A new law to reserve certain businesses to Papua New Guineans is on its way and will be tabled in parliament during the May sitting.
Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister, Richard Maru revealed this during the launch of the Jiwaka Indigenous Business Council in Banz on Thursday.
This will see foreigners involved in small businesses like trade stores and bakeries leave, to give space for Papua New Guineans to participate in such small businesses.
The introduction of this law will be part of government’s commitment to develop the Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) sector which can create millions of jobs if done well.
However he says the growth of SME sector will be achieved with good infrastructure in place, provided for by the government.
Once the law on SME is passed, Minister Maru said a grace period will be given to existing foreign businesses to leave, and their businesses will be bought back by nationals on the commercial market rate.
He challenged local business people to get ready for that day when all small businesses owned by foreigners will be left open to the market for them to purchase.
Currently, PNG has 50,000 registered SMEs creating 200,000 jobs while the unemployment rate is at 2 million.
Minister Maru says this can only be resolved through the development of SMEs.
He said they will also set up a Foreign Investment Board that will screen all investors intending to invest in PNG.
This he says, is not to discourage foreign businesses; however it is to attract large foreign businesses who can invest huge sums of money and create jobs for many.