Asian Businesses Told To Leave Bougainville By September

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Businesses have reportedly failed to comply with regulations

By Winterford Toreas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 18, 2013) – All Asian business owners operating their retail businesses in Bougainville will be given until September this year to close all their businesses and move out of Bougainville.

That’s the direction from the Minister for Commerce in the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), Wilfred Komba.

This is because these Asians, mostly of Chinese origin and operating in Buka town, have failed to comply with directives issued by ABG regarding their business operations in Bougainville.

Mr. Komba said the ABG Division of Commerce through its chief executive officer, Albert Kinani, has already sent two notices to these Chinese advising them not to operate two or more business operations in town.

However, instead of adhering to these calls, these Chinese are still opening up other stores in different parts of the town, which is a direct breach of the ABG directive.

"After we issued the second letter, we have not received any reply from them. Instead of adhering to the directive, we are seeing some expansions still going on," Minister Komba and Kinani said, before singling out one of these Chinese who is married to a woman from Nissan Island as an example.

They said this Chinese is not complying because though he was given the notice, he still went ahead and opened his other business in town.

Both Mr. Komba and his CEO added that these Chinese are not operating according to the ABG’s investment policy, which calls for foreign business owners to joint venture with Bougainvilleans.

Instead they are opening up "stand alone" businesses, they said.

"In the letter we also told them that those who are claiming to be Bougainvilleans, after marrying a Bougainvillean wife, [are] not accepted by ABG. In order to adhere to this ABG Policy, they must enter into a joint venture with Bougainvilleans. They are also not allowed to operate in more than one location," they said.

Mr. Kinani clarified that by marrying a local Bougainvillean does not qualify them to own a trade store.

Mr. Kinani added that he had also advised these Chinese to comply with the laws of PNG.

He revealed that some of these Chinese in Buka do not have proper work permits to conduct their business operations in Bougainville.

He added that some of them have also failed to pay their goods and services tax (GST) to the government.

Mr. Kinani said the non compliance by these Chinese had resulted in the ABG Vice President Patrick Nisira directing him to order these Chinese out of Bougainville.

However, Mr. Kinani has advised Mr. Nisira that he will be issuing a third notice to these Chinese and advising them to close their businesses and move out of Bougainville by September.

Meanwhile, Bougainville is expected to have its new investment legislation governing business.

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