Support hailed but not policies


THE Farmers and Settlers Association Inc commends the Government’s decision to inject K200 million into the National Development Bank to support local businesses and entrepreneurs next year.
The association president Wilson Thompson said: “To get the results, it is calling on the minister for commerce and industry and its department and agencies such as IPA (Investment Promotion Authority) and Smec (Small Medium Enterprise Corporation) to immediately undertake a review of various legislations and policies under their determination.
“This call is necessary because the 2015 SME policy has actually brought the big operators in various agriculture sectors such as exporters, processors and plantations and buyers into the sphere of the smallholders growers, blocks owners and transport operators.”
Thompson said growing coffee or buying is a reserved activities list under IPA, but the recent policy can now enable even foreigners to grow coffee or buy coffee, or put out vehicles on the road as SME is defined with K100,000 revenue and above.
“The definition of SME and the enabling provisions is a mismatch. And where does MSME comes in and fit into SME law, definition and policy that does not recognise Micro?”
“SME in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, arts, culture and tourism or general skills-oriented businesses are stuck because the recent SME law and policy is talking about employing 10 or more employees and K1 million assets and K100,000 turnover etc. That now classifies it to register its employees under Superannuation Fund, GST etc,” Thompson said the definition and law places the coffee or cocoa or coconut plantations and processors, exporters, sawmill operators and fresh fish suppliers into the SME category.
“Thus, excluding the actual people it was supposed to assist. In PNG, we connote SME to mean smallholder and block farmers and growers, truck owners, etc.”