THE Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has praised the women of Papua New Guinea for staging the first-ever Women in Business expo in Lae.
And he pledged the Government’s support to ensure women participated meaningfully in businesses to improve the living standards of their families.
Sir Michael travelled to Lae to officially open the three-day expo telling the women who had travelled in from all corners of the country to ensure they speak with “one voice” in business.
“I am pleased to see many women getting involved in small businesses,” Sir Michael said before touring the exhibitions staged by the women.
As he moved from tent to tent, the Prime Minister could not help but marvel at the quality of the products the women produced.
He saw soap being produced from coconut oil, candles, various oils, clothing tailored by the women in far away bush land, fish grown by women in far away places such as Mt Wilhelm, mats woven by Gulf and Central province women, garden produce such as giant yams from Finschhafen and many more.
He told the women to forget about their differences and work as a united team in developing businesses to help themselves and their families.
The Prime Minister said he was impressed with the initiative taken by the women to showcase products they themselves had made with their own hands.
He said last year, the Government approved K10 million to help women start small-scale businesses through the National Microbank.
Sir Michael said the Government would consider increasing financial support to ensure women had access to more funds to develop their small businesses.
He also pledged to talk with his deputy, Sir Puka Temu, to make a portion of land that the women want in Port Moresby available to them to build a centre for their training and various business activities.
The matter was raised at the official opening by the founder of PNG Women in Business Janet Sape.
On Saturday night, Commerce and Industry Minister Gabriel Kapris assured the women he would work closely with the Prime Minister to see women get increased financial support to develop small-to medium-scale businesses.
Mr Kapris said he was pleased to see women going into downstream processing producing goods such as soap and oils and the Government would look at how it could help those women expand such businesses.