Tension will affect investment: Barker

The National,Wednesday June 15th, 2016

AN economist says disruptions to business operations by public protests may incur additional costs to business operators.
Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker told The National last week following tension in Port Moresby last week saying the situation would have some impact on investment confidence as well.
Commenting on the events which forced businesses to close last Wednesday, Barker said: “The business sector, which includes large companies right down to micro-enterprises (in the informal economy), generates the income, employment and revenue for the country and its households.
“There is some capacity within PNG, including among investors, to absorb some uncertainty and instability, but such disruption has costs.
“These costs and lost opportunities increase if there is extended disruption, which  jeopardises valuable new and existing investment, raises the cost of borrowing and is in no-one’s interest.”
Barker said it was important for the situation to be addressed as soon as possible to avoid further disruption to business operations not only in Port Moresby but other centres as well.
“It is critically important to the business and entire community that the situation is calmed and not allowed to escalate,” he said.
“It requires maturity and common sense on all parts, including a readiness to consult, rather than threaten, respect human rights of all citizens (whether high or low), avoiding over-reaction and excessive use of inappropriate force, and a capacity to acknowledge errors, rather than point fingers.”