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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (May 10, 2000 – Post-Courier)---Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) hold the key to creating wealth and job opportunities for the majority of Papua New Guineans, according to Trade and Industry Minister Michael Nali.

He said that in a country where there was surplus labor and high unemployment, the development of SMEs had the potential, not only of addressing this problem, but to assist in creating jobs because such enterprises were generally small, comprising individuals and family units.

Mr. Nali said micro enterprises in PNG comprised up to K 150,000 (US$ 59,400) while there were 10,000 small industries. He said the medium size enterprises number up to 3,000 and large enterprises between 500 and 1,000.

Mr. Nali said the core objectives of the SME policy, developed by his department, were to:

* DEVELOP, transfer and adapt technology suitable for SMEs;

* STRENGTHEN and encourage linkages between SMEs and support institutions;

* DEVELOP infrastructure and human resources;

* PROMOTE fair competition and long-term development of SMEs; and

* CREATE and instill business culture without gender bias.

Mr. Nali said that once the SMEs were fully developed, it would provide a tangible framework for entrepreneurial growth in the economy and the nation.

"Again, the establishment of small businesses in the SME context is important at this juncture in our country's development, especially in the face of the depleting non-renewable resources," he said.

Despite the importance and desire to get the SME programs up and running, lack of funding in the 1999 and 2000 budgets had delayed it, he said.

Mr. Nali said he had held close consultations with the Prime Minister to review the situation so that the planned establishment of the SME Revolving Fund could be pursued and funded.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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