PERSPECTIVES ON PNG
Business leaders provide their own take on Papua New Guinea’s economy.
'One really interesting thing is the increase in trade flows between PNG and Asia. The trade flow between Singapore and PNG, for example, has increased something like 5000% over the last five years—at a much, much higher rate than between PNG and Australia. Probably our top fifteen customers in PNG are now headquartered out of Singapore. So there’s been quite a move of PNG businesses into Asia and vice versa.'
—Greg Pawson, General Manager Pacific Banking, Westpac.
'You’ve three segments to the retail, banking market—high net worth, middle market and the mass market. Where we see growth is in that middle sector, which is what we cover with our Priority Banking services. Typically, you’re seeing a lot of interest in home ownership—one of classic symbols of an emerging middle class. Obviously, there still remain challenges here in terms of land title, but we’ve just revamped our own staff home ownership scheme to try and pull it back into line with the realities of modern Papua New Guinea. Less than 20% of our staff own their own homes, and our staff would be your classic emerging middle class in many respects. So, if that’s reflective of the wider economy, therein lies the opportunity. I think an emerging middle class is always encouraging because they demand things, including stability.'
—Mark Baker, Managing Director—papua New Guinea, ANZ
‘Investment in infrastructure will have enormous benefits for everyone who does business in PNG. If we can have cost-efficient telecommunications, power and ports, it reduces the cost of doing business, gives PNG the capacity to increase its level of business activity and provides opportunities for PNG to become more of a Pacific hub. If we get infrastructure right, the opportunities are significant.'
—Robin Fleming, Chief Executive Officer, Bank of South Pacific
‘All this talk about the property sector falling away is misleading. It’s still simply a case of location, location , location. Commercial properties in good locations with quality tenants are still seeing growth.' —Andrew Mcgrath, Nasfund, General Manager Finance & Investments ‘Something I’ve always been committed to is the nationalisation of expatriate roles. The commercial benefits in cost savings to an organisation can be significant but more importantly, we have PNG nationals who are in key roles, management positions, making key decisions for that business. There are some amazing PNG nationals living and working here. The mums and dads of today have sacrificed and got their kids educated, and to see them coming through now, that’s very encouraging.’
—Andrew Cooper, Country Manager, Cardno (PNG) Ltd