Prioritise proposal of reserve activity list: Official

Des Yaninen

PARLIAMENT should prioritise and make sure the proposed reserve activity list be tabled in the August sitting, according to the Micro, Small to Medium Enterprise (MSME) Council President Des Yaninen said.Yaninen said the Government could not continue to pay lip service and not work to protect this vulnerable sector. “Last week, it was reported on social media that foreigners were now running second-hand shops in Kimbe,” he said. “These kinds of businesses should be reserved for Papua New Guineans.“What kind of visas and work permits did foreigners get to come to PNG and (run) second-hand shops or tucker shops? “Are they registered with the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) as certified foreign entities? “We’d like Immigration, the Labour Department and IPA to look into them.”Yaninen said in 2019, these agencies collaborated to conduct investigations on all illegally operating foreign shops in PNG but this initiative had stopped.“We need that to be revived again,” he said.West New Britain chamber of commerce and Industry president Ian O’Hanlon confirmed: “I have been reliably informed that there are three locations here in Kimbe town under the same foreign ownership.’“I agree that this industry is reserved for PNG citizens and they should be closed down immediately.”According to the SME Policy 2016, Under the IPA Act, some business activities were reserved exclusively for citizens to operate. “However, under the structural adjustment programme, the reserved business activities list was revised and only the cottage industries was reserved for citizens. This has resulted in foreign enterprises taking over business activities that Papua New Guineans could do.The policy stated that citizens were unable to compete in business activities that were once reserved. Despite reserving a smaller cottage activity list, it was only artisan (backyard-type) activities that did not give any prospects of venturing into full time successful SMEs. This was among other concerns that prompted the O’Neill government to re-introduce the reserve activity list to bring back some confidence and comfort local businesses and business startups.According to the policy, certain areas could be either 100 per cent owned or 49/51 per cent partnership: agriculture and livestock; building and construction; clothing and apparel and textile and related activities; culture and related activities; entertainment and music; fishing and related activities; forestry, logging and related activities; food and catering and related activities; hospitality and tourism; household; information technology and related activities; legal services: lawyers act and regulations; mining; recycling; retailing and wholesaling; security services; training and educational institutions; health and social work; transportation (sea, land and air) and related activities; wild life; renting of machinery and equipment without operators and of personal and household goods; other businesses; weaving; bilum making; knitting; art and craft; carving; pottery making; painting; jewellery making and hunting of crocodiles and processing of skins.The policy stated that the National Executive Council could change or amend the listings from time to time as appropriate.

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