Tasion builds from struggles


Tasion Group chairman Sam Tasion.
Tasion shares his story of the challenges he face as a local businessman.

BEING loyal to yourself is a recipe for success, businessman Sam Tasion says, with a smile.
Tasion, who runs a chain of companies with an asset value of almost a billion kina, started off selling blocks of ice in Port Moresby.
As he recalls, starting a business in the country is not easy.
It takes commitment, perseverance and the attitude of not giving up easily against foreign entrepreneurs.
Being the youngest of five brothers and losing both parents when he was three months old also gave him the right nudge to pursue his dream in the business world.
Tasion is chairman of the Tasion Group, comprising the FreeWay Motors, Seeadler Bay Hotel, Europcar, Roadside Assistance PNG and PNG Marine Works among others.
Offshore, the Tasion Group has branches in Australia and Singapore.
With the main focus being in the automotive industry, the man from Pak Island, Manus, said the group was now into construction, real estate and property development.
He believes in morals, ethics and the principles of thinking smart.
He worked as a quality control officer with the Tanubada Dairy at 12-Mile, soon after leaving Bougainville.
Tasion worked as a health inspector for three years before venturing into business in 1982.
“I started city ice, supplying service stations at the time, two tonnes a day then 12 months later I went to 20 tonnes a day then I put 20 bins around Port Moresby with 500 bags of ice each then I just go around and top it up every now and then. Then I sold it,” Tasion said.
“I went into business, broke down, sold assets, I was kicked by foreigners, but now I’m fighting against the tycoons.I work smart.
“To be honest, I don’t know how many cars I’ve sold so far.”
Using sports as example, he said: “In a game, there a two sides.
“If you lose to your opponent you have to relook at your strategy, management, administration and you look at individual players.
“It’s the players who will make you win. Whichever players are not doing well, you have to pull them aside and talk to them.
“When you start a business, you think about quick money.
“But quick money doesn’t come quickly.
“You have to face the risks (of doing business).
“When you face the risk, you turn it around and there is no risk.
“We have gone through high risks, some of our business are not making money but we believe some business are there to serve the customer relationship we have.
“Papua New Guineans don’t feel shy to take some risks.
“Risks are only risks when it’s your first time doing it.
“My kids take advantage of everything I do.
“Infact there is no risks outside.
“The biggest risks I have is within my own house.
“The automotive business is a tough game.
“Don’t over capitalise your business, don’t put too much effort in one basket.
“We started off the company in 1993, right now we have qualified ourselves to bring the best cars.
“We stopped used cars now we only bring in new cars.
“We are bringing them from Bangkok, Thailand, Japan, Singapore and we buy local cars too and do them up.
“My customers are the eight million plus Papua New Guineans.
“We have a hotel (Seeadler Bay) and commercial center in Manus. Our investment in Manus is about K50 million.
“Our automotive business is worth about K6 million-K7 million.”
Tasion while congratulating James Marape on his election as the Prime Minister, he thanked Marape for his foresight in helping the SME and local businesses to grow.
Tasion reiterated that small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and locally-owned firms struggle to compete for projects and contracts, a businessman said.
He added that there was a lot to be desired in terms of local content for the country.
Tasion further noted that SMEs and local businesses in the country were a partner to national development in the country.
“Politics and business go together,” he said.
“When we’re successful in
business, we minimise the risks
of free handouts from Government.
“On the other hand, Government’s job is to supplement
the shortfall so that there is a balance.
“I congratulate James Marape because he has said it.
“But now , is a question on mindset of ministers surrounding him whether they can think like him or not.
“What I want now is to share my wisdom with the government and work with them to see value in Papua New Guineans.
“Prime Minister (Marape) needs help from successful PNG businessmen in the country.
“My appeal to government is to give priority to PNG businessmen rather than foreigners who here to make money and pretend to go and advise the government
“There are a lot of smart Papua New Guinea businessmen in the country.”