Riot will cost K50mil loss, leader estimates


ABOUT K50 million may have been lost due to last week’s closure of businesses following unrest in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands a business leader says.
Former Western Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Industry president James Leahy told The National that the business community was suffering from the decline of law and order in the province
“If you want to look at agribusiness, transport and local supply chains, I would estimate that Western Highlands would have easily lost K5 to K10 million a day in gross trading turnover, and multiply that by say five days, we can say up to K50 million. This is just my estimate” Leahy said.
“Businesshouses in Mt Hagen have this week cautiously opened their doors to trade.
“However, they are very cognizant of the current volatility of the environment they have to operate in.
“Over the last two years alone, Western Highlands has seen prominent families leave and businesses shutting down in the province due to such volatility.
“I have no doubt we will continue to see this unfortunate trend continue if our leaders, politicians and government don’t quickly put in corrective measures to ensure the safety and security of the innocent majority of good citizens of the Western Highlands.”
Leahy said the situation was caused by a minority that acted on their strong preference for certain leaders from whom  they stood to benefit directly.
“The majority of us just want to keep working and providing jobs, opportunities and development in our great country through our businesses in the province,” Leahy said.
“The hypocrisy of what we’ve experienced in the province was that the majority of Western Highlanders had their lives threatened, movement restricted and freedom denied because the people who stood as candidates to bring good governance, strong leadership and spoke from their campaign platforms to develop a healthy and peaceful Western Highlands were the very people who impacted the lives of the innocent majority they stood to serve.
“Surely the courts would’ve been a much better avenue to air their potential grievances rather than holding the people and the business community of Western Highlands to ransom for their demands.”

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