The National, Friday 31st May 2013
By JEFFREY ELAPA
A LAW will be introduced soon to protect small to medium enterprises and prevent foreigners getting into the sector.
Trade and Commerce Minister Richard Maru alluded to this when answering questions on what the government was doing to protect this sector from foreign exploitation.
Maru said the law as well as other issues affecting the sector would be discussed at a forum next month to address impediments to empowering the SME’s in the country.
Maru was responding to a question from the member for Kundiaw Gembogl Tobias Kulang on what the government was doing to protect SMEs in the country and what measures were being taken to look at the reserved list for businesses for nationals, saying this sector was overrun by foreigners.
Maru said every Member of Parliament was invited to discuss this issue at the summit and give their views.
He said that during the summit, issues like bringing back the reserve list should be discussed and resolutions passed.
He added that foreign investment review board would also look at issues of what kind of people that should be allowed to come into the country to make businesses.
“Every Tom, Dick and Harry is coming to this country. We’ll have to discuss the issues of national content so that what is reserved for our people are never given away and are totally reserved for our people,” he said.
“I want to bring a set of comprehensive laws that would protect the interest of our people. It is important for our economy that SMEs in the country are empowered,” he said.
He added that so far 49 000 companies were owned by Papua New Guineans, which is roughly 10 percent of the total business in the SMEs.
“We have never thought of growing our economy but we must now drive the SME through a comprehensive law. It must not be a policy but a law,” he said.