admin's picture

By Frank Asaeli

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 13) - The law and order issue remains extremely serious and ranks worst in terms of all business hurdles, Institute of National Affairs (INA) director Paul Barker said.

"There are slightly more confidence with respect to political stability and even over law and order and the stability of regulation," Mr. Barker said.

He said this during his presentation at an INA conference this week at the Hideaway Hotel in Port Moresby.

[PIR editor’s note: The INA is a privately funded, non-profit policy research institute founded in 1976 and based in Port Moresby. Some 80 companies contribute to its operating costs, with some project support from public institutions and foundations. ]

The conference took up the country’s business perspective based on a private sector survey carried out from last May to July. Law and order was closely followed by corruption, which in 2002 ranked as the fourth most serious business concern.

Barker said with corruption now apparently more fixed, embracing much of the public sector and parts of the private sector, its disruptive impact upon business and investment had been raised to the second worst investment hurdle.

He noted, however, that the survey found some positive sentiments expressed by business between 2002 and 2007 that included "greater political and fiscal stability" and "improved macro-economic conditions."

Barker expressed there was significantly less concern over exchange rates, inflation and interest rates.

"Far too many of PNG’s impediments, however, are self imposed -- the result of human factors, such as unacceptable levels of crime, particularly in some centers, and crippling levels of corruption and lack of concerted attention by Government to address these critical issues."

He asserted that these problems imposed a high cost and great uncertainty on business and the community.

Mr. Barker said PNG was a land "with significant economic potential."

As a nation, he said it had a series of both natural advantages and natural impediments like high cost of access to communication.

He said there were still concerns over telecommunications, transport and electricity infrastructure, availability of skilled labor and the stability of policies and regulations.

Barker stressed that new impediments had been coming to the fore since 2002, partly reflecting economic growth and increased demands for services.

He also noted other impediments like limited access to land and frustrations over land compensation claims, alongside concern over current or potential taxes being imposed by sub-national authorities.

Barker said private sector considered that some areas of interaction with Government and public bodies had improved since 2002.

Services were still being inefficiently delivered, but some improvements had occurred in some departments due to adequate funding that enhanced their performance.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment