The influx of foreigners into the Autonomous Region of Bougainville has seen a boom in business activities, raising concerns to Bougainvilleans.
This also sees the increase of business activities by foreign investors.
Over 10 people aired their views to EMTV News in Buka, calling on the Autonomous Bougainville Government to ensure foreign businesses are checked in compliance with national laws.
“The ABG has to ensure revenue remains in the region. If they come under the Inward Investment Law, then it should be made clear, so that cash flow in the region is stable. Sometimes we run out of cash, as we do not have foreign businesses existing, because according to reliable sources, they do not bank their money takings in our commercial banks,” they said
Upon our query to IPA, the Acting Managing Director, Clarence Hoot said that in accordance to records, only 21 foreign businesses are registered.
“Our numbers are currently at 21. However, I strongly believe that it could be more than that number. We have people coming in and going. Because we cannot be stationed everywhere, we depend entirely on people on the ground, not only the government but the general public to alert us, when they see something suspicion, something different or somebody new coming into the region,” he said.
The IPA has an existing Memorandum of Understanding with the Autonomous Bougainville Government given its autonomy arrangements on the drawdown of powers and functions from the National Government.
“IPA grants its approval, upon the advise from the Bougainville administration. When they inform us that these foreign investors are welcomed into the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, then we grant the foreign enterprise certificate,” Hoot said.
Mr Hoot also provided an update of the companies and business entities operating in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. These are in the following categories:
- Business Groups: 135
- Business or Trading Names: 4400
- Business Associations (NGO & NFP): 95
Hoot also called on the Autonomous Bougainville Government to ensure revenues remain to sustain Bougainville’s economic growth.