Space for more banks: PM


THERE is space for one or two more banks in the country, Prime Minister James Marape says.
Marape said this when launching the PNG Think Tank’s online crowdfunding concept last week to raise funds to set up a PNG small-to-medium enterprise (SME) bank that the Government was also looking at the Bendigo bank concept where entities could operate under a franchise.
The crowdfunding initiated by PNG Think Tank has already raised over K30 million in pledges as a start to get into the banking space.
“This idea is not bad and there is space for one more or two more banks in our country,” Marape said.
“For us, a nation of some nine million people, the volume and turnover as far as business is concerned has a need for more banks and the concept of crowdfunding for a bank that is owned by Papua New Guineans is not out of place in the present economic and banking needs.
“It is a step in the right direction.
“Whatever you want to do, so long as you do it correctly and the platform is equal to anyone who wants to participate and should they have a share in this business venture, open it up, everyone gets involved and mobilise your funding.
“As far as public policy is concerned, for a seed capital, the Government can step in if the intention is honest.
“There is also a concept that we are looking at called the ‘Bendigo’ concept in Australia where you have one licence but you have franchises who are operating and this can be an alternative.
“Our Government is in the business of trying our best at retaining money in country.
“All Forex (foreign exchange) we mobilise come in and we try to retain the money and capital doesn’t go outside and that includes owning banks that has addresses in our country.”
PNG Think Tank group chairman Samson Komati said there was a big space in the banking sector which only had commercial and micro banks.
Komati said there was no banks for agriculture, logging, fisheries, SMEs and others hence the initiative of the SME bank was to fill a void and reach the unbanked.