CAPTION: PNG Consul General to Sydney, Sumasy Singin (left), Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, PNG Acting High Commissioner to Australia, Sakias Tameo, before the Australia-PNG Business Council Meeting.
THE government is creating a more business-friendly environment for foreign investment, and public sector reform is essential for increasing efficiencies.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill provided this assurance when addressing the Australia-PNG Business Council in Sydney this week.
“Australia is our largest investment partner, and we want to increase business opportunities,” the Prime Minister said to the packed forum,” he said.
“We want Australian business to expand investment into Papua New Guinea, particularly into non-traditional areas that are outside the resources sector.
“There are great opportunities in tourism, agriculture and the small to medium manufacturing sector.
“Australian companies have technical capacity that will build our key sectors, and from their investment will have a sound return on investment.”
Mr O’Neill said the 2018 Budget will soon be presented to Parliament, and it will again be a budget that encourages business and creates jobs.
“In a few weeks time we will present the 2018 budget and there will be no big surprises,” he said. “Our aim is to maintain stability.
“We have a long-term plan to reduce our deficit levels while maintaining health growth in the economy, and maintain stability around inflation and interest rates.
“These priorities are the determinants in framing the 2018 budget.”
Mr O’Neill said one of the most important reforms under way is the creating of a more efficient and business-friendly public service.
“An important priority for our government is addressing the size of the public sector and to make it more efficient and business-friendly,” he said.
“We are going to streamline agencies that are not functioning efficiently, and introduce reforms that will raise their service delivery to the expectations of our people and business community.
“We will reform the entire system, and enabling the private sector to be more engaged in non-core functions.
“The country is changing, with more graduates entering the employment market and there is more competition for jobs, particularly in the public sector.
“We cannot be complacent when it comes to the demands of a growing population and expanding business sector.
“Over the coming year and beyond that you will see a huge reduction in the cost of running the cost of the public service.
“This will be accompanied by a more responsive approach in the public service for our people and business community.
“We are making it much easier to do business in Papua New Guinea.”