The National, Wednesday July 3rd, 2013
By GYNNIE KERO in Madang
ABOUT 97% of businesses in New Zealand are small and medium enterprises (SMEs), New Zealand Minister for Building and Construction, Land Information and Statistics Maurice Williamson says.
Last year, the country had approximately 469,118 SMEs.
Williamson told participants during a meeting in Madang on Monday, when sharing New Zealand’s experience in that SME sector created the biggest number of new jobs for the country every year and were a source innovation and creativites.
“SMEs form a very important part of the New Zealand (NZ) economy. SMEs employ 31% of our workers and generate 40% of our GDP.”
Some sectors which have high levels of SMEs includomg retail, tourism, accommodation and food services.
He added: “SMEs are sometimes under huge time pressures and lack of resources. In New Zealand, government has provided a one-stop online shop for all government support and advice that businesses need to run and grow their enterprise.
“NZ has an open economy that supports competition and is almost corruption free.”
Furthermore, the state’s fuel tax is dedicated to the land transport fund for infrastructural developments.
Williamson said the SME sector in Papua New Guinea needed reliable cost effective infrastructure like roads, ports, airports, electricity and communications to grow.
He said it was good to see the emphasis PNG was putting on improving the poor state transport infrastructures as in their current condition they coul incur huge costs on the sector and significantly reduce productivity.
“In addition, to achieve balance on the PNG’s SMEs, consultations with business should be encouraged and input from them on the regulations that impact the sector.”
Williamson also highlighted the state owned enterprises (SOEs) were vital providers of these infrastructures.
“It’s not always easy to balance protective ownership interests in SOEs and the interest of the community in cheaper prices and better services .
Getting competitive markets right in infrastructure is an on-going task.
“Because of the size of the markets in countries like PNG and NZ, this may mean accepting international competition in areas you may not always feel comfortable with such as airlines, communications and energy, Williamson said
“In the long run … open competitive markets will deliver more to the country, including to its people and SMEs – if government-owned service providers do not close off opportunities to competitors (including international competitors).”