The National, Thursday July 4th, 2013
By DOROTHY MARK
SMALL and medium enterprises (SME) can pave the way to reduce unemployment and increase growth in the country, those who attended the SME summit have unanimously agreed.
Participants commended the summit yesterday, describing it as a historic event that would help employ more Papuan New Guineans.
Thomas Gori, of QH Building Supplies in Kokopo, East New Britain, said it was the way ahead for the government to create more employment and businesses for locals.
“This should have happened long time ago, straight after independence,” Gori said.
He said the summit was staged at the right time when political leaders were serious about setting up the SME policy and implement it.
Lucy Bele, representing community-based organisations in Madang, said she was happy with the outcome of the summit and agreed with the recommendations of the summit presented to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
However, she suggested that women deserved specific recommendations because their groups started well before other groups.
Bele and other successful Madang businesswomen sought assistance from the K1 million given by ousted Madang MP Nixon Duban through the National Development Bank.
“Most of the unemployed youths on the streets are children of women, who, in one way or the other, are trying to earn little moneyto feed their families,” Bele said
She said women’s business issues should have been a priority discussion in the summit.
Owner of the Jiwaka Micro Finance Elizabeth Yama Palme said the government should create a separate avenue for women only to be able to access funding assistance to start or strengthen their business.
“The government is always talking about women’s equal participation and this idea should be seriously considered,” Palme said.
A medical research contractor with a Medical Research University in the United State, Manasseh Baea, said the recommendations made during the summit for the government to consider could cause an impact on normal people.
“This summit is a very productive event as the recommendations made capture the importance of problems caused by unemployment and encourage Papua New Guineans to own their own business,” Baea said.