by Bridgette Komatep – EM TV, Port Moresby
Questions were raised in parliament relating to the influx of foreigners taking over reserved businesses for Papua New Guineans in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
The issue was raised in parliament by Bougainville Regional MP Joe Lera, who revealed that there is an influx of foreigners taking over reserved jobs on the island.
The issue of foreigners taking over businesses reserved for Papua New Guineans is affecting the nation. It has extended to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. Regional Bougainville MP, Joe Lera asked the minister responsible if there is any legislation in place to protect local SMEs.
Trade Commerce and Industry Minister, Richard Maru informed parliament that all consultations on the new SME policy for the master plan were complete. In the next two weeks, the list of reserve activities and all laws and proposed legislations will go before cabinet for consideration along with proposals to protect the SME sector.
In the proposal, foreigners involved in reserved businesses will be asked to leave the country over a period of three years. However, Minister Maru cautioned that the proposal does not intend to stop foreign investment.
He says to further enforce all legislations and policies, the government must invest heavily in the National Development Bank. This will enable local businesses to gain the capital to buy off companies currently owned by foreigners.