The National, Tuesday August 6th, 2013
By MALUM NALU
THE growth of small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) will significantly lift real participation by Papua New Guineans in the growth of the economy, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says..
Speaking at his gala fundraiser at Dynasty Restaurant, Vision City, on Saturday night to celebrate 12 months in office and launch the PM O’Neill Foundation, he said the low number of SMEs in PNG left a lot to be desired.
“We must lift real participation in our economy by Papua New Guineans,” O’Neill said.
“The best way to do that is grow our small-to-medium-sized business sector.
“We currently have around 40,000 small businesses, Indonesia has 50 million, Australia has just more than two million, New Zealand with a lower population than Papua New Guinea has close to half a million.
“Our number is disappointing – and must do a lot better.
“The government is implementing a plan to increase the involvement of our people in small business, and grow existing small business enterprises.
“If we are to make a real impact on unemployment and on the non-involvement of upwards of two million citizens in any form of productive activity, then we must support and encourage small business, and medium-sized business.”
O’Neill also said that while his government had delivered political stability and certainty, an essential component of long-term political stability was reducing corruption and abuse of office to the greatest possible extent.
“This is the next ‘plank’ that we will put in place – with an independent anti-corruption commission (ICAC) to be legislated and put in place within the next few months,” he said.
“We simply must reduce corruption – and the best way to do so is to increase the prospect of detection, and prosecution.
“There is much work to be done – but we have the political stability, which, is the first component needed to do that work effectively.”