessmen met their Malaysian counterparts during a business-matching and partnership session during the exposition.
These SME owners are engaged in real estate, car rental, bakery, piggery, construction and building, tourism and hospitality among others.
“Malaysia is developing its economy at a very rapid rate and we need to follow suit,” businessman Fidelis Sope said.