By Delly Waigeno – EM TV News, Port Moresby
The country’s new Small to Medium Enterprise or SME Policy and Master Plan 2016-2030 was launched yesterday in Port Moresby.
The new policy, if adequately resourced and successfully implemented, will result in achieving many broad-based milestones for PNG.
Some of these include a significant growth in the economy, creating mass employment for citizens, and increasing local ownership of Small to Medium Enterprises.
“This is your country, take advantage of it, the economy is growing,” said Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill.
That was the main message at the launch of the SME Policy 2016 and the SME Master Plan 2016-2030.
Thousands attended the event that marked the beginning of a milestone for the country in terms of prospective economic growth, job creation and business ownership opportunities for citizens.
Minister for Trade, Commerce & Industry, Richard Maru, said the Policy and Master Plan were the result of the Government’s analysis of the country’s economy against Vision 2050.
“One of the cornerstones of our economy and its growth in the future has to be the SME sector; as the major engine for growth,” Minister Maru said.
The new SME Corporation will oversee the implementation of the Master Plan, which will be a game changer for PNG if implemented successfully.
Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, who is also the Chairman of the SME Council, said because of personal experience, he had always wanted to start up his own business after graduating from University some 30 years ago.
“Only because I grew up in a very poor environment in Ialibu-Pangia. Where my uncle ran a small tucker shop, which helped fund my education. So I saw early the need for small businesses, can have an impact on people’s lives.”
Both the Prime Minister and Mr Maru admitted that achieving 500,000 SME by 2030 will require a lot of targeted investment, dedication and support from all stakeholders.
O’Neill said, “It is a policy that is going to change thousands and millions of lives in the country.”
Mr O’Neill announced that more legislative reforms will be undertaken including bringing back a business reserve list for PNG citizens.
“With this new Master Plan and new SME Policy that we are launching today, it will guide us, guide future governments to make sure that they put enough resources into ensuring that SME has got a chance,” he added.